NEW DELHI: Bowlers all around the world got a shot in the arm from the International Cricket Council (ICC) as world cricket’s governing body took an interesting step with regards to LBW review calls under the Decision Review System (DRS).
The ICC’s Cricket Committee, headed by former Indian leg-spinner Anil Kumble, decided to extend the ‘wicket zone’ area from the bottom edge of the bails to the top-most tip of the bails.
This effectively increases the chance of bowlers getting more LBW decisions in their favour, if and when an on-field umpire’s decision is reviewed. Previously, deliveries clipping the bails ended up staying with the on-field umpire’s call.
Under DRS, if more than 50 percent of the ball is hitting the ‘wicket zone’ then an on-field not out decision can be reversed to out.
So what’s the ‘wicket zone’ that ICC considers legitimate? The ‘wicket zone’ is the total area of the stumps, height and width combined. Previously, the height of the stumps that was considered valid under DRS was till the bottom edge of the bails. But now, after the rule change, the height of the stumps will increase till the topmost tip of the bails.
According to the cricket laws, a bail’s overall height in senior level cricket should be 4.31 inches or 10.95cm. When the bail nestles within the groove of the stumps, it protrudes out around 2.94 inches or 7.5cm. So, after the rule change, that’s an extra 2.94 inches/7.5cm room to play for the bowlers.
With the new rule, a little more than 50 percent of the ball hitting the top edge of the bails would be sufficient to reverse an on-field decision after a review is taken.
‘Umpire’s call’ retained
The ‘umpire’s call’ factor in DRS has caused a lot of controversy and has generated polarized opinions. Virat Kohli, during the recent ODI series against England, said that the ‘umpire’s call’ aspect was causing “a lot of confusion”. The ICC, however, has decided to retain the ‘umpire’s call’ element in DRS.
“The principle underpinning DRS 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,” Anil Kumble said in an ICC press release.
Shot played or not?
In another important change, a team can now ask the umpire whether “a genuine attempt has been made to play the ball” (deliberate padding or not) before going for a review. Earlier, the umpire’s inference was binding and the fielding team wasn’t allowed to raise any objection on the field.
Besides, just like the no-ball calls, decisions related to whether there is a ‘short-run’ or not will now be the third umpire’s responsibility.