What is DRS: All rules, number of chances and umpire's call explained

The Decision Review System (DRS) was officially introduced in Tests in November 2009, but it wasn't until after October 2017 that it was made mandatory in T20Is.

In July 2008 a new Decision Review System was inaugurated in India's Test series in Sri Lanka.   -  GETTY IMAGES

In July 2008, a new Decision Review System (DRS) was inaugurated in India's Test series in Sri Lanka. Of the 12 decisions that were overturned under the DRS, only one favoured India. Former India batsman Virender Sehwag's lbw in 2008 became the first decision overturned under the UDRS (as it was called then).

The system was officially introduced in Tests in November 2009. In September 2013, the rules were tweaked to allow teams to reset their review counts after 80 overs. In 2016, the criteria was changed to widen the frame of contact between ball and stump in lbw out decisions.

Former India batsman Virender Sehwag's lbw in 2008 that became the first decision overturned under the UDRS.   -  AFP


A month later that year, India agreed to use the system. In 2018, the IPL featured the DRS for the first time. The Pakistan Super League (PSL) was the first T20 tournament to use the DRS, during the play-offs of the 2017 season. It was only from October 1 2017 that the International Cricket Council (ICC) made DRS mandatory in T20Is.

How do teams opt for DRS?

Only the fielding captain or the batsman who has been given out by the on-field umpire can ask for DRS with the show of a ‘T’ sign using the hands. Teams are now allowed 15 seconds to opt for DRS after the on-field umpire has made a decision.

How many DRS challenges does a team get in Test cricket and ODIs?

Initially, each team had three unsuccessful DRS challenges, but that was reduced to two per innings in Test cricket and one per innings in ODIs and T20Is. Successful challenges allow teams to retain a DRS challenge at any point. Challenges left from the first innings of a Test do not carry over to the second innings.

What is the procedure for the umpires when a team opts for DRS?

The on-field umpire at the bowler’s end signals a square mime of a TV screen to prompt the third umpire to review the decision.

The third umpire initially checks if it’s a legal delivery before proceeding to watch the replays to make an lbw or caught-behind decision.

Ultra-edge (or snickometer) and Hotspot are the systems used to check whether the ball has made contact with the bat before hitting the pad (in the case of an lbw decision) or being caught by the wicketkeeper.

If the ultra-edge doesn’t indicate a nick, the third umpire proceeds to review the impact before confirming with the ball-tracking software if the ball is indeed projected to go on to hit the stumps.

If the on-field umpire had ruled the batsman out, he signals out after the third umpire conveys the decision. If the third umpire prompts his on-field counterpart to overturn his incorrect decision, he cancels his initial decision by touching each shoulder with the opposite hand before signalling out.

What is umpire’s call?

In 2016, the International Cricket Council introduced umpire’s call as part of the DRS, encouraging the on-field umpires to make decisions and give them the benefit of doubt in the case of marginal lbw decisions.

Therefore, for an lbw decision, if either the impact, the zone where the ball pitched or the projected ball path as it passes the stumps return as umpire’s call, the on-field umpire’s decision (out or not out) will be final. Teams, however, won’t lose their reviews if umpire’s call is involved in the final decision.

What is the difference between a player review and umpire review?

Umpire review doesn’t come under DRS: the on-field umpires consult with the third umpire at their discretion to rule, for example, on an inconclusive catch.

The decision whether to opt or not opt for DRS comes under player review.

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