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A file photo of CSK players entering the ground for an IPL match: Photo: BCCI

DRS controversy mars CSK’s exit from IPL; ex-players, fans question BCCI

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Four-time champion Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) exit from IPL 2022 was marred by DRS (Decision Review System) controversy at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.

The MS Dhoni-led CSK was beaten by five-time winner Mumbai Indians (MI) by five wickets on Thursday night (May 12). Apart from CSK’s elimination from the competition, the other major talking point was the unavailability of DRS at the start of the match.

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MI captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and chose to field first. With CSK needing to win all its remaining three matches, the start was a disastrous one with in-form opener Devon Conway trapped LBW on the second ball by Daniel Sams.

Conway wanted to use the DRS but due to a power outage at the stadium, it was not available. Replays showed that the umpire Chirra Ravikanthreddy was wrong.

From 1/1 in 0.2 overs, CSK slumped to 5/3 with another LBW decision going in favour of MI. This time, in the third over, Robin Uthappa was dismissed by Jasprit Bumrah. He too wanted to review the decision but DRS was still not available.

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Soon after Uthappa’s exit from the middle, 10 balls into the game, DRS was back on. But its non-availability had already done the damage to CSK. From 5/3, it never recovered and was bowled out for 97 in 16 overs. In reply, MI achieved the target in 14.5 overs for the loss of five wickets.

Throughout and after the match, fans and former cricketers questioned the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for DRS not being there, and also the standard of umpiring was criticised. For many, the umpiring in IPL 2022 has been poor.

Former India opening batsman Virender Sehwag felt if DRS was not available at the start, then it should not have been used for the entire match. He also questioned the BCCI.

“It was astonishing that DRS was unavailable due to power cut. It’s such a big league that a generator can be used. Whatever software there was, that could have been run with power generated through backup. This is a big question for the BCCI,” Sehwag said on Cricbuzz.

Sehwag said if Mumbai was batting first, they too would have “suffered” without DRS. “What will happen if there is a power cut? Is the generator only for stadium lights and not for the broadcasters and their systems? If the match was happening then DRS should definitely have been used. Or DRS should not have been used in the entire match because this was a disadvantage for Chennai. If Mumbai were batting first then they would have suffered,” he added.

Another former India player – Laxman Sivaramakrishnan agreed with Sehwag. “It should have been a match with no DRS for both sides #CSKvsMI,” he tweeted.

After the match, CSK coach Stephen Fleming, however, did not blame the DRS for the loss but admitted the early dismissals set off a chain of events. “It was a little bit unlucky that it happened at that time. We were a little disappointed, but that’s still part of the game, isn’t it? It sort of set off a chain of events that were not in our favour, but we should be better that than (being bowled out for 97). It certainly wasn’t a great start,” he said.

On EspnCricinfo, former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar and leg-spinner Piyush Chawal highlighted the poor standard of umpiring in the IPL.

“We have seen some very ordinary umpiring this season, so that was one of the decisions (of that kind) as well,” Chawla said.

Manjrekar said, “So ball swinging, good bowling at the top, helped by some glitch in technology because there were two decisions there, Uthappa’s and Conway’s, that I would call reviewable.”

He questioned the local umpires. “Because there is now a problem getting all the quality foreign umpires from all over the world here, with the Covid situation and everything, you have to make do with a lot of local umpires. The DRS was down for 10 minutes, and disaster happened. It pains me when those kinds of decisions happen. I saw one earlier as well, when a ball that pitched outside leg stump, about four or six inches, and those are given out, so that is (disappointing),” he said.

Even as social media was abuzz with comments against the BCCI, noted commentator Harsha Bhogle explained that it was not right to target the cricket administration and it was the same all over the world.

In a series of tweets, he wrote, “When you lose power, the generators come on automatically and that is how the coverage continues. But some machines need to reboot and that takes time and that is when DRS is unavailable. This is the situation all over the world. It has nothing to do with budgets or planning.

“I have been at many tournaments and bilateral games that have continued without DRS for a while. That is the global protocol. As soon as the machines are ready, DRS resumes. The production set-up here is world-class. Sorry if that comes in the way of easy anger.

“The umpire probably got it wrong, it was called out, and everyone has off days. But I will say this. A lot of the comments (remember the outrage on the high full toss in the last over of DC vs RR) have arisen out of not knowing the laws. The umpire was right that day but copped abuse.”

The DRS issue attracted a comment from a politician as well with BJP MP from Bangalore PC Mohan suggesting that M Chinnaswamy Stadium’s solar power could have come in handy in such situations.

“No DRS! #CSK batter Conway could not review an LBW call due to a power outage at #Wankhede. M Chinnaswamy stadium in #Bengaluru has a solution for such issues. A 400 KW rooftop solar power plant at #Chinnaswamy generates 5.90 lakh units of electricity per year. #CSKvsMI,” he tweeted.

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