Technology plan for England's series in South Africa hit by cash battle

Confusion reigned over the game’s ill-fated referrals system on Tuesday when the ICC announced that it would be used for England’s Test series here without concluding negotiations with the host broadcaster.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation were taken by surprise when the ICC jumped the gun and said that the decision review system, which involves players attempting to overturn umpiring decisions through television, would be implemented here after all.

Earlier, Gerald Majola, chief executive of Cricket South Africa, had said that the innovation would not be used because of a dispute over who would foot the bill for the technology required.

Enlarge   Mickey Arthur

Find the funds: Mickey Arthur

The ICC are still insisting that the host broadcaster must pay but SABC, severely in debt, are still adamant that they cannot afford the likes of Hot Spot and ultra motion replays which form a regular part of Sky’s coverage in England.

The SABC are even concerned about having to pay around £25,000 to make sure the television umpire has a high definition screen available to him throughout the series, the ICC’s minimum requirement for the scheme to go ahead.

It all points to more problems with a flawed idea. Even if SABC reach agreement with the ICC it seems that the only real technology available to the umpires will be the predictive element of Hawk-Eye, which many television insiders feel is far from 100 per cent accurate.

Mickey Arthur, the South Africa coach, has called on the ICC and SABC to find the funds for as much technology as possible.

‘I hope if we are going to use this that we go the whole hog and bring in all the technology,’ said Arthur.

‘That will be the key to its success. In England, Sky have unbelievable facilities but you must have that all over the world. The goal has to be to standardise it.’

Jonathan Riley, executive producer of Octagon, who produce the SABC coverage, said: ‘We were told by Dave Richardson (of the ICC) that a minimum requirement was to have a high definition feed to the third umpire’s box.

‘We are still trying to get quotes from companies to put that in place - we are doing everything in our power to make that happen but we still have work to do.'

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now