DRS: An analytical review

DRS: An analytical review thumbnail
Of the 20 times Kohli's been given LBW, he has challenged the decision on as many as 17 times. ©BCCI Is Virat Kohli the most compulsive reviewer in cricket today? Do Stuart Broad and Ravindra Jadeja coax their skippers to review almost every other time? Which team uses their fielding reviews better than others? With…

Of the 20 times Kohli's been given LBW, he has challenged the decision on as many as 17 times.

Of the 20 times Kohli’s been given LBW, he has challenged the decision on as many as 17 times. ©BCCI

Is Virat Kohli the most compulsive reviewer in cricket today? Do Stuart Broad and Ravindra Jadeja coax their skippers to review almost every other time? Which team uses their fielding reviews better than others?

With no live cricket in the near future, it’s a good time to look at how teams and players have dealt with the now common place Decision Review System (DRS) in the past five years.

The scope of this article is all the decisions reviewed in international cricket since January 2015. There have been over 3300 reviews used across formats in this period. In September 2017, the ICC passed a new rule which introduced DRS to T20 Internationals as well as allowing teams to retain reviews for umpire’s call on LBW decisions. While DRS was almost universally applicable in the period since 2015, India started using it only from November 2016, with the exception of the ICC World Cups.

Who uses DRS better – the fielding side or the batsmen?

The batsmen win hands down as they overturn about 37% of the decisions, compared to only just above 22% for the fielding side. A big reason for this being the caught dismissals and leg before wicket decisions. The batsman invariably knows whether he has hit the ball or not. More than half (55%) of the caught behind referrals from batsmen have been successful, compared to just under 33% for LBW referrals. On the other hand, the success rate for fielding sides on caught and LBW reviews reads 35% and 17% respectively – both well below the mark set by batsman reviews.

Which team makes the best use of DRS in terms of decisions overturned?

Pakistan have the highest success rate for fielding reviews in Test cricket. They overturn 23.70% of the referrals, just ahead of South Africa’s 23.62%. New Zealand occupy the bottom place with just 17.14% success rate. In limited overs internationals (ODIs and T20Is combined), New Zealand fare much better and sit at the top of the table (33.96% success rate) while Pakistan now move to the bottom of the pile with just 14.93% success. In fact, all teams with the lone exception of Pakistan have fared better in LOIs compared to Test cricket when it comes to fielding reviews.

DRS Report Card (Tests)

Team Reviews Struck down Umpire’s Call Upheld Upheld% Retained %
Pak 135 97 6 32 23.70% 28.15%
SA 127 84 13 30 23.62% 33.86%
Eng 211 157 7 47 22.27% 25.59%
Aus 151 115 3 33 21.85% 23.84%
SL 173 121 18 34 19.65% 30.06%
WI 105 74 11 20 19.05% 29.52%
Ind 140 98 16 26 18.57% 30.00%
Ban 78 60 4 14 17.95% 23.08%
NZ 105 81 6 18 17.14% 22.86%

In terms of reviews retained, South Africa do well in Test cricket retaining 33.86% of reviews they have challenged. India and Sri Lanka also get plenty of umpire’s call on reviews, though the rate of overturned decisions stand comparatively low. Another interesting case is that of Australia – of their 42 fielding reviews for leg before decisions since September 2017 (when teams retained LBW reviews for umpire’s call), there have been just three umpire’s call verdicts.

DRS Report Card (ODIs + T20Is)

Team Reviews Struck down Umpire’s Call Upheld Upheld% Retained %
NZ 53 29 6 18 33.96% 45.28%
Aus 70 46 3 21 30.00% 34.29%
SL 89 58 7 24 26.97% 34.83%
WI 64 40 7 17 26.56% 37.50%
Eng 73 49 5 19 26.03% 32.88%
Ind 64 40 8 16 25.00% 37.50%
SA 73 47 8 18 24.66% 35.62%
Ban 45 29 6 10 22.22% 35.56%
Pak 67 49 8 10 14.93% 26.87%

Is Virat Kohli the most compulsive reviewer in international cricket?

When it comes to LBW dismissals, Kohli is certainly right up there. Of the 20 times he’s been adjudicated out leg before wicket by the on-field umpire, he has challenged the decision on as many as 17 times. He’s gotten the decision reversed only four times while five others have ended up as umpire’s call. Incidentally, against Bangladesh in Hyderabad in 2017, he didn’t challenge the LBW decision when he was stuck outside off stump.

In Tests, Kohli has overturned only two of his 15 DRS calls, giving him a success rate of 13.33% – by far the lowest among all batsman who made at least ten referrals in the longest format. Kohli is the leading India batsman among referrals with 15 calls, followed by Ajinkya Rahane’s 11 – none of the other Indian batsmen have made more than seven calls. On the other hand, Kohli has done much better in LOIs with three of his five calls overturned with one being an umpire’s call on hitting.

