Sports

Former Australia all-rounder Simon O’Donnell says BBL doesn’t have DRS because of one reason

The Big Bash League would have the luxury of a decision review system if it didn’t cost so much money, says former Australia all-rounder Simon O’Donnell.

The absence of the DRS in Cricket Australia’s top T20 competition again generated raging debate when Sydney Thunder batsman Usman Khawaja was last night given not out despite having clearly hit the ball.

It appeared everyone watching from Manuka Oval and a TV set thought Perth Scorchers quick Andrew Tye had found the edge of Khawaja’s bat except the most important onlooker, umpire Simon Lightbody.

The ball nicked Khawaja’s edge, it thudded into the gloves of Scorchers wicketkeeper Josh Inglis and Lightbody shook his head at Tye’s appeal because he deemed the bat had hit the ground.

If the DRS existed in not only international cricket but the BBL, the third umpire would have undoubtedly overturned the on-field decision.

O’Donnell says Cricket Australia hasn’t introduced the DRS to the BBL because of the financial burden.

“The only reason DRS isn’t in T20 cricket is they can’t afford. The broadcasters can’t afford it,” O’Donnell said on SEN.

“You can say it’s mandatory to have that for each game, but your broadcast rights then go down. It’s a very simple mathematical equation.

“The only reason DRS isn’t there is because the physical content and the technical content cannot be thrown around the country like it needs to be, and it’s unaffordable.

“So there you go. Full stop. I’d love to have it, but they won’t have it.”

Broadcasters Fox and Seven cop the entirety of the DRS bill for Test and limited-overs cricket every Australian summer.

It’s estimated introducing the system to the BBL and WBBL would cost $7-10 million per season.

The DRS debate took just three BBL10 games to ignite this summer, when Melbourne Stars opener Andre Fletcher was given out LBW before replays showed the ball had been tracking down the leg side.

That dubious call was followed by Stars skipper Glenn Maxwell being given out LBW, despite replays showing the ball had pitched outside the line of leg stump.

And the drama continued in the Thunder’s innings when Khawaja was given out caught behind after trying to play a ramp shot, despite technology showing the ball had actually brushed his pad.

Maxwell took to Twitter after last night’s howler to suggest Cricket Australia should use the technology it already had to overturn shocking on-field decisions.

The superstar all-rounder said all that was needed to land on the right decision was “a stump mic”, “different camera angles” and “a basic understanding of cricket”, as opposed to “the fancy DRS bells and whistles”.

The DRS debate is among a host of issues the BBL has found itself shrouded in.

The fact the competition has grown from 31 games in its inaugural 2011-12 season to 61 matches for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 tournaments has led many to complain about saturation diminishing the product.

And the introduction of three new rules for BBL10 – the Bash Boost, Power Surge and X-Factor – has drawn the ire of thousands of experts and fans, including former BBL cult figure Brad Hogg.

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