With the much awaited series between India and Australia set to commence, the Decision Review System (DRS) will be a key player. Decisions by on-field umpires have, in the past, led to ugly spats between two teams. Remember Steve Bucknor in 2007-08 series Border-Gavaskar trophy in Australia? The introduction of DRS and Indian cricket embracing it, albeit delayed, has been a welcome move — much appreciated by players, administrators and fans alike. David Richardson, International Cricket Council's (ICC) Chief Executive Officer, on Thursday, gave a massive thumbs up to DRS and stated that it had boosted the percentage of correct decisions in matches.
Talking about ICC's endeavour to deliver competitive, meaningful and entertaining cricket to the fans, Richardson, in a statement said, "In order to achieve this we need to maintain a world-class environment for international cricket and a significant part of that is a high standard while officiating. I am very proud of the Emirates Elite Panel of match officials. Correct decision making, this year, rose to 98.5 percent after DRS."
He further added that the ICC was striving for a more consistent approach towards this technology and hinted that ICC was close to finalising an international cricket structure that would allow uniform use of DRS in all international matches. Currently, DRS is not consistently used either by ICC or member countries in all formats or fixtures.
Even as the match fixing scourge resurfaced in the ongoing Pakistan Super League and known cricketers have yet again come under scrutiny of corruption charges, Richardson underlined the need to protect the integrity of the sport and increase focus on bringing the corrupt to book. “We will continue to build stronger partnerships, not only with member boards, but also external law enforcement authorities around the world. This will enable us to continue to investigate and disrupt corruption threats and prosecute offences."
Pakistan opener Naser Jamshed, along with another person, was arrested two days ago on charges of corruption in Britain and then let out on bail. Pakistan Cricket Board has launched its own internal investigation in the latest match fixing scandal. The National Crime Agency (NCA) of Britain released a statement on Tuesday saying that it was "working closely" with PCB and ICC anti-corruption units and that both men have recieved bail.
In June 2015 ICC annual conference in Barbados, ICC had adopted and agreed to implement all recommendations put forth by this integrity group. One of the chief recommendations were that ICC's ACU will be the focal point for all anti-corruption activities in international and domestic cricket. It will have enhanced intelligence capabilities. The ICC Board also asked for greater coordination between the ACU and national anti-corruption bodies.
In what will be music to the ears of Diana Edulji, member of the committee of administrators for BCCI set up by Supreme Court, ICC is looking to focus more keenly on women's cricket. She has been protesting over the less importance attributed to women's cricket in India post the merger of the Women's Cricket Association of India with BCCI. "Women’s cricket is a big focus for us. We are developing a new women specific strategy to build on the success of our previous cycle and to accelerate growth going forward. That is not to say the women’s game is not part of our wider strategy — it is,”said the ICC CEO.
He added that cricket's inclusion in Olympics and globalisation of the game were other areas that the international body targeted. While Olympic inclusion remains a non-starter with India not interested, ICC is keen to tap two big potential markets — United States and China — for developing the game. "We have recently appointed a new head of global development, Will Glenwright, and he is in the process of developing a global growth strategy for the game. It will be launched in the second half of the year.”
India had shown the way to rest of the cricketing world, by successfully organising three Twenty20 international matches against West Indies in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.