ICC Elite panel umpire S Ravi has supported the use of DRS in IPL, saying technology does not undermine an official but only assists him. The Chennai-based umpire also disagreed with the view that contemporary umpires were soft on players and do not readily intervene when there is banter.
TV broadcasters have used HawkEye in the past but umpires have never been given the assistance of DRS in the shortest format of the game. However, during the ICC meeting in Dubai in February, the Anil Kumble-led Cricket Committee was given the go-ahead to draw up a plan for technology to be used in T20s going forward. Ravi has advocated for its use in the IPL too.
“DRS doesn’t undermine an umpire, it assists him. If he has made a mistake, it is corrected and the game moves on,” Ravi told The Hindu.
Ravi narrated an incident from 2017 IPL final between Rising Pune Supergiant and Mumbai Indians in which Rahul Tripathi was at the wrong end of an umpiring error.
“When Rahul Tripathi was struck on the pad off Jasprit Bumrah, it looked plumb from a front-on view. I gave out. Later, I was told by the TV umpire that the side-view replays showed the ball was missing the stumps by millimetres, going over.
"Had DRS been there, the mistake could have been rectified. A couple of millimetres can make a difference. And with the kind of noise in the stadium during the IPL games, it is almost impossible to hear a feather from a batsman.”
Officiating a game in the subcontinent has always been challenging, particularly in Tests, with the close-in cordon and the bowler appealing vociferously for LBW decisions.
“The Sri Lanka-Australia series on turning pitches in Sri Lanka last year was tough. You have to base you decisions on the combination of your experience, instinct, and reading of the pitch, like how much it is turning,” he said.
In England, umpiring is difficult due to the excessive swing on offer which sometimes takes a toll on umpires’ concentration.
“There it is late swing or tail swing as some call it. You have to watch the ball till the last moment, calculate the swing and the seam movement. Then there are rain interruptions. You have to refocus. It is not easy," he said.
“It swings more in the last hour so you have to be really on the ball. Pink ball is all right but becomes slightly difficult to spot in twilight, during that half-an-hour period.”
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