Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Plunkett's Appeal Highlights the Need for Uniformity in DRS Use

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Plunkett's Appeal Highlights the Need for Uniformity in DRS Use

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Collomosse Cricket Correspondent at Trent Bridge

LET us imagine that, instead of Sri Lanka, England's opponents in the Lord's Test last month had been India. In the final over of the match, Stuart Broad appeals for a leg-before decision and it is upheld, even though India batsman Bhuvneshwar Kumar has edged the ball into his pad.

The match is over and England have won. Against Sri Lanka, this did not happen because the tourists' last man was able to contest the decision and it was duly overturned by the TV umpire. Sri Lanka were able, justly, to hold on for a draw and victory at Headingley in the next Test sealed a series victory.

Yet, because India remain unconvinced by the accuracy of the Decision Review System, we will not have it in this series. Therefore, when Liam Plunkett appealed for an lbw decision against Murali Vijay and was turned down, England could do nothing about it. As it happened, Bruce Oxenford's verdict would have stood, yet it is still a ludicrous state of affairs.

Consider a parallel sporting universe in which Germany refuse to embrace the back-pass rule in football, so it is omitted from all their internationals. How about tennis? Maybe Russian players would like to use the tramlines during singles matches, so there is greater margin of error in their games. Perhaps Spanish golfers would like 16 clubs in the bag, rather than the 14 that is good enough for everyone else.

Sadly, things are unlikely to change soon. India are the most powerful nation in cricket and if they don't like DRS, they will not use it. Never mind that every other country is happy with it. Never mind that there are now more correct decisions in the game. Never mind that England, who host this Test series, are accustomed to using the system.

There needs to be uniformity across the board. In top-level international sport, it is wrong to have such an influential feature of the game a pawn for negotiation. Perhaps it is time for DRS to be enshrined in the laws of the game. It might be the only way.

As if the absence of DRS were not annoying enough for England, they have to contend with conditions that suit India far more than the home side. …

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