Cricket Australia has given its strongest hint yet that some form of DRS will be accepted into the Big Bash League – but not in time for the final series, which starts next Friday.
The BBL has quietly tackled an alarming lack of referees this season as several games have been played without a fourth referee as several have been stranded on Sydney’s northern beaches due to the sudden outbreak of COVID-19.
The ICC then called BBL umpires Paul « Blocker » Wilson and Claire Polosak to officiate on the Border Gavaskar series as the limited panel was being used repeatedly.
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Referee Sam Nogajski ruled three consecutive evenings in December and directed three games in three different locations in two states.
Sharp decision maker Gerard Abood, who directed the last two big BBL finals, was unavailable until January, while Shawn Craig was also unsightly for a month.
Unforgivable decisions made against Usman Khawaja, Andre Fletcher, Tom Cooper, Mohammed Nabi, Jake Weatherald and bowler Andrew Tye in the first fortnight have put the standard of the BBL referee in the spotlight.
Some players believe they have faced similar frustrating mistakes in Sheffield Shield games for several years, arguing that some of the dud LBW decisions show a lack of understanding of the terms.
Scott Boland, rolling around the wicket to a right-handed, picked up Nabi’s wicket despite the ball being well outside the stump in an early shocker that slipped under the radar.
But BBL boss Alistair Dobson said there had been « accurate and phenomenal decisions » in the past few weeks and praised referees for signing up for life outside their families.
Dobson admitted the BBL needed to fix « glaring bugs » when he pointed out a watered-down version of DRS due out next season.
A test-standard DRS model would cost several million dollars, although Channel 7 and Fox Cricket CA have announced that technology already available for broadcast can be used immediately.
But CA does not want to change the playing conditions in the mid-season and will instead investigate an affordable solution for 2021-2022.
« It’s also about what fits the BBL, and the need for highly technical mechanisms to review decisions in international cricket is different from the BBL.
« Anything we would consider would be a little different from the full DRS you see in the context of making sure it really fits the BBL.
« That would also influence how much it would cost and what technology and which providers we would have to work with and what role the broadcasters would play.
Fans at home will be treated to ball tracking technology and multiple camera angles, although this is for entertainment purposes only.
« With the technology in place, our transmitters are sure to have a range of camera angles and forms of ball tracking available to them, and we talk to them regularly about whether that is enough and how we can potentially improve them, » said Dobson.
« Moving referees and match officers across the country in a normal season is only natural when it is not possible and you have a limited number of panels available and referees have to play more games under more pressure.
« The restriction to Australian referees for the international summer has certainly further influenced the jury of match officers.
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