Alec Swann - The parts don’t work so the whole of DRS is broken

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

I’ve only ever umpired one game of cricket.

It was over 20 years ago and it was between Horton House Under-13s and their Northampton Saints counterparts.

The only reason I was doing it was because the usual bloke was ill, my brother was playing for Horton and I didn’t fancy doing my English homework.

So I was there, my Dad was off chatting to some long-lost acquaintance and before I knew it I was giving a young lad his guard and telling him it was right-arm over.

I didn’t have much to do, one leg before wicket decision as I remember, a couple of stumpings and one no-ball call but it was enjoyable enough.

Not so much so that I intend to ever take it up as a pastime and for that reason I have a certain level of admiration for those who do.

And while it can be tricky enough at a local league level, it looks nigh on impossible in the international game.

If the ongoing Ashes series is anything to go by, it looks like being a task for somebody else.

In very simple terms, technology is ruining their job.

The Decision Review System is intended to overturn those decisions that are blatantly wrong so in principle it is actually a good idea.

In practice it is anything but.

The standard of officiating in the Ashes has been average at best but it has been seriously hindered by their so-called assistance.

When not even the third umpire, with the benefit of multiple angles and replays, can get it right you’ve got a serious problem.

And the reason for this is that the technology that so much faith is being placed in doesn’t work properly.

You can blame the people using it, you can point fingers at the players, you can even blame the alignment of the planets if you want, but the answer will be the same. DRS doesn’t work.

We’ve got hotspot that doesn’t pick up every edge, a snicko that suggests a nick when the pictures clearly show otherwise and a system where you can be not out or out to exactly the same delivery regardless of whether the ball is hitting the stumps or not.

The result is confusion, incompetence and a focus on off-field goings-on when everybody should be talking about the cricket.

If all the various components worked as they should then DRS would be a good system.

As it is they don’t, so it isn’t.

And the sooner those with the power realise this, and sort the entire mess out, the better.