In a bid to minimize fake appeals for reviewing on-field umpires’ decisions, the government has made Aadhaar mandatory for all DRS appeals. A senior official from the Board of Commercializing Cricket in India, on condition of anonymity, revealed that this initiative has been in the pipeline for a long time. “The problem was that the hectic schedule of the players made it difficult to apply and follow their application status to get Aadhaar cards. After the BCCI’s measures to facilitate on-field Aadhaar application, 98% compliance has been observed, which happens to be the threshold for imposing Aadhaar-based review system. Now, the problem is that the visiting Australian players don’t have Aadhaar. This gives an unfair advantage for the home side. To solve this, the external affairs ministry is closely working with the Aussie embassy, and we hope there will be a solution soon”, he said.
No Aadhaar, no DRS appeal
Earlier, the government had made it clear that there will be no DRS appeals without Aadhaar authentication starting from March this year. The move has been prompted by the action of Steve Smith when he consulted anonymous third-party vendors to decide whether to go for a review or not. With Aadhaar tracking, such actions can be thwarted in the future. According to the Aadhaar department website, the implementation of this scheme in all bilateral cricket tournaments will help the government track and identify genuine cases for review and to provide the benefits only to deserving players who would otherwise go wicketless or runless.
Critics, as they are expected to, have criticised this initiative by citing the breach of privacy laws of both the Indian and Australian players. “People can now misuse the mobile phone numbers, bank account numbers and address of the players. And the umpires will now have to hold 22 Aadhaar cards of the players as well as theirs in addition to the sweaters, hats, sunglasses and creams given by the bowlers” an anti-Aadhaar activist said. “While aiding targeted DRS benefits to players, this will add to the burdens of the umpires and make their decisions worse”, he added.
When asked how this would affect the players, the Indian skipper said he welcomes the initiative since this will finally help them get Aadhaar on-field. “We are excited to see how it works, but we have already been practizing in the nets with dummy cards. So we won’t be unexperienced when the system is actually in place”, he remarked. The last piece of the puzzle, however, is whether the third umpire also needs an Aadhaar. An Aadhaar official clarified, “We will take this in a phased manner, and will execute the order depending on how it goes with the players first”.