The International Cricket Council (ICC) might do away with the soft signal ahead of the ICC World Test Championship final in June. The rule has been under scrutiny for some time and came under the scanner in the recently concluded T20I series between India and England. Indian batsman Suryakumar Yadav was controversially given out in the fourth T20I. The soft-signal is a rule which has been debated ever since it has been put into action. During the match, Surya hit a ball that went to the fine leg fielder. Dawid Malan took the catch and it seemed that it was taken cleanly. However, on further examination, it was found that the ball might have touched the ground before Malan gathered it.
The issue here was with the rule itself. The on-field umpire has to send a soft-signal to the third umpire before sending the decision to him. If the third umpire finds ‘conclusive evidence’ to overrule the decision then he can decide on that. However, if that doesn’t happen then he has to stay with the on-field call, which is the soft-signal. The issue with this is quite simple. The images which the umpire sees is a 2-D representation of an event that happens in 3-D. The Indian captain Virat Kohli was also critical of the rule during the post-match presentation. He said that the umpires should be allowed to give an ‘I don’t know’ call and also said that these decisions can affect the match by a margin.
It was also reported that BCCI secretary Jay Shah had initiated a debate at the ICC’s board meeting regarding this. Unlike the umpire’s call debate, Anil Kumble-led cricket committee might decide to do away with the soft-signal rule. There are chances that there will be changes in the soft-signal rule of on-field catches. The decision will take some time to come but for now, the wheels are in motion.