Michael Clarke has called for consistency on the ICC's Decision Review System (DRS) after the BCCI refused to allow its use in the upcoming Test series in Australia. Earlier this year, the ICC made the use of the DRS mandatory in Tests and ODIs, but three months later reversed its decision and went back to the rule that the boards of both countries must agree for it to be used in a series.
The Indian board's strong opposition to the DRS meant the four-Test series, which begins in Melbourne on Boxing Day, was never likely to feature umpire reviews. It will be Australia's first Test series played without referrals since Ricky Ponting's men toured India last October, and Clarke said while he was neutral on the system, consistency was required.
"I'm not bothered either way," Clarke said. "I'd just like to see a broader decision made for every team. I would like to see it either in Test cricket and one-day cricket or in one or the other, or not used at all. I find it a little bit inconsistent if we're having it in one series and not having it in the other. I don't mind what the decision is; I'd just like to see it consistent the whole time."
As a result of the BCCI's stance, all decisions in this series will remain in the hands of the on-field umpires, Marais Erasmus and Ian Gould for the first two Tests, and Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena for the final two matches. However, Channel Nine's coverage will still feature technology such as Eagle Eye and Hot Spot for the viewers at home.
That has the potential to create further drama; obvious umpiring errors will be visible to TV viewers, players in the change rooms and media at the ground, but not to the players and officials on field. Channel Nine's executive producer of sport, Brad McNamara, said he could not understand the BCCI's objections to the DRS.
"We put a lot of time, effort and money into making it as accurate as possible," McNamara told the Sydney Morning Herald. "We are fairly certain we are using the best technology available. If India get a couple of rough ones through the summer, they might all of a sudden become a fan of the DRS. It is a bit confusing."
However, Clarke said it would not be too difficult to adjust back to playing under the old conditions. He said his players would be happy to take the umpire's decision, despite having become accustomed to being allowed to ask for a review over the past couple of years.
"We've only had DRS for a few years so it's no different to how it's been throughout my whole career," Clarke said. "At the end of the day, the umpires will do their best to make the right decision. Like us players, I'd love to make a hundred every time I walk out on to the field but it doesn't happen, we make mistakes, we make errors.
"The positive thing is it's going to be consistent for both teams throughout the series. I think that's a real positive thing. Both teams will live with whatever decisions are made throughout the series."