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Mahela Jayawardene confirms ICC proposal to reduce margin of umpire's call in DRS

Mahela Jayawardene confirms ICC proposal to reduce margin of umpire's call in DRS
Jonny Bairstow survived a tight lbw decision on day one of the Lord's Test against Sri Lanka.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene has confirmed that the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket Committee has submitted a recommendation to the governing body to reduce the margin of umpire’s call in lbw decisions made using the Decision Review System (DRS).

In the current system being used in the DRS, a batsman can be given out only if, upon a review, more than 50 per cent of the ball is shown to be clipping the stumps.

If less than 50 per cent of the ball is clipping the stumps, the third umpire will stay with the on-field decision whether it is out or not out.

Jayawardene revealed that the recommendation of the ICC cricket committee was to reduce the margin of umpire’s call from 50 per cent to 25 per cent.

Furthermore, Jayawardene reasoned that according to the rules of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), any part of the ball hitting the wicket should be out and the 50 per cent rule is in direct contradiction to this.

"We sat in the cricket committee last week and we decided that the 50 per cent rule should be reduced to 25 per cent so that recommendation will probably go in and it’s something for the stakeholders and ICC to take up," Jayawardene said.

"Even the MCC rule book says if it hits any part of the wicket it should be given out, so you are going away from all that with the 50 per cent rule."

The 39-year-old disclosed that if the margin of umpire’s call was just 25 percent, nearly 80 per cent of the decisions made so far would have been overturned.

"That argument has been there for the last three or four years when captains are losing reviews so that is another reason the reduction came into play.

"If you take 25 per cent out, I think the stats say that 75-80 per cent of the umpire’s calls decisions would be given out.

"When umpires are considering benefit of the doubt I think 25 per cent is okay, but 50 pe cent is too much."

The most recent application of this rule was when Jonny Bairstow survived an lbw review on day one in the ongoing third Test match at Lord’s against Sri Lanka.

Bairstow was batting on 56 when he was trapped in front by fast bowler Shaminda Eranga and given not out by the onfield umpire, Rod Tucker.

When Sri Lanka reviewed the decision, the ball was shown to be hitting the pads in front of the stumps but less than 50 per cent of it was clipping the leg stump and hence the on-field call of not out was upheld by the third umpire.

Bairstow went on to score an unbeaten 107 by the end of the day.

This incident drew the ire of Jayawardene’s long-time teammate and former Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara, who feels that the umpire’s call in the DRS should be done away with.

"High time the ICC got rid of this umpire’s call," Sangakkara tweeted.

"If the ball is hitting the stumps it should be out on review, regardless of (the umpire’s) decision.

"With the umpire’s call, technology is used as an excuse for the umpire making a mistake.

"Technology should ensure the correct decision’s made.

"If the umpire wants a comfort zone, give him a margin of 20 per cent.

"If anything more of the ball is hitting it, his decision can be overturned."

The recommendations of the cricket committee will be discussed by the ICC at their annual conference which will be held in Edinburgh at the end of June.

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