South Africa in favour of UDRS for India Tests
South Africa are in favour of using the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in their upcoming Test series against India. Gerald Majola, Chief Executive Officer of Cricket South Africa (CSA), confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that the board is still negotiating with its Indian counterparts over whether the system will be used during the end-of-year tour.
"We have to persuade India because at the moment they don't want it," said Majola. As per ICC regulations, the host team can take the take the call on whether to use UDRS, in consultation with the visiting country. Majola said the South African players want to use the system because they think "it's the most fair way for decisions to be made."
South African captain Graeme Smith voiced his conditional approval for the UDRS in a more measured manner. "Technology is obviously an important way forward in cricket. It will be beneficial to the game and the players are behind. I think if the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) is going to be successful it needs to be implemented properly by the ICC and not on a 50/50 basis like we have seen so far," Smith said. "It must be used all of the time and not for selective series' like we see now."
Recent history may explain Smith's issue with consistency. In their last four Test series, South Africa have used the UDRS three times. They first used it against Australia in the 2008-09 season, then against England at home last season and, most recently, in their three-test series in the West Indies in June. They did not use it in the series in India in February this year, when the choice lay with the hosts.
India have made no secret of their dislike for the system since they first used it in a series against Sri Lanka in 2008. In the three-Test series, India made only one successful review, compared to Sri Lanka's 11. They haven't used it since then, with senior players such as Sachin Tendulkar openly saying they prefer Hot Spot, as they feel it is a more accurate tool for establishing contact between bat and ball or pad.
There is the possibility that Hot Spot will be used during the South Africa-India series, even though it wasn't part of the production in the recently-completed series between South Africa and Zimbabwe. Hotspot was used during the home series against England. The broadcasting rights have since changed hands. Previously the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcast Corporation, was responsible for the production; now Supersport is. Both services still broadcast live matches.
The exact technology tools to be used in the series will be decided in the coming weeks. It is almost certain that South Africa will have ball-tracking technology, Super Slo-Mo and a clear stump mike, the three requirements needed for the UDRS system, should India change their mind. The first Test starts in Centurion on December 16.
Firdose Moonda is a freelance writer based in Johannesburg