No ‘soft signal’ in WTC final

Wednesday 17th May 2023 06:38 EDT

The on-field ‘soft signal’ from umpires will be a thing of the past as it has been removed from the playing conditions for the World Test Championship (WTC) final between India and Australia in London next month. The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday also announced some other changes in playing conditions effective from June 1.
The ‘soft signal’ while referring catches to the third umpire had become a contentious issue over the years with players across the globe criticizing the practice. Earlier, the on-field umpires would refer a catch that needed to be checked to the third umpire, but would also give a signal suggesting their own decision. The third umpire needed to have ‘conclusive evidence’ to overturn the on-field call. Form now, such catches will be solely decided by the third umpire.

The playing conditions were reworked by the ICC cricket committee led by former India captain Sourav Ganguly. The ‘soft signal’ was also abolished from the IPL two years ago when Ganguly was the president of the Indian cricket board.

Flood lights allowed

The ICC has also allowed the use of flood lights during the WTC final. Like the last WTC final between India and New Zealand in Southampton in 2021, the ICC has also retained the sixth day which is a reserved day if the match is affected by bad weather.

Batters may get runs even after getting bowled!

In another significant change, the ICC has decided to award runs to the batters off Free Hits even if the ball hits the stumps. It could be the first time a batter could get runs for not hitting the ball with the bat. “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,” the ICC statement read.

Helmets must
With an increase in on-field concussion incidents, the cricket committee also made helmets mandatory for batters while facing fast bowlers, wicketkeepers keeping up to stumps and fielders in close-in positions in front of the wicket.

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