ICC (International Cricket Council) is all set to amend its contentious ‘soft signal’ rule before the beginning of the World Test Championship (WTC) final in June. The soft signal rule is the on-field umpire’s call, based on which a batsman can be ruled out or not out by the third umpire.
The contentious rule came to the forefront in the fourth India-England T20I in Pune when England’s fielder Dawid Malan caught Suryakumar Yadav at the fine-leg boundary. Dawid Malan claimed the catch, but replays showed that he might have grassed it.
ICC Eventually Decides To Amend The Soft Signal Rule Before WTC Final
The on-field umpire gave that out despite being far away from the action. The third umpire now had to find ‘conclusive evidence’ to overturn the on-field decision.
However, even after assessing multiple angles, the third umpire failed to find any such conclusive evidence that could have reversed the on-field decision. The batsman Suryakumar Yadav was eventually ruled out which raised a furor over how the on-field umpire can give a decision (read ‘soft signal’) when he does not have a clear sight of the incident in real-time.
Captain Virat Kohli, in the post-match presentation, as well as former players like VVS Laxman, called for a rethink on the contentious ‘soft signal’ rule.
According to a report in Cricbuzz, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah initiated the debate at the ICC’s board meeting on Thursday. He found support from other members who agreed that the protocols around the soft signal for out-field catches needs changes.
ICC Decides To Amend The Soft Signal Rule Especially Concerning Outfield Catches
The ICC eventually decided to amend the said rule before the World Test Championship summit clash between India and New Zealand later in the summer.
Unlike another debatable topic, the umpire’s call, the soft signal issue might not be referred to the Anil Kumble-led Cricket Committee. The report added that the ICC’s Chief Executives’ Committee will take up the matter not the Cricket Committee . The process may take some time, but the BCCI has, at least, set the ball rolling.
Indian captain Virat Kohli isn’t impressed and spoke candidly about the contentious soft-signal rule, especially when it concerns outfield catches where the on-field umpire is far away from the action. After the aforementioned T20I in Pune, which India won, Virat Kohli vouched for an ‘I don’t know’ call for the on field umpires.
It is also something that the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) recommended recently. MCC’s World Cricket Committee suggested that the on-field umpire should say ‘unsighted’ instead of ‘out’ or ‘not out’ for uncertain outfield catches.
He had said in this regard: “I don’t know why there can’t be an ‘I don’t know’ call with the umpires as well. These decisions can change the course of the game, especially in these big games. We were on the receiving side today, and tomorrow it could be some other team.”
Meanwhile, India and England meet in the second ODI in Pune on Friday. The WTC final between India and New Zealand is slated to be played in Southampton from June 18 to 22.