South Africa’s recent series in New Zealand was marred by criticism of the DRS, with the ball-tracking, hot-spot and Snicko components coming up with results that were seemingly at odds with what was seen live.
England, meanwhile, have been struggling to adapt to the system in tests against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, their crease-bound batsmen falling to record numbers of leg-before-wicket decisions via DRS.
“I did read a report that there were issues with the set-up of the cameras, which obviously isn’t ideal, and there has been a lot of skepticism about the last bit of the ball-tracking. But DRS has become an integral part of the game, it’s great for the fans and I can’t imagine playing without it,” Smith told a news conference at Johannesburg International Airport on Wednesday.
“It was designed to take away the shocking decision and it’s done that. I’d like to see it play a prominent part in international cricket,” Smith added.
South Africa won both the T20 and one-day international portions of their tour to New Zealand, before dominating the test series but being restricted to a 1-0 win due to bad weather. Smith said the results made him confident that his team could beat both England and Australia on their home turf later this year.
“I definitely think we can beat both England and Australia away. We have a lot of the same players who did it in 2008/9, but we have an extra edge now in terms of the way we think about the way we play and train, plus there’s the addition of players like Vernon Philander, Marchant de Lange and Lopsy Tsotsobe.
“But we know those two teams play very well at home and you’ve got to handle the pressure of big crowds and the media being against you. England will have played a lot of competitive cricket by the time we get there and it’s a tough place to win. So it’s a very big tour for us, but we’ve crossed that hurdle before and we know we can do it,” Smith said.
The burly left-hander led South Africa to a 2-1 series win in England in 2008 before they won the first two tests of their three-match series in Australia later that year.
Smith said that, while on tour for six weeks in New Zealand, the team had grown more accustomed to the leadership of former India coach Gary Kirsten, who took over as coach of his own country’s national team last June.
“The players were able to grow relationships and styles and how they fit into the environment and the work ethic. They were all able to find their place in the squad and Gary and his management team offered us everything possible for success,” Smith said.
It was a sentiment shared by Kirsten.
“It’s more important what the players learnt from me. It was nice to be on tour, a long way from home, and to connect well as a team. We have lofty standards as a team and I thought we made great progress. The tour taught us about our strengths and capabilities,” Kirsten said.
The former opening batsman singled out the bowling attack, which struck fear into the hearts of the Kiwis: ” I thought the bowling unit was outstanding, they bowled with real intensity and proved that they are a world-class attack. And the batting got better through the tour as well ,” Kirsten said.