With the new season of the Indian Premier League less than a fortnight away, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has decided to introduce a new set of guidelines for the upcoming season. Two of those major rule changes brought by BCCI are the abolishment of soft signal and the introduction of time restriction.
The soft signal created a furor in the recently finished India vs England T20I series when Suryakumar Yadav was given out in the third T20I despite replays showing the ball had touched the ground. The BCCI has removed the rule of soft signal in the IPL. As per the new rule, the on-field umpire’s soft signal will not have any bearing on the third umpire’s decision. “The on-field umpire giving soft signal while referring the decision to the third umpire will not be applicable,” the BCCI stated.
Dwelling further on this, the BCCI said, “Should both on-field umpires require assistance from the third umpire to make a decision, the bowler’s end umpire shall firstly take a decision on-field after consulting with the striker’s end umpire, before consulting by two-way radio with the third umpire. Such consultation shall be initiated by the bowler’s end umpire to the third umpire by making the shape of a TV screen with his/her hands. The third umpire shall determine whether the batsman has been caught, whether the delivery was a bump ball, or if the batsman willfully obstructed the field. In case of a fair catch, the third umpire will use all the technological support available to him/her. The third umpire shall communicate his/her decision.”
There has been a clamour to abolish soft signal in the cricket world and India skipper Virat Kohli was the most vocal against the rule. He has also been against the umpire’s call in LBW decisions but the BCCI has decided to stick with it.
The BCCI has also stated in the revised playing conditions that the 20th over must be finished in 90 minutes. Earlier, the 20th over was to start by the 90th minute.
According to Cricbuzz, the BCCI said, “As a measure to control the match timings, the 20th over in each innings is now included in 90 minutes, earlier the 20th over was to start on or before the 90th minute.”
Elaborating on the point, the BCCI said, “The minimum over rate to be achieved in IPL Matches shall be 14.11 overs per hour (ignoring the time taken by time-outs). In uninterrupted matches, this means that the 20th over should finish within 90 minutes (being 85 minutes of playing time plus 5 minutes of time-out) of the start of the innings. For delayed or interrupted matches where an innings is scheduled to be less than 20 overs, the maximum time of 90 minutes shall be reduced by 4 minutes 15 seconds for every over by which the innings is reduced.”
Dwelling more on the timings, the BCCI has entrusted the responsibility of ensuring the rule on the fourth umpire and empowered him to warn the batting side if it indulged in time-wasting tactics. “In the event of any time allowances being granted to the fielding team under clause 188.8.131.52 above (time wasting by batting team), then such time shall be deducted from the allowances granted to such batting team in the determination of its over rate. The fourth umpire should ensure that the batting captain (if not at the wicket) and the team manager are both aware of any warnings.”
The board has also amended the short run call by the umpires. It has authorised the third umpire to overrule the on-field umpire’s decision on cutting down a run off the batting team’s total. Last year, there was a massive controversy during the erstwhile Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) and Delhi Capitals game where a wrong Short Run call by the square leg umpire cost Punjab side.
The changes, BCCI said, will come into effect from April 1.