The International Cricket Council (ICC) has made significant decisions, introducing changes to playing conditions, which include the elimination of the controversial “soft signal.” The ICC announced these modifications in a press release on Monday.
— ICC (@ICC) May 15, 2023
According to the new rules, umpires will no longer be required to provide a soft signal while referring decisions to the TV umpire. Instead, the on-field umpires will consult with the TV umpire before making any final decisions. This decision comes after extensive discussions within the ICC Cricket Committee, where the drawbacks of the soft signal were thoroughly debated.
Sourav Ganguly, the chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee, expressed that soft signals often create confusion and are unnecessary in many instances. The committee took into consideration the inconclusive nature of referrals involving catches in replays, which can lead to further confusion.
The ICC has also prioritized player safety and has mandated the use of helmets in specific high-risk positions in international cricket. The following positions now require the use of helmets:
- Batters facing fast bowlers.
- Wicketkeepers standing up to the stumps.
- Fielders positioned close to the batter in front of the wicket.
Ganguly emphasized the importance of player safety and stated that making helmets mandatory in these positions is a necessary step to ensure the well-being of players.
Another significant rule change pertains to free hits. Any runs scored off a free hit will now count as runs, even if the ball hits the stumps. This alteration aims to bring consistency to the scoring of runs from a free hit.
An incident during the T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan in Australia last year highlighted the need for this modification. Virat Kohli was bowled off a free hit but managed to score three runs through byes, which were allowed under the previous rules.
The ICC Cricket Committee: Sourav Ganguly (Chair); Mahela Jayawardena and Roger Harper (Past Players); Daniel Vettori and VVS Laxman (Representatives of Current Players); Gary Stead (Member Team Coach Representative); Jay Shah (Full Members’ Representative); Joel Wilson (Umpires’ Representative); Ranjan Madugalle (ICC Chief Referee); Jamie Cox (MCC Representative); Kyle Coetzer (Associate Representative); Shaun Pollock (Media Representative); Greg Barclay and Geoff Allardice (Ex Officio – ICC Chair and Chief Executive); Clive Hitchcock (Committee Secretary); David Kendix (Statistician).