The DRS inventor Senaka Weeraratna deserves a Plaque in his honour by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC)
The UDRS system is based on the concept of Player – Referral conceived by Senaka Weeraratna in 1997. Player Reviews and additional technology were first introduced in Test cricket to review controversial decisions made by the on-field umpires regarding dismissal of batsmen.
Clearly, the world wide web identifies Senaka Weeraratna as the brainchild of the URDS system. Considering such growing international recognition of a Sri Lankan inventor, why is the premier cricket authority namely SLC (Sri Lanka Cricket) remaining totally silent? Not only that it appears to have even silenced the Cricket commentators on TV and Radio from speaking on the subject of the origins of the DRS, except on one solitary instance.
Today, almost every aspect of DRS is openly discussed all over the world except how DRS came into being. It has raised questions. WHY ? Is it the Colour of the skin? Is it because the universally acknowledged inventor has the wrong skin colour? This is the most logical answer some would arrive at to explain the lack of interest in the ICC.
The SLC has to provide a convincing answer for not publicly supporting a Sri Lankan’s quest for recognition of his invention. Going behind the back of the ICC (established in the colonial era and still unable to get rid of its underlying ‘white supremacist and apartheid’ mentality) for everything especially the recognition of authorship of DRS is tantamount to the betrayal of Sri Lanka.
SLC must understand that its role. SLC was established to serve the interest of Sri Lanka and not to function as a lackey of the ICC. It is not a postman in any sense, in the employ of the ICC.
Here are some salient points SLC must take up with the ICC:
1) Senaka Weeraratna is the only claimant in the world for the recognition of his brainchild ‘the concept of ‘Player Referral’ (1997) which is the lynchpin of DRS,
2) Several others who have claimed authorship of DRS, for example, Duncan Fletcher (former Cricket coach of India and several other countries) in his book ‘Ashes Regained’ have now withdrawn their claim. They are no longer in the running for recognition,
3) The ICC which has given high public recognition to Duckworth and Lewis for their contribution to resolving dilemmas in rain-affected one-day international cricket matches is still unable to publicly name an individual(s) as the author of DRS, which is a superior idea to Duckworth and Lewis and effective in all formats of the game i.e., Test, One day International and T20,
4) The ‘song’ (DRS) is celebrated as the remedy for resolving doubtful on-field umpiring decisions, but not the composer whose identity remains a closely guarded secret within the ICC,
5) In colloquial language this is nothing but a ‘Daylight Highway Robbery’ of the intellectual property rights i.e., copyright, of a writer who has painstakingly provided a solution which the ICC has probably stolen from the public domain and is now too embarrassed to admit its culpability,
6) The stance of the ICC is no different to that of former Western Colonial countries e.g., the British Empire, in refusing to be accountable for their wrongdoings. The British Museum is the best example. Less said the better. The stance is basically that of a street thug ‘O.K. we have lifted your intellectual property violated your copyright see if you can stop us’.
7) The ICC comprises cricket associations from all over the world. But they are all maintaining a deafening silence on DRS origins. The answer is not difficult to fathom. The ICC is a huge money bag distributing perks and graft to its acolytes. A rich gravy train. Who will want to miss out on it?
8) The term ‘Cricket’ in the common parlour is a pseudonym for Justice. It is not ‘Cricket’- it means it is not correct. But ‘Justice ‘is, unfortunately, the last concern for some who appear to have joined Cricket boards including the ICC for other reasons.
Why DRS Inventor should be felicitated?
Sri Lanka’s Cricket Board, all the top Sri Lankan former cricket captains & former players as well as successive Sports Ministers & officials are well aware of the struggle and pain Senaka Weeraratna has been single-handedly taking, to gain acknowledgement for his concept. All of his appeals to date have fallen on deaf ears, unfortunately.
A handful of cricket-loving well-wishers have backed Senaka Weeraratna, but it is now time that he is finally given the accolade & recognition he richly deserves. As a forerunner, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) should make amends for their laid-back attitude by displaying a Plaque in his honour in the SLC Headquarters. Others who have brought lustre to the country through heroic feats on the playing field, for example, Arjuna Ranatunga in winning the World Cup in 1996 have been justly rewarded. Likewise, the achievements of Sri Lankan Cricket thinkers working beyond the boundary deserve plaudits.
This is the least that Sri Lanka can do for a Sri Lankan inventor who has revolutionized the game of cricket with his Player – Referral concept, which is now universally known as DRS (Decision Review System), and a concept that is being used widely in all realms of sports & is a catalyst in crucial decision making.
Shenali D Waduge