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Big Bash League 2020/21

‘That was a howler’ – Umpiring errors prompt calls for BBL to introduce DRS

by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

A series of umpiring errors in the ongoing BBL 2020 has prompted calls, from the likes of Adam Gilchrist and Mark Waugh among others, for DRS to be introduced to the tournament.

BBL remains one of the few mainstream tournaments the world over to not employ the Decision Review System, and one of the drawbacks of that was evident on Saturday when, in the clash between Sydney Thunder and Melbourne Stars, three batsmen were adjudged out by the on-field umpires, only for replays to suggest otherwise.

The issue came to the forefront when Tanveer Sangha, the 19-year-old Sydney Thunder debutant, had Fletcher struck on the pads. The umpire raised his finger, but Fletcher, suspecting the ball was going down leg, signalled for DRS, only to be told BBL didn’t use the techonology.

Glenn Maxwell’s dismissal thereafter was more glaring – Chris Green trapped him in front, but ball-tracking suggested the ball had pitched outside leg-stump – while in the next innings, Thunder opener Usman Khawaja was adjudged caught behind attempting a ramp shot, only for replays to suggest the ball had brushed the pads and was nowhere near the bat.

Khawaja seemed furious, with Gilchrist, on commentary for Fox, saying: “I don’t think it’s hit anything. Looked like a lot of daylight between bat and ball – yards of it.”

BBL is in its 10th edition, and so far it has stayed away from DRS, reportedly due to the costs involved – $AUD 2million per season, according to Canberra Times – as well as the time it adds to the whole experience. However, Waugh and Gilchrist believes that the extra time taken can be shaved off elsewhere.

“I reckon we need one (review per team),” Waugh said on commentary, according to Fox Sports. “I think we’ve seen three bad decisions today. We can afford the time – (just) take less time looking at boundary decisions about if someone’s touched the rope or not.”

“We don’t want to see the biggest names in Australian cricket in this tournament having to leave due to errors that can very quickly be overturned,” Gilchrist concurred. “The technology is around now that it won’t take much. We don’t need to pause the game a great deal.

“Get rid of the time out, as far as I’m concerned that’s a waste. You don’t need it – it’s 20 overs, keep the game moving. Get the DRS in and use that time to make sure the decisions are correct. That was a howler.”

As for the costs involved in implementing a full-scale DRS, Gilchrist believed BBL didn’t require the technology at that scale, and that the players would be happy with the “bare minimum”. “You hear noises that the cost of it would have a fair bit to do with the technology, to get it in for lbw ball tracking, snicko and various technologies,” Gilchrist said.

“Players would say we don’t care (about) the level of technology, it doesn’t have to be what we have in ICC events or Test matches. Even if it’s cameras at a bare minimum. If it doesn’t get picked up or is inconclusive, we will wear that.”

Thunder beat the Stars by 22 runs, with Alex Hales scoring a 41-ball 46 and Callum Ferguson a 35-ball 54.

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