Chiefs of cricket have been urged to review the use of soft signals after New Zealand opener Devon Conway controversially survived a claimed capture by Zak Crawley.
The incident happened when Conway had made 22 in New Zealand’s opening innings. He edged out a delivery from Stuart Broad to Crawley on the third slide, who dove forward to take the hold, Broad celebrating the wicket.
But Conway held on, favoring a midfield encounter between field referees Richard Kettleborough and Richard Illingworth. Kettleborough, the standing referee, duly referred the incident to third referee Michael Gough, but not before giving a soft ‘no out’ signal, indicating that he felt the ball had failed. not been washed away.
Under ICC rules, the burden of proof then fell on Gough to prove that Kettleborough had made a mistake if he wanted to overturn the decision. After studying the reruns, Gough sided with the officials on the pitch, saying the ball had “clearly” been pinned to the ground.
England struggled to contain their irritation on the pitch, with Stuart Broad signaling to the referees that Crawley had put his fingers under the ball, and the incident also prompted a backlash from senior cricket officials, who blamed the soft signal system for effectively distorting the decision-making process.
“You could see the reaction on the ground [the players] were clearly frustrated, “said Jon Lewis, England’s fast bowling coach.” It’s sport and it divides opinions. You see every Saturday in football a decision that some players disagree with.
“New Zealand will be happy, we will be frustrated.”
Lewis launched the idea of abolishing the soft signal. “I guess the question is really whether the soft signal is required?” Or could the guy off the field make the decision?