One of the great things about creating the IPL was the opportunity to be at the cutting edge of development. I got a tremendous buzz out of creating a brand new product which pushed the boundaries of entertainment and sport and some might even say I blurred the boundary between the two. If that's the case, then I'm happy to have done so.
One of my personal motives for setting up the IPL was to provide something unique and exciting and in the four years it has been in existence, I think people will have seen that is certainly the case. I only hope the league can keep pace with technology and demand for future seasons. That, as they say, is another story. The IPL was set up to provide entertainment and a feeling of inclusion for spectators. We used the latest ideas and technology, including the Decision Review System (DRS) - and it worked.
So its disappointing to see the BCCI continuing to turn its back on the wider use of the technology during India’s tour of England this summer. DRS was in use and apparently working effectively during last winter's Ashes series and the recent World Cup. Its also currently being used in the three-Test series between England and Sri Lanka. But it won’t be used in England because the BCCI continues to oppose technology the ICC clearly believes is reliable, accurate and significantly improves decision-making. DRS was not used in India’s recent series against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa either and BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan has apparently told Reuters there was no real chance of a change to that position. Coincidentally, a recent survey conducted by the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (FICA) suggested that around 70% of cricketers believed the BCCI has too much influence on world cricket.
FICA CEO, Tim May said the main concern was the ICC’s increasing trend of succumbing to the demands of the BCCI. Its even been reported this week that Australian company BBG Sports, who supply hotspot cameras for the UDRS have informed the BCCI they have bought two new additional cameras to improve the technology even further. BBG want to take the hotspot technology to India later this year and reports suggest they've already contacted Indian broadcaster Nimbus. Nimbus say its a decision for the BCCI to take. These days, technology is an accepted part of proceedings in sports such as Tennis, Rugby Union and in the NFL.
Was that forehand winner inside the line or not? Was there a foot in touch before the try was scored? Did the quarterback manage to sneak past the defensive line or did he fall short?
In all instances, there is immediate closure on the issue and the umpires and referees are supported by technology, not hindered by it. And look what happens in soccer? FIFA have still to take the plunge and so TV shows are full of analysis reflecting the rights and wrongs of; ‘the goal that was allowed to stand’ or ‘ the penalty that never was.’ Fans understand there is technology available and its fairness and accuracy seems pretty consistent in the sports that use it. In soccer, at the moment, supporters just get angry when TV proves the referee was wrong. Why not let him have the chance to get it right with a little support from the modern world? I don’t see too many golfers playing on the tour with hickory shafted clubs just because its how they used to do it! Sport has to move with the times.
So its now high-time the ICC took a stand to invoke consistency across world cricket. It is nonsense to allow an individual body to dictate an inconsistent policy to the rest of the world. DRS was considered reliable enough for the World Cup and the technology should now be fully embraced. Otherwise, the public will lose faith in a product that television companies across the world will independently show is continually flawed. Cricket must use it or risk its credibility. The ICC cannot let the BCCI dictate any longer.