WBBL 2023-24 – Frustration grows among WBBL players around lack of third umpire and DRS

Discontent continues to grow among WBBL players and coaches surrounding the lack of both DRS and third umpires in certain games this season. Melbourne Renegades duo Georgia Wareham and Hayley Matthews expressed their frustration at the current situation and their hopes for greater technology to be implemented permanently in the future.

There have been several instances in the WBBL season so far where incorrect stumping and run out decisions have affected the outcomes of matches when there has been no third umpire available.

Only 24 matches of the 59-game season are full television broadcasts with DRS and third umpire reviews available to the teams and the standing officials. The rest of the matches are televised via slimmed-down broadcasts designed for streaming and do not feature DRS technology or even a third umpire.

In three of those games there have been incorrect stumpings and run outs that could have easily been overturned with a third umpire in place, including a not out decision that went in favour of Hobart Hurricanes’ Lizelle Lee overnight that cost Sydney Thunder dearly.

Renegades have not been on the receiving end of any incorrect stumping or run out calls, but they do believe they have received some lbw and caught behind decisions against them in tight games that might have been overturned if DRS were available.

Wareham expressed the sentiment of the Renegades’ group at the current situation.

“I think as a playing group it’s pretty frustrating, knowing that those moments in the game are really massive,” Wareham said on Tuesday. “And that it’s sort of changing the way that teams are winning, I guess, and what team wins on the day by those moments.

“I think that’s what’s really frustrating when we can’t quite get those decisions right. But I mean, at the end of the day, you can’t do much out there. So I guess it’s up to the big dogs at the end.”

Matthews has been involved with the WBBL from its very early seasons and has seen the growth of women’s franchise leagues globally first-hand in recent years. She believes the WBBL needs to have DRS in all games if it is to maintain its place as the world’s premier women’s T20 franchise tournament.

“I think it would be a great step,” Matthews said. “We’re obviously seeing all over the world now, in all the franchise competitions you’ve got DRS, third umpire, and full broadcasts in every single game being played. I think WBBL has been the leading tournament for quite some years and it’s the ninth season in. I think I’d love to see it being implemented now and I think that on its own would help raise the standard of the game even more.

But Renegades’ captain said her team can’t stress about the current situation for the remainder of this season.

“I think you’ve just got to try to control the controllables,” Matthews said. “If we sit and kind of stress about all the things that we aren’t able to control, I think it’s just going to make us more frustrated at the end of the day. So as batters, try to use our bat as much as possible.”

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