New Delhi, May 15: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday announced major changes to the playing conditions which will be put into effect from June 1.
ICC announced changes to the Playing Conditions after the Chief Executives' Committee approved the recommendations from the Men's Cricket Committee led by former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly and the Women's Cricket Committee. The major change involved the soft signal being scrapped, with umpires no longer required to give a soft signal when referring decisions to the TV umpire.
"The on-field umpires will consult with the TV umpire before any decisions are taken," the ICC confirmed.
"Soft signals have been discussed at previous cricket committee meetings over the last couple of years," Sourav Ganguly said as quoted by ICC.
"The committee deliberated this at length and concluded that soft signals were unnecessary and at times confusing since referrals of catches may seem inconclusive in replays," said the former Indian skipper.
The other big announcement involved making helmets mandatory for high-risk positions. The compulsion of helmets will be for when batters are facing fast bowlers, when wicketkeepers are standing up to the stumps and when fielders are close to the batter in front of the wicket.
"We also discussed player safety, which is very important for us. The committee decided that it was best to make the use of helmets mandatory in certain positions to ensure the safety of players," Ganguly added.
There was also a minor addition to the 'Free Hit' rule with any runs scored off a Free Hit when the ball hits the stumps counted as runs scored from now. This would mean that if a batter is bowled off a Free Hit and runs are scored off it, they would be attributed to the batter.
The changes will come into effect on 1 June 2023 with the Lord's Test between England and Ireland, a four-day one-off Test match.
The following World Test Championship final between India and Australia, starting June 7, will also follow these new Playing Conditions.