What is the exact protocol to be followed for a DRS review? How much time do players have to ask for it? Who can ask for it? These and many more questions started doing the rounds during the ongoing 3rd ODI between hosts Australia and South Africa being played in Hobart. It all happened during the visitors' innings when left-hander David Miller was given out lbw off the bowling of Glenn Maxwell.
While the Australian players started celebrating the much-needed breakthrough, Miller got involved in a lengthy discussion with the non-striker and his captain Faf du Plessis about whether he should go for the review. Since the fall of Miller would have exposed an inexperienced Protea lower order very early, after a long debate, Du Plessis made the 'T-sign' gesture towards umpire Aleem Dar signalling his intent for a review. However, the umpire hesitated before signalling the DRS till the left-hander himself made a meek gesture of calling for the review.
Hawk-eye showed that the ball was projected to go over the stumps and the TV umpire subsequently asked the on-field official to overturn his decision thus giving Miller a fresh lease of life.
The ICC rules on DRS clearly state: "Only the batsman involved in a dismissal may request a Player Review of an Out decision and only the captain (or acting captain) of the fielding team may request a Player Review of a Not-out decision." Since his captain and not Miller himself had asked the umpire for the review, questions were raised about whether the aforesaid rule was followed to the book.
The rules also clearly define the manner in which any DRS call must be raised as thus: "review request shall be made by the player making a 'T' sign with both forearms at head height." Even though this rule is not always strictly enforced, it was clear from Miller's gesture that it didn't meet the specifications mentioned.
Not just this but there was also confusion about whether the call for review was made within the ICC stipulated window of 15 seconds. According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, the host broadcaster Fox Sports had counted the time elapsed between the 'out' decision and the DRS call to be 18 seconds on its stopwatch. Again, it should be mentioned that the time-rule is also not always strictly followed around the world.
If all the above rules were followed by the book, then it seems certain that Miller would have had to walk back to the pavilion leaving his team in dire straits. Instead, he ended up with 139 off 108 balls while leading his team to a huge total of 320 for 5 in the series finale forcing many to ask the question - what if Miller was not allowed to review?