Smith calls for uniformity in UDRS
Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, has once again called for the ICC to establish uniformity in the use of the UDRS. "The ICC needs to take responsibility for that," he said after South Africa's loss in the second Test against India in Durban. "They can't leave it up to boards to negotiate. They must lead the way."
The decision not to use the UDRS was taken by Cricket South Africa (CSA), in consultation with the BCCI in November. CSA were keen to use the system, but the BCCI refused. At the time of negotiation, Smith said he believed UDRS could only be effective if it was used in all Test matches and not a selection of them.
He reiterated his stance on Wednesday. "Using it once every seven series is not going to benefit anybody. If the technology is available and they want us to use it, then we must use it. Then you can have a proper idea of whether it works or not." Smith's statements were fuelled by three decisions that did not go South Africa's way in the match.
Zaheer Khan got away with an lbw shout off Dale Steyn's bowling on day three when he was on 10 and his eight-wicket stand with VVS Laxman was worth 33. He went on to make 27 and share in an 70-run partnership with Laxman. Umpire Steve Davis was responsible for that decision. Two of South Africa's batsmen were unlucky to be given out on the fourth day. AB de Villiers was adjudged lbw by Asad Rauf off the bowling of Harbhajan Singh. Replays showed the ball was going over the top of middle stump. Mark Boucher got an even worse decision when Davis gave him out lbw to Zaheer, to a delivery that was too high and missing off stump. There was also an incident where India might have benefitted from a referral. Harbhajan Singh had an lbw appeal against Ashwell Prince turned down when there was a suspicion of an inside-edge, but replays showed the ball had hit pad first.
As per the ICC's regulations, the host country must decide on the use of the UDRS in consultation with the visiting nation. It was in South Africa's power as the host nation to insist on the use of the UDRS, but they did not do so. CSA and the BCCI have a history of friendly relations, which dates back to South Africa's readmission into international cricket in 1991, and presumably, South Africa did not want to put that relationship at risk.
Prior to this series, South Africa had used the UDRS in three of their last four Test series, with the exception being their tour of India. India have only used the UDRS once, in a series against Sri Lanka in 2008.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent