WPL and IPL: Players can review wides and no-balls using DRS

Saika Ishaque celebrates with Nat Sciver-Brunt BCCI

For the first time in a T20 league, players will be allowed to review wide and no-ball decisions using DRS. The Women's Premier League (WPL) is the first competition to introduce this modification to the DRS, and it will be implemented in the upcoming IPL too.

"A player may request a review of any decision taken by the on-field umpires concerning whether or not a batter is dismissed, with the exception of 'Timed Out' (Player Review)," the WPL playing conditions said. "A player may also be allowed to review any decision taken by on-field umpires concerning wide or no-ball."

Until now, players could only review on-field decisions for a dismissal but that will not be the case in the WPL and IPL going forward. These reviews - for wides and no-balls - will be a part of the two unsuccessful reviews that each team is entitled to per innings. Leg-bye decisions, however, cannot be reviewed using DRS.

The first two games of the WPL have already had players use this new feature. In the tournament opener between Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Giants, a delivery from Mumbai spinner Saika Ishaque was called a wide down the leg side by the on-field umpire. Mumbai reviewed the decision using DRS and it was overturned because replays showed the ball had brushed the batter Monica Patel's glove.

"Smriti went to the captain's meeting and told us that was the case," Mumbai's Heather Knight said. "I think it's quite an interesting dynamic, often in T20s you don't get a huge amount of chances to review so trying to work out the tactics of when to use it, the back end of the innings or when you are certain that it'll be overturned. I do think it's a good thing, in close games those sort of calls can have an effect on the match."

On Sunday afternoon , Delhi Capitals batter Jemimah Rodrigues also used such a review. Soon after she pulled a full toss from Megan Schutt for four and saw the on-field umpires had not signalled a no-ball for height, Rodrigues called for a review using DRS . This decision was, however, not overturned as replays and ball-tracking showed the ball was dipping on the batter and Rodrigues had also crouched a fair bit, almost down on her back knee.

Simon Taufel, the former ICC Elite Panel umpire, was not in favour of wides and height no-balls being reviewed in T20 cricket, when he spoke to ESPNcricinfo last year.

"I'm really conscious around trying to turn the art of officiating into a science and seek perfection, whatever that looks like, with decision making," Taufel had said. "So with wides for example, and here we're going to, potentially according to you, or according to the player or the debate, take a wide call and throw that back to the third umpire for them to judge on something that might be marginal and is still a judgement call."

"Are you going to be able to overrule as a third umpire what a leg-side wide might look like? That's a really interesting proposition to throw to a third umpire and say: I definitely think you got that wide wrong. If you look at a ball that cuts across a right-hander from a left-armer (fast bowler), that cuts the wide guideline - that's a pretty big call to overrule. Can you clearly define for me what conclusive evidence is to overturn a wide both leg-side, off side and height?

"And where do you then draw the line as to what a wide is? Because with wides, for example, you still got this opinion around: either could the batsman have played a shot? Has the batsman brought the ball sufficiently within reach? And you are putting them (under) a lot more stress and pressure around those definitions. Of course, if the ball has flicked the bat or the pad, and an umpire's called a wide - yeah, that's quite clearly an error. (But) I worry about where this is going to end up. Is everything that an umpire does likely to fall under the Decision Review System?"

Contentious no-ball decisions for height have led to controversies in the IPL in the recent past. Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni had once walked onto the field from the dugout in a game against Rajasthan Royals in 2019, after Ben Stokes bowled a high full toss. Umpire Ulhas Gandhe first signalled a no-ball for height, only for his square-leg colleague Bruce Oxenford to overrule him. That led to heated arguments on the field, with batters Ravindra Jadeja and Mitchell Santner getting involved before Dhoni also marched onto the field to discuss the matter with the umpires.

There was a similar incident in another last-over finish involving Royals last year. Rovman Powell pulled a full toss from Obed McCoy for six but on seeing that the umpires did not signal for a waist-high no-ball, the batters got involved in a discussion with the on-field umpires before Capitals captain Rishabh Pant asked assistant coach Pravin Amre to go in and speak to the umpires.