ICC cricket committee retain umpire’s call
The Anil Kumble-led ICC cricket committee has decided to retain the much talked about ‘umpire’s call’ following a series of virtual conference calls despite strong reservations from India captain Virat Kohli who felt it created a “lot of confusion” during the recent series against England.
“The cricket committee had an excellent discussion around umpire’s call and analysed its use extensively,” said the former India captain. “The principle underpinning 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.”
Kohli had argued that the batsman should be declared out if the ball is hitting the stumps. “According to me, umpire’s call right now is creating a lot of confusion,” the India captain said ahead of the one-day series in Pune.
The committee, however, has approved changes to the way leg before referrals will be judged under the Decision Review System (DRS).
In a newly approved decision, the ICC board has agreed to increase the height of the ‘wicket zone’ — the area of the stumps the tracking technology must show the ball to be hitting for an on-field not out call to be overturned — to top of the bails. The zone till now was restricted to only the bottom of the bails, wherein the deliveries just clipping the bails returned an ‘umpire’s call’ verdict. If more than half the ball is predicted to hit this region, an on-field call of not out is reversed.
Additionally, “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.”
The third umpires will also now check any short-run that has been called and correct any error noted before the next ball is bowled.
The committee has also decided that the interim Covid-19 regulations introduced last year to ensure the resumption of international cricket would continue to be in place.
The ICC board also discussed the ongoing preparations around the ICC men’s T20 World Cup in India in October-November. “It included an update from the BCCI on positive discussions with the government around tax arrangements and visa guarantees. It is anticipated that both issues will be resolved over the next month,” the ICC said.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah, who attended the meeting, is learnt to have assured the ICC board that guarantees for tax exemption and visas for Pakistan players will be arranged.
In case the BCCI fails to get tax guarantees, it has agreed to bear the cost.
Teams can take up to seven additional players and/or support staff to accompany the squad of 23 to ICC events.