Here’s an exchange from the Marvel super-hit Guardians of the Galaxy.
Rocket Raccoon: “Question. What if I see something that I wanna take and it belongs to someone else?”
Rhomann Dey: “Then you will be arrested.”
Rocket Raccoon: “But what if I want it more than the person who has it?”
Rhomann Dey: “Still illegal.”
Rocket Raccoon: “That doesn’t follow. No, I want it more, sir. Do you understand me?”
Much like Rocket, Virat Kohli’s use of the Decision Review System in the ongoing home season, has bordered on the illogical. On most occasions, it has felt like Kohli goes for a review just because he badly wants a wicket. It’s almost as if he has used DRS as a wish-granting genie more than a tool to review decisions.
He may have been a vocal advocate of DRS but the Indian captain’s dismal success ratio indicates that calling for referrals is not exactly his ‘calling card’.
The five-match England series against India was start of India using Decision Review System — something they had strong reservations during Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s era under N Srinivasan’s regime.
- But in the seven Test matches since the start of DRS usage, India have got only 17 correct decisions out of the 55 referrals that they have taken.
- This includes batting and fielding statistic and the success percentage comes to just 30.9 percent.
- The problem with India has been more to do with referrals while fielding where they have got only 10 correct out of 42 that they have taken in seven Test matches.
- While batting it has been touch better with 7 successful reviews out of 13 taken.
- In Pune, on a turner, India wasted all 4 reviews while fielding and got one correct out of the three while batting.
- Only thrice have they have got more than 2 referrals correct in a single Test match.
In a few cases, it has been an act of desperation bordering on selfishness – like with Murali Vijay and KL Rahul wasting two reviews within first six overs during the Pune Test.
It didn’t matter as Indians were outplayed fair and square by the Australians but it could have cost dearly had someone like Virat Kohli played a big innings and then got a raw deal.
Often the bowlers have influenced Kohli to go for reviews, being overly confident of their chances and asserting themselves over the captain. The number of times Kohli’s body language was one of reluctance after going for the review tells a story. The referral is invariably followed by a shrug of the shoulder, showing he’s not sure whether it’ll be overturned. There was one instance in Pune where the team had already dispersed from the huddle and went back to their positions after calling for a review.
While the final call for a fielding team’s DRS rests with the captain, it is the close in fielders who have fluffed their lines – including wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha – who have not been able to get their concepts right about umpire’s call.
‘Umpire’s call’ might as well be spelt out as “rocket science” for this Indian team.
Normally an umpire’s call is very rarely reversed in case of leg before referrals even if any part of the ball is shown to slightly graze the bails in ball tracking system.
Saha has been a fabulous keeper for India but probably has not been able to assert his authority when Virat is needed to take a final call. He once got it right in Hyderabad when the skipper was batting 180 plus and took his suggestion after being adjudged leg-before off Mehedi Hasan.
Saha had then felt that Kohli’s long stride while defending means that the off-break may be missing leg. It turned out to be correct and the skipper got his world record fourth double hundred.
But behind the stumps, Saha’s suggestions have not always been correct.
Against England at Visakhapatnam, hosts had 3 out of 9 correct referrals and 3 out of 10 in Chennai. The Bangladesh match at Hyderabad was shade better with 5 out of 11 correct calls.
DRS was not the reason India lost the match in Pune but it won’t be long before a poorly taken review could come back to bite India in the backside. It is not just bowling, batting and fielding that Kohli’s men must improve in Bengaluru when the second Test begins on Saturday.
DRS is the elephant in the room that needs to be addressed, and fast.