Ranji Trophy: As DRS makes debut, captains welcome the move

This will be for the first time that the country’s premier domestic tournament will see the use of the review system, albeit with limited tools. 

Ahead of the Ranji Trophy semifinal, captains Jaydev Unadkat of Saurashtra and Parthiv Patel of Gujarat in a conversation during a training session in Rajkot on Friday.   -  VIJAY SONEJI

The Decision Review System (DRS) will be the major highlight of the Ranji Trophy semifinals, which get underway on Saturday.

After all, this will be for the first time that the country’s premier domestic tournament will see the use of the review system, albeit with limited tools. 

Though the teams will get the benefit of virtual pitch map for leg before decisions and slow-motion cameras - with each side getting four reviews per innings - there will be no HawkEye, Snickometer or UltraEdge.

Bengal captain Abhimanyu Easwaran has already backed the move ahead of his team’s clash against Karnataka in Kolkata, the other two semifinalists - Gujarat and Saurashtra - are also looking forward to the change.

“It is a great thing. We saw what happened last year in the semifinals. With this, it will take the howlers out of the way. Sometimes there could be a bad decision, which may be a human error. But when you have the technology, you don’t want bad decisions in such (crucial games),” Gujarat captain, Parthiv Patel, told Sportstar.

The standard of umpiring in domestic cricket has drawn flak over the last few years, and even in the quarterfinals between Goa and Gujarat last week, umpire C.K. Nandan adjudicated against Goa’s Snehal Kauthankar in both the innings, even though replays suggested that he was not out on both the occasions. And having seen such howlers, Parthiv believes that it is a wise move by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to introduce DRS in the semifinals and the final.

His Saurashtra counterpart, Jaydev Unadkat, too calls the move ‘beneficial’. However, he admits that this being the first time, the players would find it a bit challenging to make the right appeals. 

“It will be tricky for sure because it is for the first time that such a thing is happening and the guys are not familiar with it. Also, it’s a partial DRS and not a full one,” Unadkat told this publication.

DRS in Ranji Trophy will not involve Snicko.   -  Getty Images


“It’s going to be challenging not just for us, but for the umpires as well in terms of judging it right. I hope it turns out well. It is beneficial for sure because it will stop the howlers,” Unadkat said.

S. Ravi and Rohan Pandit will be the on-field umpires for the fixture in Rajkot, while C Samshuddin will be the third umpire.

A seasoned campaigner in the domestic circuit, Unadkat understands that one wrong decision could change the course of the game.

“At times, there are mistakes that are clearly visible. Those will be stopped for sure. Our guys have seen enough cricket to understand how it works, so it won’t be a problem. I just hope that the partial DRS comes out well,” Unadkat said.

Despite most of the international teams opting for DRS, India agreed to use technology only during the series against England in 2016, after initial reluctance.

In the first few tournaments, the team struggled to make the right reviews, though things eased out eventually. And as a new chapter begins in the history of Ranji Trophy, the teams, too, hope that the partial DRS raises the bar.

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