ICC to change the 'soft signal' rule before the WTC final - Reports 

Dawid Malan
Dawid Malan's controversial catch in the fourth T20I brought the ICC's 'soft signal' rule to the fore.
Modified 26 Mar 2021

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is set to amend its contentious 'soft signal' rule before the World Test Championship (WTC) final in June.

The soft signal rule, explained in detail here, 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 fore in the fourth India-England T20I in Pune when Dawid Malan caught Suryakumar Yadav at the fine-leg boundary. Malan claimed the catch, but replays showed that he might have grassed it.

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 evidence that could have reversed the on-field decision. The batsman was eventually ruled out. That triggered a furore 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 need to changes.

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 moot 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 issue now. The process may take some time, but the BCCI has, at least, set the ball rolling.


Virat Kohli's take on the 'soft signal' rule

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli

Indian captain Virat Kohli hasn't been coy 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 umpires. 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.

Published 26 Mar 2021, 11:44 IST
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