MS Dhoni, the India captain, has reiterated his stance that the standard of on-field umpiring needed to be improved instead of relying on the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) to eradicate errors. Dhoni spoke strongly on the issue on the eve of the second Test against New Zealand in Hyderabad, saying if the quality of umpiring continued to be poor in the future, India could be forced into accepting the system.
"The way it's going, if they keep on committing the kind of mistakes they are making, whether we are willing or not willing, we'll have to go with the review system," Dhoni said. "At the same time there should be strong measures to improve the standard of umpiring."
The Indians were on the receiving end of two umpiring errors on the final day of the Ahmedabad Test. VVS Laxman and Zaheer Khan were both adjudged lbw off successive deliveries by umpire Steve Davis, who failed to detect the inside edges on to pad. While Laxman's was a sizeable nick, Zaheer's was harder to detect, and both batsmen were visibly dismayed at their dismissals. Had the UDRS been in place, they could have asked for a review and been able to continue batting.
Dhoni, however, doesn't see it that way. To him the UDRS shouldn't be a substitute for improving the quality of umpiring since he and others in the team, like Sachin Tendulkar, are of the opinion that the technology used isn't foolproof.
"You have two umpires who are supposed to take good decisions on the field. If you see Laxman's decision [in Ahmedabad], I don't know what to say exactly about it," Dhoni said. "We need to improve the standard of umpiring. The umpires have too much pressure about the over-rate, the players' behaviour on the field, the logos and everything apart from giving decisions - that's the most important part.
Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh apart, the other Indian players who have voiced their opinions about the UDRS are not in favour of the system since it was first used during the tour of Sri Lanka in 2008. They struggled with their referrals, getting only one of them right, while Sri Lanka successfully challenged 11 decisions.
Since then the UDRS has been used in Australia, South Africa, England, New Zealand and West Indies and has found favour with several captains and players. The Indians and the BCCI, however, are firmly opposed to the system, even though the ICC have approved its use in principle during the 2011 World Cup.