The weak signal will be gone for good. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has made the much-discussed and long-awaited change to the international games’ playing conditions (PCs). The change is likely to take effect at the end of the World Test Championship (WTC) in London next month.
Cricadda knows that the change, which was accepted by the ICC cricket committee, which is led by Sourav Ganguly, has been told to the two WTC finalists, India and Australia. The new rule will be in the PCs for the game at The Oval from June 7-12.
It is also known that the floodlights can be turned on during the game if the natural light isn’t good enough. The one-off game will have a reserve day (the sixth), which is another big change that everyone knows about.
The soft signal rule has caused a lot of trouble, and many staunch supporters have called for it to be thrown out. “ICC should get rid of the soft signal and let the 3rd umpire, who has all the technology, make the call when the on-field umpires send it upstairs. All the controversy is always about the soft signal.” This isn’t a comment on the decision, just so you know,” England red ball captain Ben Stokes said earlier this year after a controversial call by Marnus Labuschagne in a Test between Australia and South Africa.
Last year, when Saud Shakeel was given out in a Test in Pakistan, Stokes’s England team won a match against Pakistan because of an unclear call. At the time, most people thought the opposite, and the captain of Pakistan, Babar Azam, said that the third umpire’s call cost them the match.
ICC rules say that a “Soft Signal” is when the bowler’s end umpire shows the third umpire (and, if necessary, gives more information via two-way radio) his or her initial choice on the field before starting an Umpire Review.
The rule also says, “Should both on-field umpires need help from the third umpire to make a decision, the bowler’s end umpire shall first make a decision on-field after consulting with the striker’s end umpire, before consulting by two-way radio with the third umpire.” The bowler’s end judge will start the conversation with the third umpire by making the shape of a TV screen with his or her hands. This will be followed by a soft signal of out or not out with the hands close to the chest at chest height. If the third umpire says the replay proof isn’t clear, the decision made on the field at the beginning of the consultation process will stand.
Simply put, the soft signal rule says that the umpire on the field has to make a decision, even if he isn’t sure, before sending it to the third umpire. The third umpire can only change the decision if there is clear proof from the video footage. With the new rule, the third judge will have the final say when a catch isn’t clear.
Jay Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), brought up the problem at an ICC forum in 2021, a long time before Stokes made his open call. Now, Shah is also a member of the ICC Cricket Committee.