Josh Hazlewood, the Australian fast bowler, has suggested that reducing the number of unsuccessful DRS [Decision Review System] referrals to one for each team per innings will have a better impact on Test cricket.
Following the ban on the usage of saliva as part of the Covid-19 precautions, the International Cricket Council had increased the number of DRS referrals from two to three per innings. The move garnered criticism during the England-West Indies Test series as players made unnecessary use of the referrals.
Hazlewood reckoned that reducing the number of reviews to 1 will force the teams to use them when they are absolutely sure that the on-field decision is wrong.
“I’d review them all day if I could but to have a better impact on the game, I think one might work better. If you just had one each per innings then people would use it totally differently. I think umpires can fall into a trap of umpiring a little bit differently depending on who’s got reviews left and how many they’ve got,” Josh Hazlewood was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“They’ve got to umpire based on nothing there as well, but if you just had one each you’d save it, you wouldn’t use it early unless you were positive and that’s what it’s there for that howler.” he added.
‘Let’s put a process in place’- Josh Hazlewood
Josh Hazlewood was a part of the last year’s Ashes in England where DRS and its usage came under heavy scrutiny. At Edgbaston, as many as 10 decisions were overturned on review, while in the second Test at Lord’s Australia had exhausted all their reviews and couldn’t avail the option for a leg-before appeal against Ben Stokes.
Hazlewood revealed how the Australian team devised a process in order to effectively using DRS post the Lord’s debacle.
”After that game, we sat down and said, ‘Let’s put a process in place’. At least we had something to fall back on if we don’t know. That was the bowler and the wicketkeeper and someone from the side on come in and we have a quick discussion why wasn’t given out,” Josh Hazlewood said.
“That’s why the square fielder comes in to say, ‘The height looked good from my angle’. The keeper (Paine) has a say, and he’s obviously the captain as well, so that helps, and we make a quick call then and at least we have a process now we go through. If we get them wrong, we get them wrong, but hopefully it goes in our favour. It’s not there for the 50-50 calls but when you’re in the heat of the battle, you just want to get that wicket and you think it’s out at the time.” Josh Hazlewood added.
As it turned out, Australia did not learn from their Lord’s experience and ended up burning all their reviews in the next Test at Leeds, only to rue it later on after Ben Stokes, who survived the closest of LBW calls thanks to Australia not having any reviews left, went on to script a memorable heist for England courtesy his brilliant 135.