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Ranji Trophy 2023-24: Coach Chandrakant Pandit criticises selective use of DRS after MP’s semifinal defeat to Vidarbha

Madhya Pradesh coach Chandrakant Pandit on Wednesday questioned the absence of the Decision Review System (DRS) in his side’s first Ranji Trophy semifinal against Vidarbha in Nagpur.

“I’m sure the BCCI should look into this matter. It’s only the BCCI that can decide. It is not the association that can. I think fair opportunities should be given, and if you’re playing in a big tournament it is unfair that one team has DRS and the other does not,” said Pandit after Madhya Pradesh lost the game by 62 runs.

The second semifinal between Mumbai and Tamil Nadu, held at the Sharad Pawar Cricket Academy ground in Mumbai, was televised and had the provision to review on-field decisions.

However, Madhya Pradesh’s semifinal against Vidarbha, played at the VCA Stadium (Civil Lines), was only available for streaming.

For the current Ranji Trophy season, only televised games had the DRS. Earlier in the season, Madhya Pradesh enjoyed the review system during its quarterfinal against Andhra. The match played at the Holkar Stadium in Indore was the only last-eight match with the DRS in play.

But the 2022 champion could have benefitted from the technology in the semifinals. The most glaring error came in Madhya Pradesh’s first innings on Day 1 when Yash Dubey was adjudged caught-behind although replays showed a clear gap between the bat and ball.

“There were a couple of decisions that went against us. In the first innings, Yash Dubey was given out. Then the left-hander [Sagar Solanki] in the second innings. So, in big games, if the decisions go against you; I mean I do understand it is human error, but certain things cannot be accepted in the big games,” said Pandit.

Solanki was given leg-before-wicket off Akshay Wakhare on Day 4, but upon further checks, the ball seemed to be sliding down the leg stump.

Even players from Vidarbha felt hard done by a few close calls during the match.

“We kept them quiet for 20 overs, and one wicket more will put the pressure back on them. They got a couple of close calls, but wickets in the morning will put us back,” Atharva Taide had said after play on Day 1.

The lack of DRS and opting for ‘Limited DRS’ has been a point of contention in the previous seasons. Last year, it was added only for the Ranji Trophy final between Saurashtra and Bengal after the teams complained about erroneous decisions in the previous rounds.

The upcoming final between Mumbai and Vidarbha, a televised game, will also have the DRS.

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