New Zealand recently sealed their two-match Test series against England by a margin of 1-0. The red-ball games gave the visitors a practice before the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) World Test Championship (WTC) final clash with India at Southampton.
The contests had their ups and downs for both the teams but one moment that caught everyone’s eyes was the second day in the last encounter when Kiwi batter Devon Conway edged a Stuart Broad delivery at slip to Zak Crawley.
Conway was batting on 22 when the incident happened, and the on-field umpires soft signalled him not out before asking for the third umpire’s intrusion in the case.
The TV replays suggested that Crawley had his fingers below the ball while taking the catch, yet the TV umpire went ahead with the soft signal and decided in favour of Conway. The 29-year-old smashed 80 runs prior to being eventually dismissed.
Broad was particularly unhappy with the move and, before the start of play on Day 3, stated that though the umpires weren’t responsible for the folly, the soft signal puts an additional pressure on the TV umpire to make any contradictions.
“But I feel for the umpires in this situation. It’s not the umpires’ fault that they’re 40 yards away – potentially 60 yards in white-ball cricket – with maybe an obscured view. It’s actually the ruling that’s putting the umpires in a really difficult situation. It’s having to get a soft signal. You’re going upstairs because you’re not sure whether it’s carried or not. So then to have to give an opinion whether you think it has, puts the umpire in a really tricky position. Then the third umpire’s hands are tied a little bit with whatever that on-field call is,” the veteran pacer told Sky Sports.
When asked if he wanted to scrape off the soft signal rule, Broad was quick to opine that the cons outweighed the pros, and hence the law should be changed.
“I do, absolutely. When you calmly look at the pros and cons of the soft signal, the cons completely outweigh the pros. So to me that looks as if it’s a poor ruling,” the 34-year-old concluded.
Meanwhile, The ICC has indicated that it would again look at the protocols during their next meeting, as per reports by ESPN Cricinfo.