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No mandatory DRS, bowlers get some respite

June 27, 2012


The ICC board also approved minor changes to one-day internationals, including allowing two bouncers per over and changes to the timing of power plays. -File photo

KUALA LUMPUR: World cricket chiefs Wednesday rejected a new move to make decision review technology compulsory and put off talks on wide-ranging reforms following opposition from powerful India.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) board also called for a global, lifetime corruption ban for Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria for his role in an English spot-fixing scandal, during annual talks in Kuala Lumpur.

It gave no reason for the latest decision to reject compulsory use of the Decision Review System (DRS), which uses ball-tracking and thermal-imaging technology to check whether batsmen should be given out.

But India, which provides the bulk of the sport's global revenues, had come out strongly against the recommendation which was put forward by the ICC's own chief executives earlier this week.

“The ICC board agreed to continue with the present arrangement where the two competing nations in a bilateral series decide on the use of DRS,” a statement said.

India, who wield unmatched influence in the ICC thanks to profits from their huge huge fan-base, torpedoed a similar bid for mandatory DRS at last year's annual talks, where it was controversially made optional.

India, including star batsman Sachin Tendulkar, have been deeply suspicious of DRS since a number of reviews went against them in their 2008 Test series with Sri Lanka. Other countries have voiced strong support for the technology.

India is also a renowned opponent of reforms to the ICC set out in a self-commissioned review, which slammed the body as a “members' club” with too much power held by key countries.

On Wednesday, the board said “informal discussions” on the changes would take place at the next board meeting in Sri Lanka in October.

The ICC board also approved minor changes to one-day internationals, including allowing two bouncers per over and changes to the timing of power plays.

And it urged world bodies to uphold the lifetime ban handed out by English authorities to Kaneria, 31, who was accused of playing a key role in the Mervyn Westfield spot-fixing affair.

They “should recognise and respect the sanctions (against both players)... including by enforcing and giving effect to them within their own jurisdictions to the fullest extent permitted by law”, the statement said.

England's Mervyn Westfield was jailed in February after admitting he accepted #6,000 ($9,350) to under-perform during a Pro40 match between Essex and Durham in 2009.

The now 24-year-old Westfield named Kaneria -- arrested with him in 2010 but released without charge -- as the link between bookmakers and players.

Westfield was given a five-year ban for bringing cricket into disrepute, a charge the seamer accepted. Kaneria has vowed to appeal his ban from English cricket.

He has not played for Pakistan since appearing against England in August 2010 -- the same tour when an infamous fixing episode led to then-captain Salman Butt, and bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, being jailed for corruption.

Separately, both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka agreed to draw up anti-corruption codes by August, the ICC said.

The world cricket body's talks wrap up on Thursday with a meeting of the ICC council.