Cricket Australia must take up DRS authorship issue with ICC and resolve it on footing of fair play and justice
Posted on July 1st, 2022

Shenali Waduge 

The Decision Review System known as UDRS or DRS or the Player Referral concept is in vogue not only in cricket but in many other sports activities where the Third Umpire plays the role of an Appeal Judge. Who came up with this concept & when is a question the International Cricket Committee (ICC) has consistently failed to answer despite incessant calls to do so. If every song has a singer and every lyric has an author, the DRS too must have emerged from somebody’s brain.

Sri Lankan Attorney Senaka Weeraratna is claiming authorship of the concept underlying DRS and his idea of ‘Player Referral’ was first published in the Australian” national newspaper on 25th March 1997, and thereafter in leading newspapers and journals of cricket playing nations. Not stopping there, he has made numerous appeals to the international cricketing body as well as the Sri Lanka (SLC) cricket board.

Before gaining accolades for his concept, Senaka Weeraratna may enter the Guinness Book for his patience in seeking justice for a concept he has conceived and authored. Given that the idea was first published in an Australian National Newspaper, this appeal is for the Australian newspapers & the Australian Cricket Board to take up the deserving case of Senaka Weeraratna & give the invention of DRS due recognition & declare him the author of the DRS system.

It is sad and shocking that Sri Lanka Cricket ( SLC) & a plethora of internationally recognized Sri Lankan cricketers some now aspiring to be Presidential candidates have also shied away from taking up the case of Senaka Weeraratna in his efforts to be recognized for seeding the concept of DRS system. If these former captains do not wish to speak for the cause of one Sri Lankan whose achievement will only be another feather on the cap of achievements to Sri Lanka’s cricket glories, how can they be of any use in politics to work on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka.

Some former top officials of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board are said to have adopted the view that taking up the case of Senaka Weeraratna with the ICC will upset” the ICC, and in turn harm their relationship with the ICC at all levels.

This treacherous stance of former SLC officials in return for perks and other personal favours from the ICC is no different to the shameless appeasement policy followed by Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry.

Is Sri Lanka Cricket – its officials & its captains past and present reluctant to take up the cause of Senaka Weeraratna as it may impact on their perks & other cosy relationships that they currently enjoy vis a vis the ICC?

However, ICC is duty bound to disclose the source of the brainchild behind the DRS. ICC cannot indefinitely hide this fact.

Senaka Weeraratna is claiming he is the brainchild of the DRS ‘player referral’ system. If he is not the author, ICC must disclose the name of the true author. This is a legitimate and fair request. The world of cricket has a moral right to know how the ICC arrived at the DRS. 

The ICC can be presumed to have had constructive notice of Senaka Weeraratna’s letter to the ‘Australian’ ( March 25, 1997) as it was published in a mainstream news paper of one of World’s leading cricket playing nations.

This date antedates the date on when  Tennis acquired the line calling mechanism (2004) which has been cited by a former CEO of ICC ( Dave Richardson) as the source of inspiration for DRS.

If there is no alternate party claiming to be the author, what is holding the ICC from accepting Senaka Weeraratne has the author of the DRS system?

Is it because he is not white? The cricket-loving public have gone beyond colonial racism and such discrimination should not exist in cricket or any type of sports.

The Govt. of Sri Lanka must step in without any further delay and the Minister of Sports must direct the President of SLC unhesitatingly to back the Sri Lanka’s candidate, Senaka Weeraratna in obtaining due recognition and credit from the ICC.

SLC cannot remain neutral or indifferent on a matter concerning the claim of a Sri Lankan to credit from the ICC. SLC must treat the DRS as an achievement of a fellow countryman of Sri Lanka and be unhesitatingly proud of it.

We appreciate the arrival of the Australian Cricket Team to Sri Lanka amidst an economic crisis and would like to have at least the governing body of Cricket Australia together with the ‘Australian’ Newspaper that first published Senaka Weeraratna’s concept in 1997 to assist in finally getting the ICC to formally recognize the authorship of the DRS.

25 years have passed since 1997 with no one knowing who came up with this player referral concept which has been adopted ( or stolen) by the ICC and renamed as DRS.

The Player Referral concept being the invention of a Sri Lankan, is now being used not only in cricket but in other sports as well.  Neither the Govt. of Sri Lanka nor the SLC not being proud of this singular achievement of a Sri Lankan with no other claimant in the would to compete with Weeraratna’s claims, is another clear illustration of that well known adage ‘ A prophet is never honoured in his own country.

If the Duckworth Lewis rule in rain affected one day international cricket matches can be named after the two co – authors, equity demands that DRS likewise be named after its author.

DRS system must be called the Senaka Weeraratna Decision Review System.

Let us hope the new Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe will have the foresight to do justice by Senaka Weeraratna and gain prestige for Sri Lanka as a result.

Shenali Waduge 

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