MUMBAI (Reuters) - The controversial decision review system (DRS) will no longer be mandatory and its use will be left to bilateral agreements between participating boards, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Tuesday.
“Although the DRS improves correct umpire decisions by around five percent and corrects any blatant errors, there are some who are not convinced by its reliability,” ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.
“We will continue to work with interested parties to improve the system while permitting the participating teams to decide whether they wish to use it or not.”
The ICC, at its annual conference in June, had made the use of Hot Spot technology -- which indicates the ball’s point of contact -- mandatory, subject to availability, and left the use of ball-tracking technology up to the boards.
The ICC had even won over the Indian cricket board (BCCI), which had strongly opposed the ball-tracking technology in DRS, with its modified version of a system which allows teams to challenge umpire decisions.
The new version of DRS, minus the ball-tracking technology but including Hot Spot, was used during India’s recent tour of England but drew flak for inconsistent results.
“This decision is a recognition that Hot Spot was not as reliable as we’d have liked it to be,” Lorgat told reporters following a two-day ICC executive board meeting in Dubai.
“The evidence that came out of the series was not comforting. There were a number of occasions where Hot Spot did not detect a traceable mark.”
The executive board said it would continue using the DRS in its global events and would support the use of technology and its continued development.
The change in the ICC’s stance on DRS followed criticism last month by the BCCI’s new president N. Srinivasan, who said the Indian board “did not believe in the ball-tracking technology at all.”
Lorgat, however, dismissed the idea that the BCCI had forced its decision on the other members.
“This was a board decision that came out through a considered debate and eventually there was unanimity that we need to revert and let those who are comfortable in using it, use it, and those who are not have the option to decide not to use it,” he said.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said the system will be used in the upcoming one-day series against Sri Lanka and England being played in the United Arab Emirates.
It has even obtained sponsorship for the use of the technology.
“PCB is probably the first cricket board to obtain sponsorship to enable our broadcasters to use the technology in the series,” Subhan Ahmad, chief operating officer of the board, told Reuters.
“The PCB is in support of using the technology in all cricket as it has definitely helped add value to the game and assist the umpires.”
The ICC also said that the decision on whether or not a world test championship would start in 2013 would be delayed while it sought agreement from its commercial partners.
The governing body has a contract with broadcaster ESPN STAR Sports which includes the coverage of the Champions Trophy tournament that year.
“We’ve got existing commitments in terms of the rights agreement with a one-day international tournament that we would need to convert that to a test format and that has got implications for the broadcast partner,” Lorgat said.
Editing by Mark Meadows