Umpire Decision Review System

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The Umpire Decision Review System (abbreviated as UDRS or DRS) is a technology-based system used in the sport of cricket. The system was first introduced in Test cricket, for the sole purpose of reviewing controversial decisions made by the on-field umpires as to whether or not a batsman had been dismissed. The system was first tested in an India v Sri Lanka match in 2008.[1] The system was officially launched by the International Cricket Council ("ICC") on 24 November 2009 during the first Test match between New Zealand and Pakistan at the University Oval in Dunedin.[2][3] It was first used in One Day Internationals in January 2011, during England's tour of Australia.[4] The ICC initially made the UDRS mandatory in all international matches,[5] but later made its use optional, so that the system would only be used if both teams agree. The ICC has agreed to continue to work on the technology and will try to incorporate its use into all ICC events.[6]

On 29 October 2012, the International Cricket Council made amendments on LBW protocols, increasing the margin of uncertainty when the ball hits the batsman's pad.[7]

On 18 September 2013, the International Cricket Council announced that for a trial period starting in October 2013, a team's referrals would be reset to two after 80 overs in an innings in Test matches. Previously each team had a maximum of two unsuccessful reviews in an innings.[8]


There are three components in UDRS. The use of Snickometer was suspended but was reintroduced in 2013.[9][10][11]

  • Hawk-Eye, Eagle Eye, or Virtual Eye: ball-tracking technology that plots the trajectory of a bowling delivery that has been interrupted by the batsman, often by the pad, and can determine whether it would have hit the wicket or not.
  • Hot Spot: Infra-red imaging system that illuminates where the ball has been in contact with bat or pad.
  • Real time Snickometer, which relies on directional microphones to detect small sounds made as the ball hits the bat or pad.

Hot spot's success rate is found to be 90–95%. New cameras were used in Border-Gavaskar series in 2011–12 for viewers, which were vastly superior to those that had been part of the DRS in the past.[12]


Each team is allowed to make no more than two unsuccessful review requests per 80 overs[13] during a Test Match and no more than one unsuccessful review request per innings during a One Day International. A fielding team may use the system to dispute a "not out" decision and a batting team may use it to dispute an "out" decision. The fielding team captain or the batsman being dismissed invokes the challenge by signalling a "T" with the arms. Once the challenge is invoked, acknowledged, and agreed, the Third Umpire reviews the play. At their discretion, field umpires may request the Third Umpire for certain close calls such as line calls (to determine run outs and stumpings), boundary calls (to see if a batsman hit a four or a six), or for close catch calls where neither umpire is sure if a catch was made. A challenge is always used in situations that did or may result in a dismissal: for example, to determine if the ball is a legal catch (making contact with the batsman's bat or glove and not touching the ground before being held by a fielder) or if a delivery made the criteria for a leg before wicket dismissal (hitting the ground in line or on the off side and hitting the batsman in line with a path that would have hit the wicket). The Third Umpire then reports to the on-field umpire whether his analysis supports the original call, contradicts the call, or is inconclusive. The on-field umpire then makes the final decision: either re-signalling a call that is standing or revoking a call that is being reversed and then making the corrected signal. Each team can initiate referrals up to the limit on unsuccessful reviews.[14]

Under the DRS rule only clearly incorrect decisions are reversed; if the Third Umpire's analysis is within established margins of error or is otherwise inconclusive, the on-field umpire's original call stands.[15]

When a not-out LBW decision is evaluated, and if the replay demonstrates the ball has made impact more than 2.5 m away from the wickets, various additional criteria apply to account for the uncertainty of the ball's potential direction after pitching. For example, if the ball pitches more than 2.5 m from the wicket and travels less than 40 cm before hitting the batsman, then any not-out decision given by the on-field umpire stands. It has also been decided that if the batsman is more than 3.5 m from the wicket, then not-out decisions will stand. The only picture in which an LBW decision will be reversed in favour of the bowler is if the batsman is 2.5–3.5 m away from the wicket and the ball travels more than 40 cm after pitching before hitting the batsman. In that case, some part of the ball must be hitting the middle stump, and the whole ball must be hitting the stumps below the bails; otherwise, the result is again inconclusive and the call stands. In cases where the original decision is out, the 2.5 m or 40 cm distances do not apply, as in that state Hawk Eye must show the ball to be completely missing the stumps in order for the umpire to undo his decision.[citation needed]

Officiating Replay System[edit]

In 2013, ICC tested a broadcaster-free replay system. Under the experiment, a non-match umpire sits in a separate room with a giant monitor and has discretion over which replays to see rather than relying on the broadcaster. The non-match umpire mirrors the role of the third umpire without having the duty of making adjudications. The system was first used in an Ashes test (where Nigel Llong performed the duties of non-match umpire) and was repeated in a Pakistan-Sri Lanka ODI.[16]


The Decision Review System has generally received positive response from players and coaches since its launch, however there have been some criticisms as well. West Indies legend Joel Garner labelled the system a "gimmick".[17] Another West Indian Ramnaresh Sarwan said that he was not a supporter of the experimental referral system.[18] Former umpire Dickie Bird also criticised the system, saying it undermines the authority of on-field umpires.[19] The cricketing board of India is not in favour of using the system as it says it believes the system is not 100% accurate. Pakistani spinner Saeed Ajmal expressed dissatisfaction over the Decision Review System after a semi-final of 2011 Cricket World Cup against India. He said that DRS showed the line of the ball deviating more than it actually did.[20] Hawk-Eye officials admitted in December 2014 that their review technology made an error in a decision to give Pakistan opener Shan Masood out in the second Test against New Zealand in Dubai (17-21 November 2014). At a meeting held at the ICC office in Dubai two weeks later, Hawk-Eye is understood to have conceded to Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq and team manager Moin Khan that the projection used by their technology for the lbw decision was incorrect.[21]


  1. ^ New review system on the cards
  2. ^ "Decision Review System set for debut". 23 Nov 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  3. ^ "Official debut for enhanced review system". Cricinfo. 23 Nov 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  4. ^ "Referrals to be used in Australia-England ODI series". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 16 January 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Mandatory for all matches". Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "No mandatory use of Decision Review System, says ICC". The Times Of India. Retrieved 16 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "ICC paves way for Day-Night Tests". Wisden India. 29 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "Reviews to be topped-up after 80 overs". Wisden India. 18 September 2013. 
  9. ^ Real Time Snicko
  10. ^ TNN 7 July 2011, 01.13am IST (2011-07-07). "'Hot spot's success rate is 90-95%'". The Times Of India. Retrieved 2013-07-21. 
  11. ^ Hawk-Eye needs a leap of faith - Srinivasan Archived 2 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ UDRS new cameras Archived 11 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Standard Test Match Playing Conditions" (PDF). International Cricket Council. Retrieved 2015-04-28. 
  14. ^ "Decision Review System (DRS)". Retrieved 2014-12-18. 
  15. ^ "The Ashes 2010: How the Umpire Decision Review System works". Retrieved 2014-12-18. 
  16. ^ OFS on the card
  17. ^ "Garner labels review system as a 'gimmick'". London: The Independent. 10 Dec 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  18. ^ Weaver, Paul (6 Dec 2009). "Sarwan unhappy with umpire review system despite reprieve". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  19. ^ "Dickie Bird criticises review system". Cricinfo. 7 Dec 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  20. ^ "Ajmal speaks against DRS". The News International. 2 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  21. ^ "Hawk-Eye admits technical error in Masood dismissal". ESPN Sports Media Ltd. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-08.