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TV umpires to look for no-balls; trial to begin from India-West Indies series in December

If the trials come out with satisfactory results, then the TV umpire will have a more challenging task of looking at every ball to see if it’s a valid one.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: Twitter)

International cricket has been hit by some serious umpiring blunders of late. On-field umpires have come under the scanner for repeatedly failing to spot overstepping from bowlers — even the big ones — and it has left the cricketing world disappointed. The recent Test match between Australia and Pakistan in Brisbane saw the ground umpires failing to call 21 front-foot no-balls bowled by the visiting team and this has now made the case for the third umpire playing a bigger role in adjudicating no-balls stronger.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has also taken a strong note of the situation and one of its spokespersons has said that the sport’s highest governing body is set to conduct some trials over the next few months where the TV umpire is set to call no-balls, the Hindustan Times reported. The upcoming twin limited-over series between India and the West Indies next month will be the first in the experimentation.

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Similar developments in IPL as well

Even in the Indian Premier League (IPL), no-ball controversies led to a furore. In one of the matches in the 2019 edition, Mumbai Indians’ Lasith Malinga overstepped while delivering at a crucial moment of the match but the on-field umpire failed to detect it, resulting in the loss of the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

RCB captain Virat Kohli, who is also the national captain, was livid with the goof-up and questioned the seriousness of umpiring. The IPL’s Governing Council meeting took a decision in principle this week to take the power to call front-foot no-balls from the ground umpires in the next edition.

Though IPL chairman Brijesh Patel remarked there will be a separate umpire in the IPL just for calling no-balls, the responsibility could land up with the TV umpire. “It will be the third umpire’s duty. There would be no need to have another umpire for this,” one leading IPL official was quoted as saying.

While cricketers — current and former — are in favour of the third umpires taking up the added responsibility, former ICC umpire Simon Taufel feels differently. According to him, the job of the third umpire is already too much and hence it is the umpires who should be encouraged to make decisions.

If the trials come out with satisfactory results, then the TV umpire will have a more challenging task of looking at every ball to see if it’s a valid one.

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