Another interesting aspect about Kohli the batsman and DRS is the fact that many opposition captains fall into the trap of burning their reviews for marginal calls against a batsman of the stature of Kohli. Of the 25 fielding calls against Kohli, only thrice has the on-field call been reversed with the other two ending as umpire’s call – teams lose out on their review 80% (four out of five reviews) of the time they challenge a decision against Kohli.

Batsmen with highest % of unsuccessful LBW reviews

Batsman Reviews Struck down Umpire’s Call Upheld Upheld %
Nathan Lyon 10 9 1 0 0.00%
Steve Smith 20 14 3 3 15.00%
Dimuth Karunaratne 16 10 3 3 18.75%
Jonny Bairstow 15 9 3 3 20.00%
Faf du Plessis 13 8 2 3 23.08%
Virat Kohli 17 8 5 4 23.53%
Tamim Iqbal 12 7 2 3 25.00%

Do captains use up batting reviews badly?

Among the captains with at least seven referrals across formats in the period, only Joe Root has had more success than reviews struck down. Eight of the 12 calls he’s made while batting have been reversed with four of them coming in the Edgbaston Test against Australia in 2019. Angelo Mathews and Kane Williamson are the opposite end with just one of their seven calls each successful, a success rate of mere 14.3%.

As non-captain, Root’s success rate dips significantly to 28.6% – only four decisions out of 14 calls getting reversed. Faf du Plessis is another player who has done well with his reviews when not captain with a 60% success rate that drops nearly one-third to 21.4% while in charge. Talking about the bowling captains, none of them have a success percentage in excess of 30 when it comes to referrals of their own bowling; Mashrafe Mortaza drew a blank with all six referrals of his appeals struck down. Jason Holder has been the most prominent bowling captain of the period and even he has had 16 of his 22 reviews off his own bowling struck down.

Joe Root has a high percentage of decision reversals as a batsman.

Joe Root has a high percentage of decision reversals as a batsman. ©Getty

Who is the best batsman when it comes to referrals?

It would be little surprise that Root leads the pack in terms of number of decisions reversed with 12 out of the 26 times he’s challenged the on-field call giving him a favourable outcome. However, it is the diminutive wicketkeeper batsman from New Zealand – BJ Watling – who’s the clear leader when it comes to success rate with seven of his ten calls as batsman overturned (70%). What makes Watling’s achievement a surprise is the fact that New Zealand are bottom placed in fielding reviews in Test cricket. Watling has kept the wickets in 41 of New Zealand’s 44 Tests in the period since 2015 and the wicketkeeper often has a significant say when it comes to fielding captains forcing the decision upstairs.

Watling is closely followed by Hashim Amla with 69.2% – nine reversed out of 13. Amla’s review retention rate of 76.9% is the best among all those batsmen who’ve reviewed at least ten times. Apart from Watling and Amla, Mushfiqur Rahim and Moeen Ali are the only two batsmen who overturn more than 50% of their calls. Nathan Lyon has had the most referrals (ten) with none of them getting reversed, though considering has batting position it would have hardly affected the team’s fortunes in a big way.

Shimron Hetmyer has made most referrals with none being struck down – eight (six upheld and two umpire’s call) while all four challenges made by Australia’s Matt Renshaw were overturned, giving him that elusive 100% success rate.

Batsman with highest success rate in reviews

Batsman Reviews Struck down Umpire’s Call Upheld Upheld %
BJ Watling 10 3 0 7 70.00%
Hashim Amla 13 3 1 9 69.23%
Mushfiqur Rahim 13 4 2 7 53.85%
Moeen Ali 17 6 2 9 52.94%
Rangana Herath 15 8 0 7 46.67%
Azhar Ali 15 5 3 7 46.67%
Henry Nicholls 15 5 3 7 46.67%
Joe Root 26 13 1 12 46.15%

Which batsman induces most errors in fielding team referrals?

Of all the batsman against whom at least 15 fielding reviews were taken, Jos Buttler lead the list with 83.3% of the referrals against him being unsuccessful, closely followed by David Warner (82.1%) and Kohli (80%). Decisions against Babar Azam have been reviewed 16 times by fielding captains, of which only one was changed (three umpire’s call) while none of the 12 fielding reviews against Dimuth Karunaratne have been reversed (one umpire’s call) and all ten referrals against Wriddhiman Saha have been struck down. Aaron Finch is part of an interesting proposition – 11 fielding referrals were made against him, none of which was reversed and of seven reviews by him as batsman, none have been overturned.

