The ICC Cricket Committee has made some key changes concerning the Decision Review System (DRS) calls for LBWs. The controversial “Umpire’s Call” has been retained by the Anil Kumble-led ICC Cricket Committee.
Umpire’s Call in the context of LBW reviews has split the cricketing fraternity's opinion since its inception. Many have appealed to the ICC to remove Umpire’s Call, stating it causes confusion and leads to inconsistency in decision making.
ICC Cricket Committee head Anil Kumble explained the body’s take, discussing why the controversial Umpire’s Call has not been done away with.
“The Cricket Committee had an excellent discussion around Umpire’s Call and analysed its use extensively. The principle under pinning DRS was to correct clear errors in the game whilst ensuring the role of the umpire as the decision-maker on the field of play was preserved, bearing in mind the element of prediction involved with the technology. Umpire’s Call allows that to happen, which is why it is important it remains,” Kumble said
While the ICC has decided to stick with Umpire’s Call, the committee has made several key changes to how LBW reviews will be judged. The most crucial of them are the changes as to how the hitting zone is calculated.
The hitting zone earlier finished at the bottom of the bails. However, the ICC now rules that the wicket's hitting zone will be extended to the top of the bails, thus increasing the area where a ball must hit to be classified as hitting. If more than half of the ball is hitting the zone, the DRS will rule it as hitting and not Umpire’s Call.
‘For LBW reviews, the height margin of the Wicket Zone will be lifted to the top of the stumps to ensure the same Umpire’s Call margin around the stumps for both height and width,’ stated ICC
ICC announces two other changes to LBW reviews
The presence of DRS has also seen teams review instances where the batsman offers no shot while padding the delivery. However, DRS calls came under scrutiny on occasions where it was unclear whether the batsman offered a shot or not.
Amending the rule, ICC now states players on the field will be able to consult the umpires about the same before taking the decision upstairs.
‘A player will be able to ask the umpire whether a genuine attempt has been made to play the ball before deciding to review an LBW decision,’ revealed ICC's media release
The ICC Cricket Committee has also granted additional powers to the third umpire, allowing officials to rule on short-run calls.
‘The 3rd Umpire will check a replay of any short-run that has been called and correct any error prior to the next ball being bowled,' ICC stated
ICC’s decision to stick with Umpire’s Call will surely attract criticism. However, the other changes, including redefining the hitting zone, will help in making LBW calls more consistent in the future.