ICC Removes Umpire’s ‘Soft Signal’ Requirement in Playing Conditions Change

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On Monday, the International Cricket Council (ICC) implemented a series of changes to their playing conditions, which were recommended by the Men’s Cricket Committee led by former India captain Sourav Ganguly and endorsed by the Women’s Cricket Committee. Among these changes, the most significant was the removal of the on-field umpire’s soft signal during referrals.

Previously, umpires were required to give a soft signal when referring catches that were difficult to judge on field. The TV umpire would then rule in favor of the soft signal if replays weren’t conclusive enough. However, under the new rules, umpires will no longer have to give a soft signal while referring decisions to the TV umpire.

Another significant change introduced by the ICC is the mandatory use of helmets for batters facing fast bowlers and for wicket keepers standing close to the stumps. This rule has also been extended to other fielders positioned near the batter, such as silly point and short leg.

In an official release, the ICC stated that the decision to remove the soft signal was made after much deliberation by the Men’s Cricket Committee. The committee concluded that soft signals were unnecessary and at times confusing since referrals of catches may seem inconclusive in replays.

The Chief Executives Committee formally ratified the decision on Monday, making it a part of the ICC’s playing conditions going forward. This change is expected to simplify the decision-making process and reduce the potential for controversial decisions based on soft signals.

In addition to these changes, the ICC has also introduced several other minor amendments to their playing conditions. These include changes to the Decision Review System (DRS) protocols, a revision to the ball-tampering laws, and updated regulations for the use of COVID-19 replacements in Test cricket.

The changes to the DRS protocols are designed to simplify the system and reduce the potential for errors. Under the new rules, teams will no longer lose a review when an LBW decision is deemed “Umpire’s Call.” Instead, the review will be retained, but the team will not be able to challenge any further decisions in that innings.

The revised ball-tampering laws have been introduced to clarify the existing rules and ensure that players are aware of the consequences of tampering with the ball. The new regulations specify the penalties for various levels of ball tampering, ranging from a warning to a ban from the game.

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