Indian captain Virat Kohli has questioned the concept of ‘soft signal’ that attracted a lot of attention after Surya Kumar Yadav’s dismissal in the fourth T20I between India and England at Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
During the game, which the hosts won by eight runs, Surya, while facing Sam Curran in the 14th over, played a glory shot in the deep fine region. He got across on his knee and smashed the white leather over fine leg, but the timing wasn’t there, and Dawid Malan ran in to take the catch.
The on-field umpire, KN Ananthapadmanabhan, gave the soft signal as ‘out’. However, in the replays, one of the frames clearly suggested that the ball had touched the ground. TV umpire Virender Sharma found “no conclusive evidence” but still did not overturn the on-field umpire’s initial soft-signal call.
According to ICC, “Soft signal is the visual communication by the bowler’s end umpire to the third umpire (accompanied by additional information via two-way radio where necessary) of his/her initial on-field decision before initiating an Umpire Review.”
Captain Kohli shared his stance on the same during the post-match presentation, stating umpires should refrain from giving soft-signal if there is any doubt.
“There was an instance during the Test series when I was next to Jinks, and he clearly caught the ball, but he wasn’t sure, so we went upstairs. If it is a half and half effort and the fielder is in doubt, there is no way the umpire from the square leg can see it clearly. The soft signal becomes that important, and it becomes tricky. I don’t know why there can’t be an ‘I don’t know’ call with the umpires as well. It is similar to the umpire’s call as well,” said Kohli.
Kohli said that these decisions change the course of the game completely, especially in crunch matches. The Delhi-lad suggested that this process is not ideal in high-pressure fixtures.
“These are decisions that can change the course of the game, especially in these big games. We were on the receiving side today, and tomorrow it could be some other team. You want these ironed out and keep the game really simple and linear. It isn’t ideal in high-pressure games and have a lot of clarity on the field,” he added.