The Ranji Trophy 2021-22 final got underway in Bengaluru on Wednesday with 41-time champions Mumbai taking on Madhya Pradesh. At the close of play, Mumbai had reached 248/5 with Sarfaraz Khan unbeaten on 40 in the company of Shams Mulani (12*) at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
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Interestingly, the Ranji Trophy summit clash, India’s premier red-ball competition, is being played without the Decision Review System (DRS). And its absence could haunt Madhya Pradesh considering the in-form Sarfaraz survived a close call for lbw on the opening day’s play off pacer Gaurav Yadav.
This jogs back memory to the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy semifinal clash between Saurasthra and Karnataka when India batting star Cheteshwar Pujara benefitted twice because DRS wasn’t used for the match. Pujara was twice out caught-behind but was adjudged not out and since there was no review system, he scored 45 (1st innings) and an unbeaten 131 (2nd innings) as Saurashtra won by five wickets.
The Times of India quoted sources as saying that the BCCI has faith in its on-field officials and that the technology is too expensive.
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“We believe in our umpires,” the daily quoted a BCCI official as saying.
A former India player says that India’s top two umpires – KN Ananthapadmanabhan and Virender Sharma – are officiating the game and we should trust them.
“It’s an expensive exercise to use the DRS. The costs shoot up. How does it matter if there’s no DRS in the final. It’s time we trusted the umpires. India’s two best umpires are officiating in this game. And what’s the end result? If you use it in the final, you will want to introduce it in the league stage of the Ranji Trophy,” the player was quoted as saying.
Another source lamented the cost of putting and dismantling the equipment claiming the demand for implementing DRS in all televised games will also arise.
“The rigging (wiring) and derigging of all the equipment will be extremely costly. HawkEye means extra cameras needed. Ranji is done with limited equipment. The argument will then be that why not for all televised games. Look, you can’t have a half-baked DRS. The last time, it was used for limited replays to see if there’s an edge or not. You can’t use the ball trajectory — a critical element of DRS” the source said.
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