India Making One Error Too Many in the DRS Game

Karthik Lakshmanan , Cricketnext
India’s home Test series against England in 2016 saw them trial the Decision Review System for the first time in home Tests, after a brief stint with the technology in overseas tours a few years earlier. During that series, India were checking the system on a ‘trial basis’ to ‘evaluate the improvements made’ in the technology, which they earlier believed was not “100% foolproof.”

The trial seemingly went well, and India gradually accepted the system on a permanent basis. Nearly two years later, how have their players adapted to the system? The Indian limited-overs teams do not seem to have issues with DRS, considering they have a calm head in MS Dhoni behind the stumps to offer an objective take. Dhoni’s success rate with reviews even led to social media renaming DRS the ‘Dhoni Review System’. It’s ironic, considering the former captain was an open critic of the system.



The Test team, though, doesn’t have the luxury of a calm head like Dhoni. Captain Virat Kohli isn’t nearly as calm and often stands at cover, mid-wicket or slips and thus doesn’t have the best view to judge the situation objectively. The wicketkeeper, Rishabh Pant, is young and new to the DRS world.

India’s use of DRS came under the scanner again when they exhausted both their reviews within 12 overs of England’s second innings. India first went upstairs to check an lbw call against Keaton Jennings in the 10th, and then did the same trying to get Alastair Cook dismissed a couple of overs, Ravindra Jadeja being the bowler on both occasions.

The impact on both occasions turned out to be outside off. The Jennings review was particularly shocking, and the Cook one reeked of impatience and hope more than conviction. It left the Indian team with no further opportunities to correct an umpiring error for the rest of England’s second innings. Even in England’s first innings, India lost both their reviews with England’s score on 128 for 1, unsuccessfully trying to dismiss Moeen Ali and Cook. India were left with no reviews by the 62nd over, and went on to bowl 60 more overs.

India haven’t always been impetuous with reviews this tour, but there is probably an increasing desperation with every passing game, and every passing loss. With the ball, India have used up their reviews in four innings this series. In the second Test at Lord’s, India had both their reviews until the 74th over. In the fourth game in Southampton, India used their reviews by the 67th over. In the ongoing final Test at The Oval, they exhausted their quota by the 61st and 12th overs respectively.

India have been a bit more judicious with the bat, although there has been the odd inexplicable decision. CheteshwarPujara forcing KL Rahul, who was on his way to the pavilion, to review an lbw call in Southampton was bewildering. In the second innings of the same Test, Kohli reviewed when he gloved Moeen Ali to forward short-leg, although that can possibly be justified given that was India’s last chance to save the series.

With the bat, India have used up their reviews – or been in a situation to use up their reviews – only thrice in the series so far. Once at Lord’s, when they had no choice but to try and save all wickets on a green track, and twice in Southampton, by the 47th and 61st overs respectively. Of these, only the first innings in Southampton could have potentially been dangerous, given India were only four down by then.

In all, India have made a total of 22 wrong DRS calls this series, with 11 each in batting and bowling. They’ve had a bit of success too; they’ve made six correct DRS decisions, interestingly each of those while batting. It also means that India have not got a single decision overturned while bowling.

On the other hand, England have had three successful reviews in the series, all with the ball. They’ve reviewed incorrectly 17 times in total, 11 of those with the ball and six with the bat. Unlike India, England also failed to review what-would-have-been-out decisions twice.

Interestingly, almost none of these failed reviews has cost either side big. There haven’t been too many situations where teams haven’t had reviews remaining when the on-field umpire got it wrong.

The only such occasion came in Southampton when Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane used up the reviews, leaving none for Ishant Sharma and Ashwin later on, who would have been able to turn decisions against them had DRS been available. By then, though, the game was nearly done and dusted, and India eventually lost by 60 runs.



Quite clearly, India’s DRS game isn’t really as well-oiled as they would like it to be.