The Decision review system (DRS) is a technology-based system to help match officials in the correct decision-making process. DRS system was introduced in cricket to give players the opportunity to review the errors committed by the match officials.

DRS has been introduced in cricket not a long time back and the sole purpose of this is to make the game more transparent.
It started off in 2008, when Virender Sehwag’s decision of LBW was reviewed by the Srilankan team but officially was introduced in Test cricket in 2009.


How helpful has DRS been?

In the past 10-12 years, cricket has seen a significant change in terms of transparency. The game has become more advanced and requires apt decision making. It’s because of this DRS system that the chances of a decision going wrong have gone down and it upholds fair play. Despite the fact, that there were ongoing debates about whether DRS should be included or not, it has made its place in all the major international cricket tournaments. More so, this tech-based system has also been used by national and club level cricket tournaments.

 Had it been the case that the Indian Team did not use the DRS effectively, it would have been difficult to pull off a 4-0 win over England in 2016-17 Anthony de Mello Trophy. I won’t be wrong if I say that Australia would have won the 3rd Ashes test of 2019 if they had reviewed the decision of Ben stokes, little did they know that Stokes will outplay the rest of them and win the match for England. A lot more instances where DRS must have been/been very helpful for both the teams and hence it has made its place. 



Since both the teams are allowed to make no more than 2 unsuccessful reviews in Test cricket and the number reduces to 1 in ODI and T20, there comes a need to be more precise. This largely depends on the bowler, keeper, and the captain(if, fielding), and of course while batting, the striker and the nonstriker have to decide. Being smart about when to use the DRS system is of utmost importance because it can actually make you win or lose matches. 

According to the stats, Pakistan has been the most successful team when it comes to DRS. They have overturned 36 out of 104 decisions since September 2017 followed by England who have a success rate of 32%. Sri Lankans have the worst success rate with 23%.


DRS has a lot of components that help the third umpire to review the decision and make the right choice.

1) Snicko-meter: It uses both audio and the visual effect to check whether the batsman has edged the ball or not.

2) Hawk-eye: It is used to see the visual trajectory of the ball. This is another technology used by the third umpire to check the LBW decisions. In layman words, if the impact, pitching and wickets hitting are all red, then the decision is out. If any of them appears in green, its signaled not out.

3) Hot-spot: These are the infrared cameras on the field which helps in decision making. It portrays an x-ray kind of an image, which helps the third umpire to look at whether the batsman has nicked the ball or not.


 What happens after a decision is reviewed?

Let’s understand this by an example:

Say for example an LBW decision is reviewed by the batsman, this means that the batsman was given out, however, he/she believes that it was not out. The decision then goes to the third umpire and with the help of hawk-eye, they check whether it was out or not out.

This decision is then forwarded to the on-field umpire and he makes the final decision. If the on-field decision is out and the ball-tracking(hawk-eye) shows the ball hitting the stumps less than 50%, then it’s the on-field umpires call which they stick to which in this case is out. Now, a similar process is followed if the bowling team decides to review the decision. The majority of the decisions that are reviewed are either related to LBW or caught behind.

In recent times, there have been a lot of debates whether the decision made by the third umpire using hawk-eye has the correct basis or not. If less than 50% of the ball is hitting the stumps and the on-field decision is not out, still after a review the decision stands not out. This still prevails when we talk about DRS and on umpires call a review is retained by the respective team who has reviewed the decision. Do we need umpires to call and whether the decision of ball hitting the stumps less than 50% should be out or not out are some questions which are still in consideration

Call it the beauty of the game or its nature, still, there are moments where players get heartbroken, wrong decisions overpower the fair ones and there’s no other option but to continue the game in the right spirit.

Author- Rishabh Gandhi


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