The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced major changes to the playing conditions on Monday, which will take effect on June 1.
After the Chief Executives’ Committee approved the recommendations of the Men’s Cricket Committee, led by former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly, and the Women’s Cricket Committee, the ICC announced changes to the Playing Conditions. The major change was the elimination of the soft signal, with umpires no longer required to give a soft signal when referring decisions to the TV umpire.
“The on-field umpires will consult with the TV umpire before any decisions are taken,” the ICC confirmed.”Soft signals have been discussed at previous cricket committee meetings over the last couple of years,” Sourav Ganguly said as quoted by ICC.
“The committee deliberated this at length and concluded that soft signals were unnecessary and at times confusing since referrals of catches may seem inconclusive in replays,” said the former Indian skipper.
The other major announcement was that helmets would be required for high-risk positions. Helmets will be required when batters face fast bowlers, wicketkeepers stand up to the stumps, and fielders are close to the batter in front of the wicket.
“We also discussed player safety, which is very important for us. The committee decided that it was best to make the use of helmets mandatory in certain positions to ensure the safety of players,” Ganguly added.
There was also a minor addition to the ‘Free Hit’ rule with any runs scored off a Free Hit when the ball hits the stumps counted as runs scored from now. This would mean that if a batter is bowled off a Free Hit and runs are scored off it, they would be attributed to the batter.
The changes will come into effect on 1 June 2023 with the Lord’s Test between England and Ireland, a four-day one-off Test match.