Shastri, Hussain in war of words over DRS

July 31st, 2011 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan Singh Nottingham, July 31 (IANS) The Decision Review System (DRS) has generated so much heat in the ongoing India-England series that former cricketers Ravi Shastri and Nasser Hussain were engaged in a war-of-words on air over its use Sunday.

The DRS has come into sharp focus in this series after India refused to accept the use of lbw reviews. The Indian cricket board is not comfortable with the Hawk-Eye technology used for lbw reviews as feels it is far from foolproof. India were at the receiving end of the technology in a series in Sri Lanka.

The absence of lbw reviews proved costly for India Saturday when replays showed that Harbhajan Singh, who was the second victim of Stuart Broad’s hat-trick, had a massive inside edge before hitting the pad. Umpire Marais Erasmus clearly failed to spot the edge.

Hussain was critical of the Indian cricket board for not making the full use of the available technology, and called it a “disgrace” that lbws are being kept out of reviews. The former England captain’s reaction came after the Harbhajan incident.

Shastri, a fellow commentator, while replying to a question on Star Cricket, came down hard on Hussain.

“They (England) are jealous about the way the IPL is going, jealous that India is No.1 in world cricket, jealous about the fact that India are world champions. They are jealous because of the too much money being made by BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India). Bottom-line is that they have never been No. 1 in the world in Test cricket.”

However, that was not all. On the third day of the Test match Sunday, both Shastri and Hussain were on air in the morning session, commentating on the day’s play when Hussain touched upon the topic.

“Ravi, I just want to pick you up on something you said on a show yesterday, questioning my right to call non-use of DRS a disgrace. Well, I have earned that right after 96 Test matches to voice my opinion on the game of cricket. It is my job and my right to voice my opinion,” the former England captain said.

“You also said that there was a jealousy factor about India going to be No.1. No one is more proud than me about India at top,” Hussain added.

“I have nothing against India. All I said is that had there been reviews for lbws, Harbhajan would not have been out. It was a howler. And if the technology is there to assist, why not take advantage of it. Who knows Harbhajan would have done what Stuart Broad did with the bat for England.”

Shastri strongly defended his point.

“You said, disgrace India not taking it. India has got every right to decide whether to take it or not. India decided not to take it because they don’t think it is foolproof. Technology is improving all the time and after seeing the way Hot-Spot has behaved, Hot-Spot has become cold spot. I think India has got every right to believe and do what they did.”

“England were the last to adopt the DRS and now they vouch by it. India tested it three years back and they had a problem with it in the series against Sri Lanka. Yes, Harbhajan’s dismissal was a howler and it should not have happened,” Shastri added.

It is not only Harbhajan’s dismissal that has brought the focus back on DRS.

England were left unconvinced by the Hot-Spot technology after it failed to spot a faint edge off V.V.S. Laxman. It led former England captain Michael Vaughan to speculate that the veteran Indian batsman might have used Vaseline on his bat.

The Hot-Spot camera didn’t show any white mark on the bat and though the third umpire, Billy Bowden, said he could hear a sound but had no evidence to ask for a change in the decision, it led to a small confrontation between Laxman and Kevin Pietersen. The Hyderabadi, however, soon shrugged off the incident and went on to make 54.

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