Malan ‘catch’ exhibits why ‘tender sign’ should go

Chandigarh, March 19

The dismissal of Suryakumar Yadav off a low ‘catch’ by Dawid Malan, after a stunning knock of 57 in his maiden international innings, has led to a debate on the wisdom of the on-field umpire giving a ‘soft signal’ on something he’s uncertain about.

Malan’s catch seemed good on first viewing, but on replay, it seemed he had grounded the ball. However, on-field umpire KN Ananthapadmanabhan had given a soft signal of ‘out’. Replays strongly suggested the catch was not clean, but for TV umpire Virender Sharma, the evidence was not enough to overturn the on-field’s umpire’s decision.

Ex-captains’ verdict

Incidentally, MCC’s World Cricket Committee, which includes former international captains including Ricky Ponting, Kumar Sangakkara, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, and umpire Kumar Dharmasena, discussed the matter of the soft signal in case of outfield catches in a recent meeting, after which it stated: “The committee felt that the soft-signal system worked well for catches within the 30-yard fielding circle, but that catches near the boundary often left the umpires unsighted. It was proposed that, for such catches, the on-field umpires could give an ‘unsighted’ instruction to the TV umpire, rather than the more explicit soft signal of ‘out’ or ‘not out’.”

The soft signal is given by the on-field umpire on the basis of his instinctive ‘feeling’ about an event he is not sure about. In Yadav’s case, it led to a wrong decision of out against him because the third umpire didn’t find evidence to rule him not out.

Skipper Harmanpreet ruled out of T20 opener against South Africa

Lucknow: India skipper Harmanpreet Singh has been ruled out of the opening women’s T20 International of the three-match series against South Africa due to an injury, vice-captain Smriti Mandhana said today. Harmanpreet suffered a hip-flexor injury while batting in the fifth ODI against the same opponents on Wednesday. The series opener will be held tomorrow. “She (Harmanpreet) is out of tomorrow’s match and the rest of the update on her condition will be given by the medical team,” Mandhana said. PTI

India captain Virat Kohli later called for changes to the ‘soft-signal’ rule for outfield catches. “Why can’t there be an, ‘I don’t know’ call from the umpire?” Kohli said. “Why does it have to be conclusive? These things sometimes can really change the course of a whole game. You want these things ironed out as much as possible, keep this game simple, keep it linear, have one set of rules which are not grey areas.”


Former England captain Michael Atherton, one of the commentators for the match in the UK, said he was not in support of the soft signal for outfield catches. “The third umpire had a long look at that and the key thing here — and it is a thing I have a slight problem with — is the on-field umpire’s call is out and therefore the third umpire made exactly the right call: he said it is inconclusive, I’ve got to go with the on-field umpire’s call which was out,” Atherton said.

“But how you have a soft signal from the umpire standing in the middle for a boundary catch is beyond me. I don’t how the on-field umpire can see that when the fielder makes a catch on the boundary,” he added.

“I can absolutely understand why an on-field umpire gets a good view of the catch inside the inner circle, but when it is out on the boundary, 50 metres away, there’s no way that the standing umpire can see whether Dawid Malan has caught that,” Atherton said. “So the soft signal for boundary catches is nonsense. You just send it upstairs and let the third umpire make his call. There’s no way that the standing umpire can see that: he has not got X-ray eyes from 50 yards away.” — TNS

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