Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, has expressed concern that the new umpire referrals system could dilute the powers of the on-field officials if it is used constantly for marginal calls. Vettori suggested that it would be a better approach for the more obvious decisions like detecting inside-edges for lbw appeals or nicks to the wicketkeeper.
He also proposed only one referral per team per innings instead of the three being used in the New Zealand-West Indies series. "What's happening a little bit is the 50-50 ones are coming into play and I don't think that's what it was invented for," Vettori told NZPA. "It's when you nick it onto your pad and you're given out lbw or you nick it behind and you're given not out - those are the ones we want to get out of the game as opposed to the good umpiring decisions."
A total of six referrals were used during the drawn first Test in Dunedin. Daniel Flynn, the New Zealand batsman, was the first to be out in such a manner in this series, lbw to Chris Gayle for 95 on the opening day. He was initially given the benefit of the doubt but Gayle challenged the verdict and Rudi Koertzen, the third official, agreed with the West Indians.
"If you look at it [the Flynn replay], you can see it's out but is that the reason it was brought in ... to decide on such a fine-line decision?" asked Vettori. "The premise of cricket is the batsman always gets the benefit of the doubt and I think you want to still keep that part of the game in."
Vettori benefited off one such appeal, against Denesh Ramdin on the fourth day. Ramdin came a long way forward to defend and it appeared as if the ball was slipping down the leg side when it struck the pad. Initially given out, Ramdin challenged and Koertzen upheld the decision after studying replays for more than three minutes. Despite winning the appeal in his favour, Vettori wasn't entirely convinced. His earlier shout for a bat-pad catch off Xavier Marshall was far more obvious.
"I think there's probably a little bit of fine-tuning needed," he said. "Some of us have talked about having only one referral an innings so you know it's out when you ask for it. In the end, it's the obvious ones you want fixed by the third umpire." The system was first trialled during India's tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year.