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England v India

‘Jealous that India is No.1’ – When Shastri and Hussain engaged in a war of words over DRS

Shastri and Hussain
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

The Decision Review System (DRS) continues to split opinions years after it has become a regular feature in international cricket and in 2011 it had two famed commentators go at each other on air.

In India’s 2011 tour of England, the BCCI hadn’t approved the Hawkeye for reviews with the board having its reservations against the technology that they felt wasn’t accurate enough.

The absence of LBW reviews proved costly for India as Harbhajan Singh, one of the victims of Stuart Broad’s hat-trick in Trent Bridge, had a massive inside edge on his LBW dismissal that umpire Marais Erasmus failed to spot.

Hussain, on air, commented that not using the technology to its fullest was “disgraceful” from BCCI and the comments did not sit well with Shastri, who wasn’t on air at the time. However, in a Studio show of Star Cricket, Harsha Bhogle brought up the subject against the present Indian coach and he did not back down.

“They (England) are jealous about the way the IPL is going, jealous that India is No.1 in world cricket, jealous about the fact that India are world champions,” Shastri fired back. “They are jealous because of the too much money being made by BCCI. Bottom-line is that they have never been No. 1 in the world in Test cricket.”

It didn’t end there. On the third day’s play in the second Test at Trent Bridge, Hussain and Shastri were on air together when the England commentator decided to bring the subject up.

“Ravi, I just want to pick you up on something you said on a show yesterday, questioning my right to call non-use of DRS a disgrace. Well, I have earned that right after 96 Test matches to voice my opinion on the game of cricket. It is my job and my right to voice my opinion,” the former England captain said.

“You also said that there was a jealousy factor about India going to be No.1. No one is more proud than me about India at top,” Hussain added.

“I have nothing against India. All I said is that had there been reviews for lbws, Harbhajan would not have been out. It was a howler. And if the technology is there to assist, why not take advantage of it. Who knows Harbhajan would have done what Stuart Broad did with the bat for England.”

Shastri would, however, have none of it and expressed that “India has got every right to decide whether to take it [Hawkeye] or not.”

“England were the last to adopt the DRS and now they vouch by it. India tested it three years back and they had a problem with it in the series against Sri Lanka.”

Shastri concluded saying that Harbhajan’s dismissal was a bowler and it never should have happened, but stuck by his point that India were right to not make full use of the technology that they thought wasn’t foolproof.

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