The ICC has ended the mandatory use of DRS and reverted to its pre-June position, by which its use will be subject to bilateral agreements between the participating boards. The organisation's executive board, which met in Dubai on October 10, also approved the new Associates and Affiliates qualifying system for the 2015 World Cup, agreed to make the findings of the independent governance review panel public, and expressed a preference for a Test Championship in 2013.
The decision on the DRS marks a reversal from the agreement reached between the ICC and its member boards at the annual conference in Hong Kong, when Hot Spot was made mandatory subject to availability and the use of ball-tracking was left to the playing boards to decide. However, the ICC's executive board said the DRS would still be used in all ICC global events and that they support the use of technology and would continue to work on its development.
"Although the DRS improves correct umpire decisions by around five per cent and corrects any blatant errors, there are some who are not convinced by its reliability," Haroon Lorgat, the ICC's chief executive, said in a release. "We will continue to work with interested parties to improve the system while permitting the participating teams to decide whether they wish to use it or not."
The change in the regulations for the DRS followed the BCCI's criticism of Hot Spot during India's series in England. At the board's annual general meeting last month, president N Srinivasan said the current technology was simply not good enough after Hot Spot proved inconclusive on a few occasions on the tour, and that the board would raise the issue at the next ICC meeting.
India's captain MS Dhoni also voiced his displeasure at the handling of the DRS on more than one occasion on the same tour, with Rahul Dravid in particular falling victim to three controversial dismissals.
In other decisions, it has asked the PCB and the Bangladesh Cricket Board to submit their nomination for the ICC Vice-Presidency for 2012-14, in accordance with its current constitution.
The qualifying system for the next World Cup will have the top two teams in the current eight-team Associates and Affiliates ODI 50-over League that is being played until October 2013 progressing automatically. The remaining six teams will then join four other teams from the World Cricket League (the teams placed 3rd and 4th in Division 2 and teams placed 1st and 2nd in Division 3) in a second ten-team qualifying event. The two finalists from that event will also progress to the World Cup.
The independent governance review, headed by Lord Woolf, hopes to report to the ICC in early 2012, after which it will be made public. The review is part of the ICC's new Strategic Plan for 2011-15 and its scope includes the constitutional framework of the ICC, the election process for the president, the criteria for membership and "clarifying the role and structure of the ICC and its committees to ensure that strategic goals are met effectively and that decision-making is made in the best interests of the game. This would include consideration of independent committee members and directors."
There is a question mark over the fate of the Test Championship, with the ICC conceding it faced commercial challenges in replacing the Champions Trophy. ESPN Star Sports owns the broadcast rights to ICC events and Lorgat said without the support and consent of its broadcast partner, the financial implications on the Members and the development of the game would be significant.
"It would be unfortunate if the Test Championship is delayed to 2017 but the board needs to balance several objectives," Lorgat said.