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Dhoni upset with UDRS

By Harish Kotian
February 28, 2011 07:16 IST
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Harish Kotian reports from Bengaluru on Team India's discontent over the UDRS.

Team India has never been a big fan of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) and they now have more reasons for their continuing displeasure.

The UDRS has been implemented by the International Cricket Council for most of the matches in the 2011 World Cup with a view to reducing umpiring errors.

However, one was witness to a strange incident involving the review system during the Group B match between India and England in Bengaluru on Sunday that ended in a tie.

Ian Bell, on 17, was struck in front of the stumps as he attempted to sweep Yuvraj Singh. Umpire Billy Bowden ruled in the batsman's favour and the Indians went for the review.

The review, which was also shown on the giant screen, made it clear that Bell was struck right in front of the stumps and since the ball was going to hit the stumps he was out as is the case with all UDRS referrals.

Having seen the replays, Bell also promptly started walking back to the pavilion, believing like all others watching on television or in the stadium that he would be given out by the television umpire.

But then a strange thing happened. A controversial ruling was taken into account, which even both captains admitted they were not aware of.

The third umpire referred the decision back to the on-field umpire, in this case Bowden, since the rules says that if the distance between point of impact and the stumps is more than 2.5 metres then it is the on-field umpire's call.

Since the on-field umpire Bowden had already ruled Bell not out, he stuck with the decision, which left the Indian team an angry lot.

An angry Mahendra Singh Dhoni minced no words in lashing out at the UDRS.

"Well, adulteration is quite bad, whether it is natural or technological. I think the adulteration of the technology with the human thinking that was the reason why we didn't get that wicket. I hope next

time it will be technology or human intentions," the India captain said after the match.

Dhoni said a few years ago he was struck on the pads a long way down the wickets after he charged a few steps down, but the on-field umpire ruled him out thinking that the ball would hit the stumps.

"If Hawkeye says it is going to hit the middle stump then there is no reason why the distance really matters. I was given out once in the Champions Trophy when the UDRS was not there. I stepped down the wicket and was hit in the middle of the shin, but he (the umpire) gave me out. So if I can be given out, why not any other batsmen?" he reasoned.

Dhoni said he is still finding it difficult to digest the fact that the review system went against his team, despite it showing that the ball was going to hit the stumps.

"It was very difficult for me because what I saw was that the ball was hitting the stumps. After that the rest of the rulebook is with the third and fourth umpire and whatever they decided we said ok and got on with the game."

England Captain Andrew Strauss, who saw the incident from the non-striker's end, admitted that he was unaware of this strange ruling.

"Apparently if you are that far down the wicket it needs to hit the middle stump to be given out. I didn't know that was part of the rules and Bell was lucky to get away with it," Strauss said.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India along with a few top cricketers barring Virender Sehwag are not convinced with the UDRS.

"I personally feel it's not cent per cent thing," Dhoni had said last November. "I don't think it gives a cent percent result. It's not always correct. If I am going to buy a life jacket which does not come with a warranty, that's a bit of a hassle for me especially with the huge amount of money you have to spend for the UDRS system coming into the game."

"I would prefer some kind of warranty behind it. (The) moment it comes, I would be happy for it," Dhoni had then added.

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Harish Kotian in Bengaluru

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