Umpires are no longer required to give a soft signal when referring decisions to the TV umpire.
This was the major change to the playing conditions, among other tweaks, announced by the ICC on Monday.
The on-field umpires will now consult with the TV umpire before any decisions are taken.
“Soft signals have been discussed at previous cricket committee meetings over the last couple of years,” said Sourav Ganguly, who leads the Men’s Cricket Committee.
“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 other big announcement involved making helmets mandatory for high-risk positions. The compulsion of helmets will be for the following:
- When batsmen are facing fast bowlers
- When wicketkeepers are standing up to the stumps
- When fielders are close to the batsman in front of the wicket.
“We also discussed player safety, which is very important for us.,” Ganguly said. “The committee decided that it was best to make the use of helmets mandatory in certain positions to ensure the safety of players.”
There was also a minor addition to the free-hit rule with any runs scored off a free hit when the ball hits the stumps counted as runs scored from now. This would mean that batsmen can now be bowled off a free hit and attempt a run for the same.
The changes will come into effect on 1 June with the Lord’s Test between England and Ireland, a four-day one-off Test match. The World Test Championship final between India and Australia, starting 7 June, will also follow these new playing conditions.