The debate on whether soft signals should be banned from the game keeps coming up again and again. The topic gained attention during the recent limited-overs series between India and England when Suryakumar Yadav was given out contentiously when the fielder at the boundary rope seemed to touch the ball while taking a clean catch.
Now, Stuart Broad too seems to be one of the many voices to suggest a complete stop on soft signal following a controversial moment on the second day of the ongoing Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston. The incident occurred when the home team was desperate to get the wicket of in-form batter Devon Conway.
Broad induced an edge from the batter and he was confident that Zak Crawley had taken a clean catch. But the on-field umpires were unsure whether the catch was caught perfectly and hence they went upstairs with a soft signal of not out being given to the TV umpire Michael Gough.
As with the soft signals, if the on-field umpires give not out then there should be conclusive evidence for the TV umpire to overturn the decision. In Conway’s case, the umpires failed to find any evidence and Gough eventually stuck with the soft signal thereby ruling Conway not out. The southpaw went on to score 80 runs and put the visitors in ascendancy.
Broad was not impressed by this verdict and has asked the ICC to make do with this rule of the soft signal. “You can see from our reaction on the field that we thought it was out,” Broad told Sky Sports before play on the third day.
“Zak thought he had his fingers under the ball and you only have to look at Joe Root’s reaction at first slip and James Bracey’s reaction behind the stumps – who are a yard away from it – to know that that ball has carried.”
Stuart Broad empathized with the umpires on the soft signal rule
The veteran right-arm pacer though supported the umpires by saying that it’s their job to send upstairs if they are not sure about the catch taken cleanly. Broad felt the umpires are always put in these tricky situations and he feels for them.
“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 fast bowler said.