And as you can imagine, that’s up against some pretty stiff competition.
Last week, the chief executives of the senior cricket nations gathered under the auspices of the ICC to discuss how the game is run and managed. Their implicit task was to devise ways to enhance and reform the sport.
Now, if you were to come up with an idea to improve cricket, what might it be? More grass-roots investment? A better balance between bat and ball? Fewer meaningless fixtures?
Well here’s what the ICC bigwigs came up with: more DRS.
As you may have read, the governing body will from 1st October trial a new system in which teams receive an extra two additional reviews after eighty overs of an innings.
You have to admit, they’ve really nailed it there. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard a cricket fan say to me, “I really wish there were more DRS reviews in test cricket”. It really is what every supporter’s been crying out for, isn’t it? More interruptions, more delays, more pointless reviews by batsmen with nothing to lose.
What on earth were the chief execs thinking? What was the process by which they decided test cricket needed more reviews? Who’s been asking for this, who’s campaigned for it, who’s ever suggested we currently have too few? Of all the problems they could have addressed, they’ve decided to expend all their energies on an invented one.
If anything, the number of reviews should be reduced – to one – not increased. The aim of DRS remains to eradicate the terrible howler, and to my mind a single review is perfectly adequate – because you would only review if absolutely convinced the decision was wrong.
If you’ve read this blog before, you may have noticed that I often rail against the failings of DRS. Many of you disagree with my arguments. But even the staunchest advocate of DRS would concede that for the system to work, less is more.
The success, or otherwise, of any umpiring system is gauged by its unobtrusiveness, for it is only a mechanism to support the game, not the game itself. Axiomatically, the fewer reviews the better. But now, any team with reviews remaining after 70 overs will burn them on ridiculous appeals, safe in the knowledge that they will be replaced along with the new ball.
One can only fear how the ICC’s grasp not only of cricketing logic, but sheer common sense, might manifest itself in future. What other problems will they identify next? Not enough sixes being hit in the IPL? Too few tests ending in a draw? Sachin Tendulkar not sufficiently popular in India? After their next meeting, it wouldn’t particularly surprise me if we ended up playing with a square ball.