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Page last updated at 21:34 GMT, Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Umpire review system in 'crisis'

Tony Hill
Umpire Tony Hill signals for a referral during England's Caribbean series

The controversial umpire referral system is in crisis and will not be in place for England's Test series in South Africa, BBC Sport has learned.

An updated version of the TV referral system which was trialled during England's Test tour of the West Indies has been approved for use in all Tests.

It was set to be available to India and Sri Lanka in their current Test series.

But it is believed a stand-off has now emerged between cricket's stakeholders over who will fund the equipment.

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew explained that while the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) were always against the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was initially in favour of the review system.

But the Indian board has reportedly changed its mind after their players raised concerns, and Agnew believes Cricket South Africa is likely to follow suit.

The view of the cricket boards is if the ICC want it they must pay for it, while the majority of the players would rather do without it

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew

The International Cricket Council announced in June that, following trials at domestic and international level, the UDRS would come into use from October.

Under the updated rules, each side would be allowed two unsuccessful challenges per innings in a system similar to that used in American football and tennis.

"Despite serious reservations from many quarters, the ICC's cricket committee approved the use of technology - including, controversially, the predictive element of Hawk-Eye - starting with the series between India and Sri Lanka," Agnew told BBC Radio 5 live.

"But there's now a stand-off between the boards, the host television companies and the ICC about who will fund the very expensive equipment.

"The Indian board has now rejected the scheme and, as things stand, Cricket South Africa will do the same. The referral system won't be used for the Test series against England.


"The ECB was the only board to vote against the use of technology, which has been pushed through by the ICC despite failing spectacularly in the West Indies earlier this year.

"The view of the cricket boards is if the ICC want it they must pay for it, while the majority of the players, it seems, would rather do without it."

ECB chairman Giles Clarke added: "We weren't keen on the referral system so we voted against it.

"We lost the ICC vote, comprehensively, but we run a democratic world in cricket so we accepted the decision.

"Then the question came of who is going to pay for it. We're not going to. Cricket South Africa don't want to pay and I quite understand why.

"It seems the broadcaster does not want to pay. I don't think the ICC is going to step in but I may be wrong. If no one's going to pay, you can't use it."

The UDRS was designed to let players request that umpire's decisions are reviewed by a third official using TV pictures.

Either the dismissed batsman or the fielding captain can call for a review by making a "T" symbol with his forearms.

Despite an unsuccessful experiment in English county cricket's Friends Provident Trophy in 2007, the review system was first trialled during a series between Sri Lanka and India in the summer of 2008 - with Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan becoming the first player to successfully appeal against a decision.

The experiment was also used in several other series - although for the West Indies versus England series in 2009, the number of unsuccessful challenges permitted was reduced from three to two.

"I'm excited that the committee concluded the Umpire Decision Review System had a positive effect on the game," ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in June.

"It reduced the number of incorrect decisions and also cut down on instances of player dissent."

Hawk-Eye (measuring the trajectory of the ball until the point of impact with bat, pad or batsman), ultra-slow motion cameras and "Hot Spot" were among the expensive devices experimented with during the ICC's trials - although the predictive element of Hawk-Eye has not yet been used in Tests.

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see also
ICC drops TV referrals for Ashes
12 May 09 |  Cricket
Smith against TV referral system
02 Mar 09 |  Cricket
Fletcher backs referral system
01 Mar 09 |  England
Swann defends umpiring referrals
28 Feb 09 |  England
Referrals change for England tour
29 Jan 09 |  Cricket
England in South Africa 2009-10
17 Jan 10 |  England
Sri Lanka in India 2009
28 Nov 09 |  Cricket

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