The BCCI has decided to introduce two major rule changes ahead of the 14th season of the cash-rich league. The two new rule changes are– abolishment of soft signal and the introduction of time restrictions aimed at controlling the over-rates.
The on-field soft signal drew a lot of ire in the recently-concluded T20I series between India and England while Suryakumar Yadav was given out by the third umpire despite it being clear that the ball had clearly touched the ground.
The third-umpire cited inconclusive evidence to over-rule the on-field call which was ‘OUT’. However, the BCCI has now decided to do away with the concept of soft signal for IPL 2021.
“The on-field umpire giving soft signal while referring the decision to the third umpire will not be applicable,” the BCCI stated. ”Should both on-field umpires require assistance from the third umpire to make a decision, the bowler’s end umpire shall firstly take a decision on-field after consulting with the striker’s end umpire, before consulting by two-way radio with the third umpire,” added the BCCI as quoted by CricBuzz.
”Such consultation shall be initiated by the bowler’s end umpire to the third umpire by making the shape of a TV screen with his/her hands. The third umpire shall determine whether the batsman has been caught, whether the delivery was a bump ball, or if the batsman willfully obstructed the field. In case of a fair catch, the third umpire will use all the technological support available to him/her. The third umpire shall communicate his/her decision.” added the BCCI.
Apart from the controversy around ‘soft signal’, another pressing point during the India-England series was the appalling over-rate by both teams.
Thus in order to ensure that the time-rates are in check, the BCCI has stated in the revised playing conditions that the 20th over must be finished in 90 minutes. Earlier, the 20th over was to start by the 90th minute.
“As a measure to control the match timings, the 20th over in each innings is now included in 90 minutes, earlier the 20th over was to start on or before the 90th minute.” the BCCI said.
“The minimum over rate to be achieved in IPL Matches shall be 14.11 overs per hour (ignoring the time taken by time-outs). In uninterrupted matches, this means that the 20th over should finish within 90 minutes (being 85 minutes of playing time plus 5 minutes of time-out) of the start of the innings. For delayed or interrupted matches where an innings is scheduled to be less than 20 overs, the maximum time of 90 minutes shall be reduced by 4 minutes 15 seconds for every over by which the innings is reduced.” the BCCI added.
As far as timing is concerned, the BCCI has entrusted the responsibility of ensuring the rule on the fourth umpire, empowering him to warn the batting side if it resorts to time-wasting tactics.
“In the event of any time allowances being granted to the fielding team under clause 22.214.171.124 above (time wasting by batting team), then such time shall be deducted from the allowances granted to such batting team in the determination of its over rate. The fourth umpire should ensure that the batting captain (if not at the wicket) and the team manager are both aware of any warnings.” said the BCCI.
The 14th season of the IPL will kickstart on April 09 with defending champions Mumbai Indians locking horns with Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Chepauk.