While the International Cricket Council introduced 3 key changes to the current Decision Review System, the top cricket body retained the contentious ‘Umpire’s call’ rule that came under harsh criticism by the Indian cricket team during the recently concluded India vs England T20 series.
Earlier, deliveries that just hit the stumps by 50% anywhere across its length, barring the bails, were considered legitimate. This means before the new rule, if the on-field umpire rules ‘out’ and the ball has hit the top edge of the bail, then the decision could be reversed. Whereas now, if 50% of the ball hits the bail, it will be considered out.
The Umpire’s call is when the DRS gives the benefit of the doubt to the on-field umpire’s original call and that hasn’t changed.
And this protocol became quite an issue during India’s 4th T20I against England when India lost 2 crucial wickets in a highly controversial manner.
On two occasions, the on-field umpire gave a soft signal out in both cases and thereafter referred it to the TV umpire. In absence of ‘conclusive evidence’, the TV umpire upheld his decision.
Apart from the soft signal issue, Indian captain Virat Kohli had also raised concerns about LBW decisions on Umpire’s call. The decision states that at least 50% of the ball has to hit any part of the stump. If it is less than 50%, then the batsman will survive on Umpire’s call if the on-field decision is not out.
The star Indian batsman feels Umpire’s call is ‘confusing’ had called for a game of cricket which is ‘linear, simple, and without any grey areas.'
So, has ICC considered Kohli’s suggestion?
Although the 3 changes introduced by ICC’s high-profile cricket committee are around the DRS, they have hardly touched the Umpire’s call protocol. On the contrary, ICC’s cricket committee head, Anil Kumble justified the decision of retaining the controversial rule.