The review system trialled in the recently concluded Test series between New Zealand and West Indies has drawn concern from both teams, particularly with regard to the limited availability of television technology to the third umpire.
Brendon McCullum's controversial dismissal on the final day of the second Test in Napier raised doubts over the system's ability to produce accurate decisions. McCullum was adjudged caught behind by umpire Rudi Koertzen and the decision, when referred, was upheld by third umpire Mark Benson. However, Benson's review of the decision was, under the rule, limited to normal television coverage and not the advanced "hot spot" technology, which indicated no contact between bat and ball. The decision was crucial as New Zealand, batting aggressively in pursuit of 312, called off their chase with 92 required off nine overs.
Daniel Vettori said all available technology should be used in the referral process, without which it would not meet its intended purpose. "It was clear he didn't hit it," he said of McCullum's dismissal. "If you're going upstairs you should give umpires as much technology as they can have.
"Hot Spot seems to be the best one I've seen in my time. You couple that with the snicko and the naked eye and you'd think you'd get the decisions right 100% of the time."
John Dyson, the West Indies coach, agreed. "I think if the feeling about technology like snicko is very good, that should be another tool given to the umpires to make decisions. Sometimes the eyes and the cameras don't pick up everything." There were a total of 19 reviews in the Test series, with seven used on the final day in Napier.
Vettori, who had earlier called for referrals to be used only for 'obvious calls', also felt the three unsuccessful challenges allowed for each team gave captains an opportunity to use the system quite liberally for marginal decisions, as he did when he appealed for a leg-before decision against Chris Gayle early in his innings of 197.
"We took a chance with Chris because it was such an important wicket. I don't think that's why the referral system was brought in. If we're looking to rid the game of the obvious wrong decisions then it has to be brought back to one (challenge) in my opinion. If we get caught up in the 50-50s (decisions), that takes the power out of the umpires' hands. Everyone involved in the game still wants that human element."
Dyson preferred two challenges. "With three there's a bit of a feeling there; 'Oh well, we'll give it a go because we've got three'."