Opposition batsman burning most fielding reviews

Batsman Reviews Struck down Upheld Umpire’s Call Struck Down %
Jos Buttler 18 15 2 1 83.33%
David Warner 28 23 5 0 82.14%
Virat Kohli 25 20 3 2 80.00%
Shai Hope 19 15 3 1 78.95%
Ross Taylor 19 15 2 2 78.95%
Dinesh Chandimal 27 21 6 0 77.78%
Moeen Ali 21 16 5 0 76.19%
Babar Azam 16 12 1 3 75.00%

Do Stuart Broad and Ravindra Jadeja coax their captain to into referrals more often than others?

While Broad and Jadeja are often castigated for being compulsive reviewers among bowlers, both haven’t fared all that bad at all. Among the 39 bowlers of whom at least 15 reviews were taken off their bowling by the fielding side (across formats), not one has had a success ratio higher than 50%. Out of the 36 decisions referred off Broad’s bowling, ten have been successful and 25 unsuccessful. Jadeja has had 8 successful out of 34 with 25 unsuccessful. Both the players occupy top half positions in terms of percentage of decisions reversed.

The ones at the bottom of the pile are Shakib Al Hasan with just two successful reviews out of 21 and Adil Rashid with three out of 30. When it comes to LBW decisions, which have multiple influencing factors, compared to a caught dismissal, Tim Southee is the worst with just one of his 19 leg before reviews successful (5.3%) closely followed by Shakib (1/16, 6.3%) and Mohammed Shami (1/15, 6.7%). Rangana Herath and Moeen Ali had 31 of their LBW reviews struck down off 37 and 38 calls respectively.

Bowlers with lowest success rate in DRS

Bowler Reviews Struck down Umpire’s Call Upheld Upheld %
Tim Southee 19 15 3 1 5.26%
Shakib Al Hasan 16 13 2 1 6.25%
Mohammed Shami 15 13 1 1 6.67%
Trent Boult 24 18 4 2 8.33%
Vernon Philander 22 17 3 2 9.09%
Yasir Shah 21 17 2 2 9.52%
 Tim Southee has the lowest success rate with reviews of LBW decisions.

Tim Southee has the lowest success rate with reviews of LBW decisions. ©Getty

How do the umpires fare?

By no means are DRS numbers the final word on an umpire’s efficiency as they consider only the on-field calls referred, however the stats provide a useful insight into their decision making. In the period since Jan 2015, 14 umpires have stood in 10 or more Tests.

Michael Gough, despite standing in the fewest Tests among the 14 (14 Tests), is the best by a distance with 75% of referrals questioning his decisions turning out unsuccessful. Of the 11 decisions reversed off Gough, seven came in his very first Test that had DRS protocols – Pakistan vs West Indies in Ahu Dhabi in 2016. Of the 41 reviews against him since 2018, only two have been reversed. Even taking LOIs into account, Gough leads the list with 71.3% of referrals against him getting struck down.

Joel Wilson, the other new entrant, parks himself at the bottom end in most of the parameters. There have been 6.7 calls per Test challenged of Wilson’s umpiring and he’s closely followed by the man whom he replaced in the Elite panel – Sundaram Ravi with 6.3 challenges per Test. Only about 52% of calls against Wilson turn out unsuccessful which equates to nearly one in two calls – the lowest rate among all umpires in the Elite panel.

Kiwi umpire Chris Gaffaney has seen the most number of calls reversed in Test cricket (52) as well as across all formats (63). His rate of reversal in Tests (32.1%) and all cricket (32.5%) is second only to Wilson on both counts.

South African Marias Erasmus is another umpire who’s done well in this period – 65.6% of reviews of his calls across formats have been struck down (nearly two-thirds) and less than one in four have been overturned, a number only bettered by Gough.

How the Elite panel of umpire’s fare in Test cricket

Umpire Tests Reviews/Test Upheld % Struck down %
Michael Gough 14 4.29 18.33% 75.00%
Sundaram Ravi 29 6.31 27.32% 67.76%
Marais Erasmus 33 4.91 22.84% 67.28%
Ian Gould 31 3.61 25.00% 66.07%
Aleem Dar 39 4.69 26.78% 65.57%
Paul Reiffel 34 5.21 29.38% 64.97%
Bruce Oxenford 38 5.00 26.84% 64.74%
Richard Illingworth 33 4.67 26.62% 64.29%
Nigel Llong 36 4.19 29.14% 63.58%
Rod Tucker 36 3.28 25.42% 62.71%
Kumar Dharmasena 37 4.86 26.67% 62.22%
Richard Kettleborough 39 4.15 25.93% 59.88%
Chris Gaffaney 31 5.23 32.10% 54.94%
Joel Wilson 19 6.68 37.01% 51.97%

This article considers only the DRS used by top nine teams and excludes those by Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Ireland and other Associates.

© Cricbuzz

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