Why did the BCCI permits Teams to utilise DRS for wides and no-balls in WPL?

Recall the high full toss Virat Kohli received during the 2022 T20 World Cup match against Pakistan, which the umpire ruled was a no-ball? Or the high full toss that Rovman Powell hit for six on during the tense chase by Delhi Capitals against Rajasthan Royals but which wasn’t ruled a no-ball and caused Rishabh Pant to lose his cool? Was the wide from fast bowler Prasidh Krishna that his Royals skipper Sanju Samson reviewed for caught behind because he felt it should have been a legal delivery?

Each of those recent instances raised questions about whether the delivery was legal or not, and the offended side was unable to appeal the verdict of the on-field umpire. Because of this, the BCCI decided to enable teams to use the DRS for the first time in T20 tournaments to refer wides and no-balls for height to the TV umpire beginning with the current WPL and the 2023 IPL. Still, each inning is limited to two unsuccessful reviews for each club.

What then led the BCCI to broaden the DRS’s application? According to information obtained by ESPNcricinfo, the board sought to give clubs the opportunity to correct an umpiring error that might be costly in tightly contested competitions like the IPL. The BCCI consulted its match officials following the 2017 IPL under intense pressure from players and analysts to include wides and no-balls for height under the coverage of DRS.

In ODIs and T20Is, a side that receives a no-ball must also bowl the subsequent delivery as a free-hit, during which a batter can only be dismissed through a run-out. The BCCI’s experts concurred that it was wise to lessen the possibility that an umpiring blunder would affect the outcome of a match.

To examine the on-field umpire’s judgements on wides and high no-balls, the BCCI did not wish to grant teams extra reviews per inning as certain experts, like Daniel Vettori, had proposed during the last IPL. The board is aware that the additional reviews may lengthen the game but does not want to eliminate the human aspect in umpiring.

Prior to the IPL that begins on March 31, the improved DRS is already in operation during the WPL as a trial phase. The BCCI is conscious that it is the responsibility of the TV umpire to make the correct decision, and the organisation is prepared to give match officials—the majority of whom are Indian—some margin for error and acknowledge that mistakes will be made.

Players have already reviewed a couple wides and no-balls, but the most contentious case occurred during the UP Warriorz’s pursuit against Gujarat Giants. Grace Harris successfully utilised the DRS to reverse the umpire’s determination that Annabel Sutherland’s wide outside off stump, just above the guide line, with 6 needed off 3 balls. Harris had advanced towards the off side in her crease while attempting to make contact with the ball, therefore the decision was disputed; nevertheless, the TV umpire overturned the first ruling that the delivery was legal.

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