Mike Hesson: 'The DRS is good for everyone'

By Andrew Alderson in Kolkata

Black Caps coach Mike Hesson. Photo / Getty
Black Caps coach Mike Hesson. Photo / Getty

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has lamented the lack of the Decision Review System in the Indian test series following his side's 178-run second test loss at Eden Gardens yesterday.

His comments coincide with the Indian governing body debating the system's return to their matches, a stance backed by their captain Virat Kohli.

"The game is played in great spirit until people feel like it's unjust," Hesson said. "That leads to anger and aggression. The DRS is good for everyone.

"The intensity of the game over here is great, but there's frustration and perhaps anger at times. DRS takes that away from the game. If you feel you are hard done by, you have a chance to do something about it. Without DRS you can complain a lot."

Particular areas of interest from Kolkata were the 15 lbw decisions and a series of close catches where players want to have more certainty about their dismissal than umpiring can provide.

Some pragmatic barriers might need dismantling for the system to enhance the Indian game.

The new world No.1s are experts at using the DRS' absence to their advantage. They accept umpire error delivers a swings-and-roundabouts effect, so instead focus on gaining a competitive advantage elsewhere. They are masters at generating crowd support, orchestrate Oscar-winning appeals, and captain Kohli engages in regular theatrical umpire chats. Each factor is driven by fear of the public consequences if a country with a population of 1.25 billion people loses.

Yes, India still needed technical nous to deliver an unbeaten run of 12 tests and become the world's best, but expertise in those peripheral tactics makes them a formidable combination.

New Zealand, despite suffering their fifth defeat in eight tests this year, are unlikely to employ those methods, or do them better than the hosts.

However, times are changing. Former senior players like Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni were against the DRS. Kohli, who harnesses as much power as anyone in the Indian game, is intent on changing that stance.

"We will certainly look to probably introduce it [DRS] in future," he said on the eve of the Kolkata test.

"There were some areas we felt can be debated. Especially the ball-tracking and Hawkeye. These things can be discussed and debated.

"We wouldn't take [wrong umpiring] decisions too hard because we, in the first place, decided we would not use DRS. For us to then say the umpires made an error and it is going against us... it is not logical. There is no room for excuses.

"Once DRS is up and running for us as well, then you can sit and think about grey areas. We want to definitely think about it."

Those comments were endorsed by the BCCI president Anurag Thakur on the final day of the second test.

"We're open about reform and are prepared to relook at the performance of it [DRS] and whether it is satisfactory. Is the technology 100 per cent?"

Whatever the decision, it will be too late for New Zealand in this series. The team is set to fly to Indore for the third test starting Saturday, despite speculation the series would be called off because of the BCCI breaching a Supreme Court order for issuing payments to member associations.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is gradually recovering from the viral illness which kept him out of the second test. He cut a gaunt figure but was in good spirits yesterday as he prepared to literally "get back on the bike" at a gym session.

- NZ Herald

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