India in SA
Van Zyl: Extend referral use
Johannesburg - The Umpire Decision Referral System should be used in all Test matches, South Africa coach Corrie van Zyl said on Monday ahead of his team's high-profile home series against top-ranked India.
The system, which allows players to challenge umpires' decisions with the help of TV technology, will not be used during the three-Test series between Test cricket's top two teams starting Thursday at Centurion.
But Van Zyl said "it would be fair and good for Test cricket" for it to be implemented across all series involving every nation.
"I'll be very honest, I would love to have had the referral system (in the series against India)," Van Zyl said. "I think the referral system needs to be (used) throughout all Tests.
"It's difficult to see a referral system used in one Test series and not in another series, so personally I'd like to see the referral system played throughout."
UDRS is in use in the Ashes Tests between Australia and England but India chose not to have it in South Africa, with India's cricket board saying it is still not convinced by the system. Both teams must agree to it being used.
Earlier this month, Proteas captain Graeme Smith was reported as saying he wanted the International Cricket Council to manage the use of the UDRS and not leave it up to individual countries.
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat told the Australian Associated Press on Sunday that while the use of the technology could undergo further review and changes could be made, he thinks the UDRS is winning over "more and more people."
Some teams have quickly adjusted to its use since its trial introduction in 2008, with Smith saying the South Africans had "mastered it" in their last home series against England.
However, the Board for Control of Cricket in India is not certain of the reliability of the technology and has opposed its use in South Africa.
Van Zyl also said on Monday that Smith was fit after the opening batsman fractured his left hand in a one-day game against Pakistan last month.
"Graeme's hand is good, the doctors have cleared him and he's ready to go," Van Zyl said, but added the South African skipper had not batted against "hard" cricket balls since his recovery and would need to pass a fitness test.
The India squad, which is coached by former South Africa batsman Gary Kirsten, has joined up in Johannesburg after some of its leading players, including captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and batsman Sachin Tendulkar, spent a week in Cape Town preparing. The remainder of the squad arrived in South Africa on Sunday following a 5-0 ODI series whitewash of New Zealand.
India has never won a test series in South Africa in its four attempts since the 1992/93 season, but arrives this time as the five-day game's dominant team after seven victories and two draws in its last nine series.
"This Indian team is not No 1 in the Test rankings for nothing," Van Zyl said. "They are obviously a very good team. They've played really good cricket over the last couple of years and that's why they are No 1.
"I think it's an excellent Indian team that's coming to our shores."