BCCI's real case against the DRS: It's costly

If the players, the ones who are on the field, don’t have a problem with the system, why does the BCCI?

Ashish Magotra June 17, 2011 15:10:18 IST
BCCI's real case against the DRS: It's costly

So now that Sachin Tendulkar has come out in the open and said that the Decision Review System is good for the game, will the BCCI counter by saying that the master batsman is unaware of the Board’s position on the matter?

Because that’s what they did the last time the question was asked to someone in the Indian team management. In his first press conference as India coach Duncan Fletcher was asked about his views on DRS, even before he could air his views properly, he was stunned into silence by BCCI secretary N Srinivasan.

“Mr Fletcher is unaware of the BCCI’s position,” the BCCI’s president-elect had then said.

BCCIs real case against the DRS Its costly

Sachin Tendulkar feels the DRS is good for the game. AFP

The latest round of DRS back-and-forth is a result of the salvos fired by England’s cricketers in favour of the system for the series against India in July. Sources in the BCCI say that the Board will continue to resist the irresistible forward march of technology.

“Sachin can say what he wants to, we will continue to oppose,” is what the television channels have been flashing. And here we thought the game is played by the players.

It’s rather hard to understand why the BCCI is truly opposed to the system. The fact that it cuts down on the blatantly incorrect decisions is well documented – according to the ICC, the percentage of accurate decisions has gone up to 97 percent after the system’s implementation. That alone should be reason to give the system a go… at least we won’t have Tendulkar being dismissed shoulder-before-wicket any time soon.

But maybe the BCCI wants the debates on wrong decisions to continue long after the match is over. They want it to be perfect. In a sense, the cut-off they are looking at is 100 per cent. Nothing less will do.

In the Indian team, only Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag have openly supported the system in the past and with Sachin also joining the bandwagon, perhaps it will inspire others to come out and say what they really think about it.

And in a sense, that’s the true conundrum – if the players, the ones who are on the field, don’t have a problem with the system, why does the BCCI?

Logically, the DRS, which has been used in Test cricket since 2008, is a gift. But it isn’t quite easy on the pocket. The cost to use the DRS is approximately $56,000 per match day. Add Hot Spot to the mix and that’s a further $10,000 per match day for a four-camera set up. And that’s the real problem: who pays for this?

Funding the DRS has been a major issue with host boards and broadcasters are left to pay the bills but ICC’s cricket manager Dave Richardson said that could change if it was used in all Tests.

“I think if we get to a stage where all Full Members are happy to adopt the system for all Test series there would be the increased possibility that ICC could help fund the technology.”

Now, the BCCI hasn’t been one to look a gift horse in the mouth. If they believe that they can make money out of a particular venture, they will go the whole hog. Just look at what they’ve done with Twenty20.

The BCCI wasn't very keen to adopt the slam-bang format but once they saw the opportunity to make big bucks, they built it up into a monster that is now threatening the very existence of international cricket.

So perhaps the real reason the BCCI isn’t too keen on DRS is because they haven’t quite realised how to make money out of this venture, yet. Right now, they only see money going out and nothing coming back in. And in the profit-driven world of the BCCI that just won’t do even if it’s at the cost of another wicket being lost to a bad decision.

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