THE benefit of the doubt given to the batsman in the cricket’s controversial Decision Review System (DRS) could soon be reduced by half.
At present, at least half the ball has to be hitting between the inside half of leg and off stump for an LBW decision to be overturned in favour of the bowler by the third umpire.
However former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene, who now sits on the ICC’s cricket committee, has revealed a change to the rule has been discussed and will likely be recommended to the governing body.
“We’ve decided that the 50 per cent rule should be reduced to 25 per cent,” he told Cricinfo on Thursday.
“Even the MCC rule book says if it hits any part of the wicket it should be given out, so you are going away from all that with the 50 per cent rule.”
Under the new rules, only 25 per cent of the ball would need to be hitting the stump for a decision to be overturned.
The issue was brought to the fore again on the opening day of the third Test between England and Sri Lanka at Lord’s, when Jonny Bairstow survived an extremely tight review when on 57.
Almost half the ball was hitting the stumps but as Bairstow had originally been given not out, it wasn’t overturned.
It left Jaywardene’s good friend and fellow Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara infuriated.
Bairstow eventually went to stumps unbeaten on 107, while the Sri Lankans were left even more frustrated by the fact the tough decision – which came back as “umpire’s call” – robbed them of one of their two reviews.
However Jayawardene is confident a change in the rules would alleviate fielding captains of this issue.
“If you take 25 per cent out, the stat says that 75 to 80 per cent of the decisions that were called umpire calls in the past will be taken out and be given out,” he said.
“You think benefit of the doubt when sometimes umpires are considering those margins, that 25 per cent is okay, but I think 50 per cent is too much.”