Kolkata: The International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Indian cricket board are clearly not on the same page regarding the issue of umpires’ call on any contentious decision on the ground. Barely a few days after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced that Indian Premier League will not have the call and refer it directly to the third umpire, the Cricket Committee of ICC has decided to retain it after deliberations over two days.
Justifying the decisions taken by the ICC Cricket Committee, it’s chairman and former Indian captain Anil Kumble said the decision to retain the call from the umpire on a range of issues - from a leg before wicket appeal to if a catch on the boundary line cleanly is based on the premise that he is the ‘decision-maker’ on the ground.
“The Cricket Committee had an excellent discussion around Umpire’s Call and analysed its use extensively. The principle underpinning DRS (Decision Review System) was to correct clear errors in the game whilst ensuring the role of the umpire as the decision-maker on the field of play was preserved, bearing in mind the element of prediction involved with the technology. Umpire’s Call allows that to happen, which is why it is important it remains.”
The decision is in contrast to the line of thinking in BCCI, where Indian captain Virat Kohli had been extremely vocal that umpires should directly refer any 50-50 decision to the third umpire to take advantage of technology. The IPL, being a domestic tournament of the BCCI, is under no obligation to follow the ICC rules and have circulated their own amendments to the playing conditions to the eight franchises.
In addition, committee also brought in three major changes to the DRS and third umpire protocols, which are going to have a significant influence on decision-making:
• For LBW reviews, the height margin of the Wicket Zone will be lifted to the top of the stumps (including the bails) to ensure the same Umpire’s Call margin around the stumps for both height and width.
• A player will be able to ask the umpire whether a genuine attempt has been made to play the ball before deciding to review an LBW decision.
• The Third Umpire will check a replay of any ‘short run’ that has been called and correct any error prior to the next ball being bowled.
The ICC Board, during their deliberations, received assurances from the BCCI with regard to obtaining tax exemptions from the Indian government as well as visa guarantees (a demand from the Pakistan Cricket Board) as a pre-requisite to host the 2021 T20 World Cup in October-November. ‘‘It is anticipated that both issues will be resolved over the next month,’’ the ICC statement said.
The Board agreed to postpone the inaugural ICC Women’s U19 Cricket World Cup 2021 which was due to be held in Bangladesh at the end of the year. COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the establishment and subsequent development of the U19 programmes in many countries and teams would not be able prepare appropriately for a global event later this year. As such, the inaugural event will now take place in January 2023.
Member Support Fund
The ICC Board agreed to set up a Member Support Fund for Cricket with $ five million being made available in grants to support the playing of international cricket. The fund will be made available in form of a “co-payment” contribution with a maximum grant of 50% being available for Members upon application.