Former Test captain and Chief Selector Dilip Vengsarkar on Thursday cautioned the International Cricket Council not to proceed with plans to introduce the Umpire Decision Review System without putting in place a fool-proof technology.
"It is not advisable to introduce the Umpire Decision Review System unless there is a fool-proof technology to back it up as we have seen in the India-Sri Lanka series (last year) when this was used. How is it possible for a camera placed above and far away to point out whether the ball which has hit the batsman's pads eight feet in front of the stumps would go and hit them," Vengsarkar wondered.
Whatever be the technology that is going to be used, it should be fool-proof. Also the ICC would do well to talk to current players who have experienced the system and get their feedback on it, he felt.
In the UDRS, players have the option to challenge the umpire's decisions for a specific number of times per innings.
The ICC's Cricket Committee, headed by former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd, has recently concluded this was the most appropriate way of handling the review system.
Past experience of the Johnnie Walker Super Series in Australia in 2005, when the umpires had the opportunity to call for reviews, showed that the path was not effective as it led to umpires doubting their own abilities and slowed the game down, it decided at its sitting.
It also felt the need for the system to be fine-tuned and concluded that any possible negatives, as far as undermining of the authority of the on-field umpires, were far out weighed by the positive effect of ensuring more correct decisions were made.
The four series in which the UDRS was trialed were Sri Lanka v India (August 2008), New Zealand v West Indies (December 2008), West Indies v England (February/March 2009) and South Africa v Australia (February/March 2009).
The system afforded players the opportunity to request a review by the television umpire of a decision made by the on-field umpire they believed to be incorrect. The third official was able to view the available television pictures and relay information back to the umpire on the field who then had to decide whether or not to reverse his original decision.
In the first two of the four series involved in the trial each side was allowed a maximum of three unsuccessful appeals per innings. This was reduced to two per side, per innings for the remaining series that formed part of the trial.
"The Cricket Committee's recommendation will now be taken forward to the ICC Chief Executives Committee and the ICC Board and if both those groups agree then we will seek to roll out the system from October, 2009," he said.
Vengsarkar was of the opinion that the more important task for ICC would be to raise the standard of umpiring all over the world and suggested that umpiring should be made a highly lucrative profession to attract more and more former first class cricketers to take it up.
He felt that a cricketing background would be of great help to aspiring umpires.
Vengsarkar also suggested that the ICC should encourage more exchange of umpires between the countries at the first class level so that they get exposure and experience of officiating in different countries and conditions.
The former cricketer was also not sure how the ICC will proceed with its plans of introducing day-night Test cricket as a country like India, whose domestic structure was strong, needed to make all its first class senior cricket into day-night affairs and also do the same with junior cricket.
For example, in India all the senior domestic first class matches have to be held under lights. All junior long-duration ties also need to be held under lights as the step up the ladder is junior cricket to first class cricket and then on to Test cricket, he said.