‘Unnecessary’ soft signal to be scrapped in international cricket

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The soft signal is to be abolished in international cricket with the on-field officials to consult with the TV umpire before any decisions are made on contentious catches, the International Cricket Council has announced.

The change will come into effect for England’s four-day Test against Ireland at Lord’s from June 1, a game you can watch live on Sky Sports.

The soft signal saw on-field umpires give their initial verdict on a decision, usually on whether the ball had carried to a fielder, before referring it to the TV umpire for further inspection.

The TV umpire would only overturn the decision if there was conclusive evidence to contradict it.

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, chair of the ICC cricket committee, said: “Soft signals have been discussed at previous cricket committee meetings over the last couple of years.

“The committee deliberated this at length and concluded that soft signals were unnecessary and at times confusing since referrals of catches may seem inconclusive in replays.”

The ICC has also made it mandatory for players to wear helmets if they are batting against fast bowlers, are wicketkeeping up to the stumps, or if they are fielding close to the batter in front of the wicket.

Ganguly added: “We also discussed player safety, which is very important for us. The committee decided that it was best to make the use of helmets mandatory in certain positions to ensure the safety of players.”

In another ICC change, any runs scored off a free hit when the ball hits the stumps will now be given as runs as opposed to byes.

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