The Big Bash League’s DRS debate has reignited following another umpiring “howler” during the Sydney Thunder’s clash with the Perth Scorchers at Manuka Oval on Tuesday evening.
For several years, players and spectators have pleaded for DRS technology to be utilised in the T20 tournament, allowing for on-field umpiring errors to be rectified.
Cricket Australia has resisted introducing the DRS because of the hefty financial repercussions, but those pleas grew in volume after Scorchers bowler Andrew Tye was robbed of a certain wicket in the nation’s capital on Tuesday.
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In the sixth over of the Thunder’s run chase, Thunder opening batsman Usman Khawaja attempted to swat a full delivery from Tye back down the ground, but only managed to edge the ball through to the wicketkeeper.
The Scorchers celebrated enthusiastically, but umpire Simon Lightbody was seemingly the only person on the field who did not hear the snick, and opted not to award the dismissal.
Tye immediately confronted Lightbody, who explained: “I thought the bat hit the ground mate.”
Tye fumed: “How did the bat hit the ground? It was that far off the ground!”
Lightbody replied: “That’s what I thought.”
The Fox Cricket commentary could barely comprehend what they had witnessed, because the edge was easily audible on the stump mics and Khawaja’s bat was nowhere near the ground.
Former Australian batsman Mark Waugh muttered: “Oh my goodness … wow.
“That is regulation … he’s just had a shocker there, unfortunately. That’s just a huge nick. That’s a big nick.”
New Zealand international Colin Munro claimed he heard the edge from the boundary rope.
“I’ve got to really have my ears open at home to hear the Mrs talk to me, but I actually heard that from the boundary at backward square-leg,” Munro cheekily said on Fox Cricket.
The decision sparked fierce backlash on social media, fuelling the argument for the DRS to be brought into the Big Bash.
Cricket icon Adam Gilchrist tweeted: “They only went up because he hit the cover off it.”
Former Australian captain Lisa Sthalekar posted: “Oh dear … DRS please.”
The Daily Telegraph journalist Matt Jones tweeted: “As terrible as that umpiring decision was, I can live with it. I prefer the old days rather than all these reviews.”
Thankfully for the Scorchers, Khawaja was dismissed soon after for 21, spooning a simple catch off Aaron Hardie’s bowling to Jason Behrendorff.
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Earlier this month, Thunder captain Callum Ferguson argued the BBL would fall behind rival T20 tournaments if the DRS was not introduced.
“We certainly like to think we’re in the top couple of T20 tournaments around the world,” Ferguson said on ABC Grandstand. “But on the basis of not having little things like DRS in the place, I feel like we’re falling behind certainly the IPL.
“We’d like to think we’re on level pegging, but we’re not.
“If we’re trying to be as good as we possibly can be, we’ve got to have little things like DRS in.
“It has to come in; it’s just a matter of when.
“I don’t care if they bring it in halfway through the tournament. Let’s just get it in.”
The Thunder eventually chased the 153-run target with three balls to spare. Ferguson plundered an unbeaten half-century, while debutant Oliver Davies contributed a classy 36 off 22 balls.
Tye finished with figures of 0/25 off 3.3 overs.