IPL 2020: Ex-umpires praise move to have another official monitoring no balls
Ex-international umpires Piloo Reporter and Suresh Shastri welcome plan for additional official to monitor over-stepping and height of deliveries in next year's IPL
An additional umpire to monitor no-balls during Indian Premier League games? This could well happen in the next edition of the T20 extravaganza after the innovation was discussed at the IPL Governing Council meeting in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Clearly, the powers that be don't want a repeat of umpiring blunders on this count. Last year, Royal Challengers Bangalore needed seven runs off the last ball when Mumbai Indians's Lasith Malinga overstepped, but this was not spotted by any of the two umpires. And although Mumbai Indians went on to win the thriller against Rohit Sharma's team at Bangalore, the captain was far from happy with the umpiring.
On Tuesday, an IPL Governing Council member told PTI: "If all goes well, during the next Indian Premier League, you could see another umpire apart from the regular umpires just to observe no-bals. The concept sounds weird, but this was among the issues discussed in the first IPL Governing Council meeting which was held here.
Good use of technology
"We want to use the technology. We are having another umpire for only observing no-balls. There will be an umpire, who will be focused on no-balls only. And he will not be third or fourth umpire."
Thane-based retired international umpire Piloo Reporter, who officiated in the 1987 and 1992 World Cups, welcomed the move. "It's not a bad idea since this is a critical part of the game. I'm always for something where innovation and technology is implemented," Reporter, 81, told mid-day.
Pundits reckon moves such as these only make the job of the umpire easier, but Reporter stressed that watching where the bowler's front foot lands is an additional burden which umpires can do without to concentrate on other aspects like tracking the flight of the ball and where it lands. "Many a time, over-stepping by bowlers go unnoticed and until and unless the umpire feels like checking with the third umpire, nothing happens," said Reporter.
Suresh Shastri and Piloo Reporter
'Danger of over-stepping'
Reporter recalled great pace bowlers like Imran Khan, Richard Hadlee and Kapil Dev being very particular when it came to the danger of over-stepping. "They used to request me to let them know when they were in danger of over-stepping," said Reporter who officiated in 14 Test matches and 22 one-day internationals across 1984 to 1994.
Suresh Shastri, the former Rajasthan Ranji Trophy left-arm spinner, who took to umpiring, welcomed the move as well. While speaking on the aspect of adjudicating the height of deliveries for a no-ball call, Shastri, who officiated in the 2008, 2009 and 2011 IPL editions, felt it was difficult to spot the white ball at times; the advertising hoarding on the sightscreen facing the umpire too causing unclear vision.
When it came to the front foot no-balls, Shastri said the proposed no-ball umpire could come in more than handy because some bowlers' back foot overlap with the front foot, which makes it difficult for umpires to spot whether the bowler has over-stepped. "This is especially true when you have bowlers with open-chested actions operating," said Shastri, 64, who umpired two Tests and 19 ODIs apart from the India v Australia T20 international at Mumbai in 2007.
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