London: The Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee met recently via conference call and discussed a range of topics including the umpire's call aspect of the Decision Review System (DRS). While some members felt that it would be simpler if the original decision was disregarded on review, other members expressed satisfaction with the current system.
"The committee debated the use of 'Umpire's Call' for LBW decisions made via the Decision Review System, which some members felt was confusing to the watching public, particularly when the same ball could either be Out or Not out depending on the on-field umpire's original decision. They felt it would be simpler if the original decision was disregarded on review, and that there was a simple Out or Not out, with no Umpire's Call," MCC said in a statement. "The 'hitting zone' of the stumps would still be retained, which had to be hit by at least 50% of the ball for an Out decision. If such a protocol was introduced, they felt it should also include a reduction to one unsuccessful review per team, or for the relevant review to be lost irrespective of its outcome. Other members were satisfied with the current system, feeling that it was important to retain the human element of the on-field umpire's decision, which takes into account the 'benefit of the doubt' that has existed in umpires' decisions for many years. They felt that supporters did understand the concept of 'Umpire's Call'," it added.
The statement said that the MCC will share various opinions with the ICC Cricket Committee. Also, MCC said that on the DRS more widely, the committee felt that ICC should provide the same technology for all international cricket, rather than relying on the host broadcasters' own agreements. It also felt that the TV umpire should look at replays from a neutral perspective, rather than trying to see if there is evidence to overturn the on-field decision.
"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," MCC said.
The committee also discussed short-pitched bowling. Also, the statement said that MCC will embark on a global consultation on whether the Law relating to short-pitched deliveries is fit for the modern game.
"The committee heard that MCC is to embark on a global consultation on whether the Law relating to short-pitched deliveries is fit for the modern game. As Guardian of the Laws of the game, it is MCC's duty to ensure that the Laws are applied in a safe manner, a viewpoint consistent across all sports. With research into concussion in sport having increased significantly in recent years, it is appropriate that MCC continues to monitor the Laws on short-pitched bowling, as it does with all other Laws," MCC said.
"...The committee discussed the Law and were unanimous that short-pitched bowling is a core part of the game, particularly at the elite level. There was also discussion on other aspects of the game at all levels which may mitigate the risk of injury. They agreed to provide feedback during the consultation, which will begin with a survey that is due to be distributed in March 2021 to the specific groups identified to partake in the exercise," it added.
MCC said data will be collected from these stakeholders by the end of June 2021, after which the results will be debated by various committees and sub-committees within the club, as well as the International Cricket Council (ICC), during the latter half of the year. The final proposal and recommendations, whether for a change of Law or not, will be decided by the MCC Committee in December 2021, with any decision to be publicised in early 2022, it added.
International cricket was brought to a standstill by the coronavirus pandemic last year and when international cricket returned to action after a hiatus, it resumed with several changes to safeguard everyone involved. One of them was a ban on applying saliva to the ball.
"Prior to the start of the England v West Indies Test series in 2020, there were interim changes made to the ICC's playing regulations, including the ban on applying saliva to the ball, in light of Covid-19. As Guardian of the Laws of the game, MCC assisted with the writing of the ICC's playing regulation and supported the recommendation. Similar regulations were also written for domestic and recreational cricket," MCC said.
"... The committee debated prohibiting the use of saliva on the ball on a permanent basis and whilst there was a significant level of support for such a recommendation, some members felt that eliminating the use of saliva on a permanent basis is premature, and that it may be possible to allow its use once again in a post-Covid world," it added.
The committee members are as follow: Mike Gatting - Chairman, John Stephenson - MCC Assistant Secretary (Cricket), Suzie Bates, Sir Alastair Cook, Kumar Dharmasena, Sourav Ganguly, Tim May, Brendon McCullum, Ricky Ponting, Ramiz Raja, Kumar Sangakkara, Ricky Skerritt, Vince van der Bijl, Shane Warne.