Explained – What is DRS in Cricket? DRS Rules, Meaning, Full Form and Umpire’s Call

Explained – What is DRS in Cricket? DRS Rules, Meaning, Full Form and Umpire’s Call

Explained – What is DRS in Cricket? DRS Rules, Meaning, Full Form and Umpire’s Call


Technology plays a key role in every international sport in the modern era. Likewise, even in the game of cricket, Decision Review System (DRS) along with many other technical aids has become an enriching part of the game played on a 22-yard pitch. The DRS or Decision review System has governed a fair share of match results in the past decade or so. The use of DRS has also allowed fans and viewers to understand the technicalities involved in cricket. However, there has also been much debate around the decision review system (DRS) and its rules with questions being raised over its legitimacy in all forms of cricket.

We attempt to simplify the meaning of DRS, its rules, and its usage in this popular game:

Explained – What is DRS in Cricket, Meaning, and Full form

                                 Virat Kohli calls for review using DRS (Image Source: Getty Images)

DRS, as mentioned earlier, stands for Decision Review System which is a technology-based system to assist the umpires on the ground with their robust decision-making capacity. It is an effort to ensure that decisions are taken with utmost transparency and the correct call is made at the end of each event. The meaning of a team opting for a DRS refers to the process of the on-field umpire invoking the third umpire to make the correct decision using DRS technology. Hence, it was first introduced in July 2008 in India’s Test series in Sri Lanka.


DRS was first introduced in July 2008 during a Test match between India and Sri Lanka. Although the system was officially launched by the ICC in November 2009 in the first Test between New Zealand and Pakistan in Dunedin. Every now and then, the system has gone through certain changes in order to do justice to all the cricket rules involved during a DRS call.

Rules and Usage of DRS in each format

                                              T-Symbol asks the umpire to consider it as a DRS call

Every decision reviewed using DRS involves fixed steps followed by the third umpire as part of the DRS rules established in cricket. After the on-field umpire gives his decision, the challenging team has a time of 15 seconds to make its decision if they want to opt for the DRS call or not. The fielding captain or the batsman declared out needs to signal a “T” sign to the onfield-umpire to review the decision.

As it happens, the third umpire checks if it’s a legal delivery in case the bowler has overstepped before proceeding with the replays at the business end. If the delivery is fair and legal, then the third umpire proceeds to the other end involving the heart of the event.

                     UltraEdge/Snicko shows a clear spike when the ball is next to the bat indicating an edge

The third umpire is facilitated with Ultra-Edge/Real-Time Snicko (RTS) and HotSpot as two means to check if the ball has hit the bat in case of an lbw or an appeal for a catch. The HotSpot technology works on the process of heat caused by the interaction between bat and ball, which will immediately result in a spot on the bat in case of a possible edge. Whereas, UltraEdge or RTS uses sound to indicate a deviation or spike when the ball is close to the bat.

How many DRS reviews in Test Cricket, ODIs, and T20 Cricket?

ICC has also fixed the number when a team can opt for a valid DRS call based upon the format. In Test Cricket, each team is awarded two unsuccessful reviews in an innings. In the case of ODIs and T20 matches, only one unsuccessful review is permitted per team in an innings. However, in the COVID-era, due to home umpires, each team was allowed to use a review thrice in their innings during a Test match while two reviews were allowed in an ODI.

Umpire’s Call Rule in Decision Review System

Warner was given out since it shows Umpire’s Call on review while the Original decision was OUT (Image Source: Twitter)

The understanding for a DRS calls is tricky in the case of an LBW call. For the third umpire to overturn the decision made by the field umpire, it involves a variety of parameters that must go in favor of the team asking for a review. If the ultra-edge doesn’t indicate an edge, the third umpire proceeds to review the trajectory of the ball using the ball-tracker. The ball-tracker indicates the point where the ball pitches on the surface, the impact when the batter plays the ball, and the point when it hits the stumps.

In 2016, the International Cricket Council (ICC) introduced Umpire’s Call rule as part of the DRS. It was done to encourage the on-field umpires to make decisions and give them the benefit of doubt in the case of marginal lbw decisions.

In simple terms, Umpire’s Call means that the decision given by the on-field umpire will stay put in case the ball-tracker shows the ball hitting the stump as Umpire’s call. The third umpire in such a scenario cannot overturn the decision as it a marginal call that is governed by the decision made by the field umpire.

As per ICC, Umpire’s Call is the concept within the DRS under which the on-field decision of the bowler’s end umpire shall stand, which shall apply under the specific circumstances set out in paragraphs 3.4.5 and 3.4.6 of Appendix D, where the ball-tracking technology indicates a marginal decision in respect of either the Impact Zone or the Wicket Zone.

Also, the team asking for a review doesn’t lose the review in case the tracker shows it as Umpire’s Call. For a player to be given out, the ball should pitch in line or outside the off stump (when a shot is offered), must have an impact in-line with the ball clearly hitting the wickets.

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