BCCI Says No to Soft Signals in IPL 2021: Report
The Board of Control for Cricket in India has decided that there will be no ‘soft signals’ in IPL 2021. According to a report in The Sportstar, the IPL governing council has revised the playing conditions for the tournament, removing the soft signal rule which has come under the scanner in recent weeks. Even India captain Virat Kohli had spoken against soft signals during the ongoing series against England.
“After approval by the Governing Council, the board has updated the Appendix D – Clause 2.2.2 – of the Match Playing Conditions. The franchises have been informed that the ‘soft signal has been removed.’,” the report stated.
Umpire’s soft signal can be the default position when the evidence is deemed ‘inconclusive’ after the on-field umpire opts for the third umpire. This is exactly what happened with Suryakumar Yadav as he was given out in the third T20I despite replays showing otherwise.
“There was an instance during the Test series when I was next to Jinks (Ajinkya Rahane) and he clearly caught the ball but he wasn’t sure so we went upstairs. If it is a half and half effort and the fielder is in doubt, there is no way the umpire from square leg can see it clearly. The soft signal becomes that important and it becomes tricky. I don’t know why there can’t be an ‘I don’t know’ call with the umpires as well. It is similar to umpire’s call as well. These are decisions that 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. You want these ironed out and keep the game really simple and linear. It isn’t ideal in high pressure games and have a lot of clarity on the field,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation.
Later, Kohli also questioned the supposed ambiguity surrounding umpire’s call.
“I played for a long time when there was no DRS. Right. If the umpire made a decision, whether the batsman liked it or not, it stayed like that. Vice versa the umpire gave it not out and it was out, it stayed like that, whether it was marginal or not,” said Kohli ahead of the first ODI of a three-match series against England.
“According to me, umpire’s call right now is creating a lot of confusion. When you get bowled as a batsman, you don’t expect the ball to hit more than 50 per cent into the stumps to consider yourself bowled.
“So from basic cricket common-sense, I don’t think that there should be any debate on that. If the ball is clipping the stumps, that should be out whether you like it or not, you lose the review.”
“That’s how simple the game has to be if it hits the stumps, or it misses the stumps. It doesn’t matter how much it’s hitting, and those kinds of things, because it’s creating a lot of confusion.
“…and you know the one more factor that needs to be considered is that, you know, how the fielding team responds to a dismissal that is claimed is also somewhere, defining soft signals as well,” he said. “You have to question what the spirit of the game is and what those guidelines are, because if, things like that happened with the Indian cricket team overseas, then you are talking about a totally different conversation of spirit of the game…,” he asserted.
Kohli said the things could come to a head in high-stakes tournaments if controversial umpiring calls end up affecting results. “…there’s a lot at stake in the future with the big tournaments, and you don’t want some grey area factors in the game, which leaves you with no clarity to be the defining factors of those big tournaments.”