Tuesday 13 November 2012 

Umpire's Call: Why DRS Is Changing Grass-Roots Cricket

It seems a Test series can't be played without a controversy around the Decision Review System (DRS) technology. The system has utilised computer modelling and even military grade heat cameras to help the top level come to the right decision.

There is a knock on effect to the games played at grass-roots level, even when the highest-tech item on the oval is a cricket bat.

And as far as I’m concerned it’s good for the game.

The DRS has given international umpires confidence to give out LBW on the front foot, especially to spinners.  The margin for error that DRS allows – the infamous “umpires call” – means elite umpires are rarely overturned because they rarely make glaring errors.

Top batsmen have responded with the simple tactic of playing the ball with the bat.

Gone are the days of thrusting a pad out and pretending to play a shot with the bat tucked behind the pad. The modern way is to get down the pitch and play with your bat a long way out in front of your pad.

Kevin Pietersen demonstrates the method here:

Kevin Pietersen demonstrates this


It also means the practice of sweeping off the stumps is seen as much higher risk. Yes, it is still an important shot when you want to score quickly, but the LBW risk makes it a risky shot saved for the death of one day innings or Twenty20 matches.

But all this is good practice at any level. You don’t need the excuse of DRS.

Any time you get hit on the pad you are risking being given out LBW. The lower the level you play, the lower the umpiring standards and so the more likely you are to be given out by a poor decision.

The umpire can far more confidently say that he thought the ball was hitting the stumps and point to how often it happens at the top level. The old rule that you can’t be out LBW on the front foot is dead.

Young cricketers can emulate their heroes even without DRS. If you are using your bat you can’t be out LBW. If you are sweeping carefully – to balls the pitch outside leg stump – you can rotate the strike safely.

So whether you coach 11 year old players, you play club cricket or you are in an Academy you can take the lessons from DRS and adapt your technique. It means when the time comes for you to play a televised match you will be ready.

by David Hinchclife, PitchVision Academy
© 2012 miSport Ltd

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