Solution to Big Bash howlers on the way
Cricket Australia has given its strongest indication yet that a form of DRS will be added to the Big Bash League - but not in time for the finals series, which begins next Friday.
The BBL quietly navigated an alarming umpire shortage this season with multiple games being staged without a fourth umpire as several became stranded in Sydney due to the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 at the Northern Beaches.
The ICC then called up BBL umpire Paul "Blocker" Wilson and Claire Polosak to officiate in the Border-Gavaskar series as the limited panel was used on repeat.
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Umpire Sam Nogajski adjudicated on three consecutive nights in December, umpiring three games at three different venues across two states.
Sharp decision-maker Gerard Abood - who has umpired the past two BBL grand finals - was unavailable until January, while Shawn Craig was also unsighted for a month.
Unforgivable decisions that went against Usman Khawaja, Andre Fletcher, Tom Cooper, Mohammed Nabi, Jake Weatherald and bowler Andrew Tye in the first fortnight thrust the standard of BBL umpiring into the spotlight.
Some players believe they have been subjected to similar frustrating mistakes in Sheffield Shield matches for several years and argue several of the dud LBW decisions show a lack of understanding for conditions.
Scott Boland - who was bowling around the wicket to a right-hander - picked up the wicket of Nabi despite the ball clearly pitching outside off stump in an early shocker that slipped under the radar.
But BBL boss Alistair Dobson said there had been "accurate and phenomenal decision-making" in recent weeks and praised umpires for signing up for hub life away from their families.
Dobson conceded the BBL needed to eradicate "glaring errors" as he hinted at a watered-down version of DRS coming in next season.
A Test-standard DRS model would cost several million dollars although Channel 7 and Fox Cricket have told CA that technology already available for its broadcast could be used immediately.
But CA does not want to alter the playing conditions mid-season and will instead investigate an affordable solution for 2021-2022.
"It's not only a financial consideration," Dobson said.
"It's also about what suits the BBL and the need for highly-technical decision review mechanisms in international cricket is different to the BBL.
"For us it's about keeping the game moving, minimal disruption and maximum fun.
"Anything we would consider bringing in would be slightly different to the full DRS you see in the context of making sure it really suits the BBL.
"That would also influence how much it would cost and which technology and providers we would need to work with and what role the broadcasters would play.
"Broadly, we'll certainly have a look at some form of decision review."
Fans at home are treated to ball tracking technology and multiple camera angles although it is for entertainment purposes only.
"In terms of existing technology, there's certainly a level of camera angles and forms of ball tracking that are available for our broadcasters, and we talk to them regularly around whether that's sufficient and how we might be able to tweak those," Dobson said.
"For the BBL we're more looking to remove those occasional glaring errors.
"The movement of umpires and match officials around the country in a normal season is just taken for granted when that's not possible and you're limited in the panel you've got available and umpires are having to do more games under more pressure.
"Being limited to Australian umpires for the international summer certainly further impacted the panel of match officials.
"All things being considered I think they've done an unbelievable job."
Originally published as Solution to Big Bash howlers on the way