The use of technology in sports was always meant to improve the standard of the game, and to reduce the chances of errors in umpiring decisions. But an overdose of technology is killing the real taste of the classic game of cricket.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has for quite some time been the strongest and most dominant body in world cricket. In recent years particularly, BCCI has always dictated terms to the International Cricket Council (ICC). The recent controversy over Decision Review System (DRS) has put the spotlight back on this issue. Most cricket-playing nations feel that BCCI, through its money power, is influencing the decisions of ICC. The Australian Cricket Board has been mulling for a long time to raise the issue of BCCI’s interference in ICC’s decision-making. Since India is the only country that brings in a huge amount of revenue, ICC dances to BCCI’s tunes. In any cricket match, ICC earns a lot from BCCI. This is most evident from the gains they raked in from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.
The ICC Chief Executives Committee (CEC) had recommended the mandatory use of DRS in all Test and ODI matches. But in the end the ICC caved in to BCCI’s protests and clout and has decided that DRS would not be forced upon India in bilateral series.
Former cricketer and commentator, Tony Greig, has criticised BCCI and IPL. He has asked world cricket to come together and end India’s dominance. ‘Number one, we have got to try and get the ICC right. We have a situation at the moment where the ICC is dominated by India. They tell Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and one or two other countries what to do and they always get the vote,’ said Tony.BCCI and Indian cricketers were criticised for not accepting DRS. And finally when BCCI accepted the DRS technology, they are having a problem with the hawk-eye system. But they have no problems with the accuracy of hot-spot, which uses infrared imaging, and snickometer, which works on the audio data. Although hot-spot appears to be very reliable, it has run into trouble many times.
‘The BCCI is agreeable to the use of technology in decision-making, which will include infrared cameras and audio-tracking devices. However, the current ball-tracking technology is not acceptable to the board.’ said BCCI Secretary, N. Srinivasan.
Some of the Indian cricketers are also in favour of DRS. Sachin Tendulkar had said earlier that he always believes that the use of technology is good for the game, but it will be more effective with the support of snickometer and hot-spot technology.
BCCI’s dominance in world cricket started during Jagmohan Dalmiya’s tenure as BCCI president and his one-year tenure as Chairman of ICC. He was the man who brought the corporate lobby into Indian cricket. And corporate bodies started to interfere in Indian cricket. And this culture is still going strong in Indian cricket.
The main reason for BCCI’s opposition to the DRS technology is the technical glitches, and not the 100% accuracy of the DRS technology. Not every test-playing nation including India has the hot-spot technology. There have been incidents where wrong decisions have been made after the referral to the third umpire. The use of too much of technology might kill the real flavour of test cricket, and if we have no faith in the on-field umpires, then it’s better to replace them with robots. n