Image courtesy of: The Guardian
Dharmasena’s decision against Khawaja is definitely the worse one of the Ashes
England coach Andy Flower has openly admitted that the Decision Review System (DRS) “hasn’t worked well at all” throughout the entire Ashes series, but, at the same time, he added that all the technology being used is still an asset to the game.
Flower’s comments come after an unbelievable number of howlers were made during the first four Ashes Tests.
One example that stands heads and shoulders above the rest is that of Australian batsman Usman Khawaja, who was given out after allegedly edging a delivery from England off-spinner Graeme Swann to Matt Prior behind the stumps.
However, upon further review, there was no evidence to suggest that he had hit the ball, but the third umpire, Kumar Dharmasena was convinced that he had, despite replays showing that Khawaja’s bat was nowhere near the ball during the alleged time of impact.
With the DRS having stolen the media limelight throughout the Ashes, Flower announced that third umpires should have assistants to help them with decisions as it will result in a decrease in the percentage of errors made and take a lot of the pressure off the third umpire as well.
“I thought the DRS had worked pretty well in international cricket prior to this series,” Flower said. “But in this series it hasn’t worked well at all. I wouldn’t necessarily blame technology. What we have at the moment is the best we’ve got. I might question whether we’re using it as wisely as we can. I think we, the cricket community, can use it better.
“There is technology there to use and there are protocols that go with it. I think the people in charge of using the technology have to make very calm, clear decisions.
“I think we also know and understand that going back to using just the two umpires in the middle is not the answer because that isn’t going to get us a greater percentage of correct decisions. Just being smart about how we use the technology – where the third umpire sits, who he sits with, is he sitting with experts in technology so that he sees the best pictures and can run forwards and backwards the various screens and the pertinent screens – those are the things that the ICC need to get right.
“I think the person sitting as the third umpire has to be an experienced on-field umpire to understand what is going on in the middle.”
Meanwhile, Flower also took the opportunity to talk about batsman Kevin Pietersen, who made a breathtaking century during the third Test at Old Trafford.
Flower conceded that he was extremely nervous when Pietersen suffered a serious knee injury during the national team’s tour of New Zealand back in March, but added that he was also impressed at the way the South African-born batsman had kept a positive attitude and mindset during his road to recovery.
“He’s been excellent,” Flower said. “Unfortunately he’s had a couple of injuries, but he’s been very dedicated in the way he’s responded to getting those right and it’s great to see him bat like he did not only here but when he got a really important 60 in the context of that game at Trent Bridge.
“It’s been another vital innings here, so it’s great to see him bat like that. He’s a very entertaining guy to watch and a brilliant international batsman. It’s great that he’s fit and firing.
“He’ll have to look after himself as well as possible because he’s in his early 30s now and, from experience and talking to guys who have played at that age, everything seems to hurt a little bit more after long days in the field and after big innings. He wants to play in the World Cup of 2015, but I don’t think any of us can determine what happens in the medium to long-term. He, like all the others, will be desperate to do well in the rest of this series and looking forward to the Ashes away and not looking miles beyond that.
“We do try to look after the players that play all three forms of the game in as wise a way as possible. Kevin’s one of those guys so we do take him out of certain competitions when it’s necessary, just like we do with Jimmy Anderson and might do with Alastair Cook in the future.”