SYDNEY: Australia’s captain Steven Smith has called for an end to the practice of on-field umpires offering a “soft signal” to the third umpire on disputed catches, arguing that technology should be arbiter in such cases as the immediate reactions of players in the middle have often proven to be flawed.
Smith was given out caught behind at a critical juncture of the third ODI in Sydney on Sunday, edging low to Jos Buttler who immediately celebrated the catch. The on-field umpires Chris Gaffaney and Simon Fry then referred the catch to the TV umpire Kumar Dharmasena with the soft signal of “out”, and while replays shrouded the catch in far greater doubt, Dharmasena did not deem it to be enough to overrule the initial impression of his colleagues.
In assessing the process, Smith said he felt that the umpires’ signal was often dictated by the reactions — either celebratory or ambivalent — of players in the middle, and carried too much weight relative to the evidence provided by television cameras. He said he would prefer a system where the third umpire made a ruling based purely on the pictures in front of him.