The International Cricket Council (ICC) has taken a major decision and announced that they have removed the controversial ‘soft signal’ among a couple of other two major changes to playing conditions. Sourav Ganguly, the chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee, said the soft signal creates confusion and at times is unnecessary.
“The umpires will no longer be required to give a soft signal while referring decisions to the TV umpires. The on-field umpires will consult with the TV umpire before any decisions are taken,” ICC said in a press release on Monday.
Elaborating the same, Sourav Ganguly said, “Soft signals have been discussed at previous cricket committee meetings over the last couple of years. The committee deliberated this at length and concluded that soft signals were unnecessary and at times confusing since referrals of catches may seem inconclusive in replays.”
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Additionally, helmet protection has also become mandatory in international cricket for the following high-injury-risk situations for a player:
- When batters are facing fast bowlers
- When wicketkeepers are standing up to the stumps, and
- When fielders are close to the batter in front of the wicket.
Explaining the same, Sourav Ganguly said, “We also discussed player safety, which is very important for us. The committee decided that it was best to make the use of helmets mandatory in certain positions to ensure the safety of players.”
Three new changes announced to the Playing Conditions ahead of the #ENGvIRE Test and #WTC23 final 🚨https://t.co/N0PNSVGC5q
— ICC (@ICC) May 15, 2023
There’s another major rule change concerning the free hit. Any runs scored off a Free Hit when the ball hits the stumps will count as runs scored, to be consistent with all other runs scored from a free hit. During the T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan in Australia last year, Virat Kohli was bowled off a free-hit and then ran three runs which were given as byes.
However, Pakistan skipper, Babar Azam wasn’t amused and complained to the on-field umpires if the runs should be awarded. However, the decision went in the favor of the Indian team.
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The ICC Cricket Committee: Sourav Ganguly (Chair); Mahela Jayawardena and Roger Harper (Past Players); Daniel Vettori and VVS Laxman (Representatives of Current Players); Gary Stead (Member Team Coach Representative); Jay Shah (Full Members’ Representative); Joel Wilson (Umpires’ Representative); Ranjan Madugalle (ICC Chief Referee); Jamie Cox (MCC Representative); Kyle Coetzer (Associate Representative); Shaun Pollock (Media Representative); Greg Barclay and Geoff Allardice (Ex Officio – ICC Chair and Chief Executive); Clive Hitchcock (Committee Secretary); David Kendix (Statistician).