When the DRS came to be tagged Dharmasena Review System in jest | Daily News

When the DRS came to be tagged Dharmasena Review System in jest

A Sri Lankan all round cricketer who shone in Test cricket, ODI and T20s and then went on to become and be adjudged the best umpire in world cricket after quitting the big time was HANDUNNETTIGE DEEPTHI PRIYANTHA KUMAR DHARMASENA.

Before going on to chronicle his achievements as cricketer and umpire a little anecdote. Once in the First Test between England and Bangladesh in Chittagong in the 2016/17 series he had eight of his decisions reversed.

He also gave England batsman Moeen Ali out on three occasions only to see the batsman appeal and win the appeals. For this the DECISION REVIEW SYSTEM (DRS) came to be tagged the DHARMASENA REVIEW SYSTEM in jest.

More difficult

Being an umpire and deciding on decisions are more difficult than actually playing the game. On an umpire rests the career of a cricketer. If the umpire faults, it could be the make or break of a batsman. But today thanks to the DECISION REVIEW SYSTEM – umpiring mistakes could be rectified.

Yet umpires have to be alert and make the right decision, because to have his decision rescinded by the third umpire and if consistently rescinded could be a black mark on his chart and he could be removed or downgraded from the ELITE PANEL OF UMPIRES.

Today like cricketers, umpires too are highly paid and it is their bread and butter. So no umpire would want to cheat and leave his profession in shame. It must be remembered that no umpire is infallible. After all he is also human. No umpire would want to cheat now that the Decision Review System is in operation.

From Ananda College

But first to DHARMASENA’S career with bat and ball for his school Ananda College, clubs Bloomfield C & AC, Moratuwa Sports Club and Nondescripts Cricket Club and country. DHARMASENA took to the game at Ananda College as an off spinning all rounder. Although he could make runs as a right hand batsman and although not making big runs, could hold his end up with some stubborn performances.

But what earned him his Test cap was his off spin bowling and ability to bowl stinging off cutters that bewildered opposing batsmen. He was a bowler every captain would want to have in his team.

Although he did not have big wicket taking match hauls to show, he was particularly required in the limited overs games – 50 over and T20 - with his ability to bowl a nagging line and length where he tied batsmen down with his immaculate accuracy. Batsmen found him hard to score off.

Playing second fiddle

DHARMASENA had to handle the leather during the reign of Muttiah Muralitharan. While Muralitharan did most of the bowling being the captain’s first choice, yet DHARMASENA who unfortunately had to play second fiddle was also a vital cog in the attack.

DHARMASENA in his eagerness to capture wickets, tended to stretch his bowling arm over the stipulated limit and had the misfortune of having his action queried by the International Cricket Council in 1998 after the Oval Test in England and having to follow a rehabilitation course came back to play for the country in 2000.

Very rarely do bowlers who have their actions corrected meet with success like they did before being called. It was no different with DHARMASENA. And although coming back, his bowling had lost its wicket taking sting, but was reduced to keeping batsmen tied down and minimizing their scoring prowess which is important in limited over cricket.

Brakes on scoring

DHARMASENA although not bagging big wickets in the champion 1996 World Cup winning Sri Lanka team, put the brakes on the free scoring Australian batsmen in the final in Lahore which gave his country a big advantage.

Names of cricketers taking to sporting the umpires coat after calling finis’ to their cricketing careers are few. But DHARMASENA entered that hallowed and sacred arena and after doing a pleasing job in the domestic scene that did not go unnoticed.

He had his big break in elite cricket in 2009 in an ODI against India and did not show nerves, but showing promise quickly moved to the elite panel of umpires and his most treasured moment came in 2012 when he won the ‘Umpire of the Year’ award and carried away the David Shepherd trophy. He was the first Sri Lanka umpire to do so. He is the only Sri Lankan cricketer to turn umpire and achieve this honour. GREAT.

Dharmasena’s statistics

DHARMASENA’S STASTICS: BOWLING TESTS – 31 – RUNS -2920 –WKTS - 69 – BEST FIGURES 6 for 72 – MATCH HAUL – 8 for 183 – FIVE WKTS 3. ODIS – MATCHES 141 – RUNS 4998 – WKTS 138 – BEST 4 for 37. FIRST CLASS - 155 – RUNS 10,286 – WKTS - 495 – BEST 7 for 30 – FIVE WKT HAULS 30 – 10 WKT HAULS 5. BATTING TESTS – 31 – RUNS 868 – HIGHEST 62no – ODIS – 141 – RUNS 12,222 – HIGHEST 69no, FIRST CLASS – MATCHES 155 – RUNS - 6568 – HIGHEST 157.

DHARMASENA made his Test debut for Sri Lanka vs South Africa at the SSC from Sept 6 to 10, played his final Test vs Australia at Galle from March 8 to 12, ODI debut v Pakistan at Ranasinghe Premadasa Stadium on August 24, 1994, last ODI vs Australia at RPS on February 25, 2004. FIRST CLASS debut Bloomfield C & AC vs Colts at Moors Ground- March 3 to 6.

DHARMASENA was a pride to Sri Lanka cricket. 


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