Senaka Weeraratna is the Dharmaraja of cricket and the father of DRS
Posted on June 6th, 2020

by Varsha Thakur   (ETV Colombo) Courtesy ETV

Cricket is also known as the Gentleman’s Game. This British game is very popular not only in Britain but also in India and all over South Asia. Umpiring decisions in Cricket have been controversial particularly blatant errors due to their impact in producing a distorted result of the game. There have been a number of efforts to improve the Umpire decision making process from time to time.

Finally, the solution to this problem was found by the ICC via the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS or DRS), which is essentially based on the ‘Player Referral’ concept. It is a technology-based system used in cricket to assist match officials in their decision making. The UDRS or DRS was introduced for the purpose of reviewing controversial decisions made by on-field umpires as to whether the batsman was correctly dismissed or not.

Sri Lanka’s Senaka Weeraratna is known as the father of UDRS or DRS. Mr. Weeraratna is a lawyer by profession who has worked in Australia and Sri Lanka. Senaka Weeraratna was the first to suggest a player referral system for cricket in a letter published in the ‘Australian’ national newspaper on 25 March 1997. This facility allows players to request the Third umpire to review the decision of the on-field umpire by making use of slow play back Video footage at his disposal before announcing his decision.

The player referral system was first tested in the India vs Sri Lanka Test match in 2008, and was officially launched by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on 24 November 2009 in the Test match between New Zealand and Pakistan at University Oval in Dunedin. It was first used in a One Day International (ODI) match during the January 2011 tour of Australia in England.

UDRS or DRS brings the importance of religion(Dharma) and justice to cricket. It is a matter of honor not only for Sri Lanka but for all of Asia and Africa that a person like Senaka Weeraratna, a lawyer from a small developing country, has done the ground work of bringing the spirit of justice in cricket to the core. Since India has been the voice of developing countries on the international stage from time to time and has respected Nelson Mandela and many other persons fighting for freedom and justice, the contribution of a friendly neighboring country i.e. Sri Lanka, to the improvement of the Umpiring decision making process in cricket cannot be ignored by India.

A careful analysis of the essence behind Senaka Weeraratna’s UDRS or DRS is the spirit of religion, justice and Satyamev Jayate that constitute the foundation of the civilizational links between India and Sri Lanka since eternity. The time has come for the values of religion, justice and Satyameva Jayate to be spread to all corners of the world and influence the whole of humanity.  

Modi Government started International Yoga Day all over the world which was extremely successful. Elevating sports and honouring the people associated with ground breaking achievements in sports also signifies successful foreign policy. Therefore honoring Senaka Weeraratna and his contribution to the development of cricket rules, by India, the world’s leading country in cricket, will not only strengthen India’s leadership in world cricket but will further deepen Sri Lanka’s relations with India. Therefore, the Ministry of External Affairs of India needs to take cognizance of this matter immediately so that the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo can be directed to take appropriate and necessary action without delay.

Courtesy: ETV 

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