‘Soft signal’ given by umpires to be scrapped by International Cricket Council

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‘Soft signal’ given by umpires to be scrapped by International Cricket Council

The ‘soft signal’ given by on-field umpires when referring a catch will be scrapped this summer.

Umpires currently give an initial decision, usually when judging whether the ball has carried to a fielder, before the third umpire makes a final call from television replays.

The process is often criticised and now umpires will just consult with the TV umpire before any decision is made.

The change will come in for England’s Test against Ireland on 1 June.

It will also continue for the World Test Championship final between India and Australia a week later and the men’s and women’s Ashes series which follow.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has also introduced a new law making it mandatory for players to wear helmets in “high risk positions”.

Batters will have to wear helmets when facing fast bowling, wicketkeepers will have to do so when standing up to the stumps, as will fielders close to the bat in front of the wicket.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) ruled in 2015 that helmets would be compulsory for all male and female batters against all bowlers in ECB-governed professional cricket matches.

The ECB regulations, which also applied to England teams playing abroad and were strongly recommended for all recreational cricketers, also applied to wicketkeepers standing up, and to most fielders closer then eight yards – except slips behind the wicket on the off side.

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