Close catches and soft signals are a match made in heaven for sparking controversies. It remains a mystery that despite the ever-improving technology, match officials still don’t have access to camera angles/resolution that will help them make a more confident decision on catches that are claimed too close to the ground.
The ‘benefit of the doubt’, as they say, more often than not falls in favour of the batter and the soft signal only adds to the frustration. The 3rd Test between Australia and South Africa saw as many as three claims for catches taken close to the ground being dismissed by the third umpire Richard Kettleborough.
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Players including Marnus Labuschagne and Josh Hazlewood have advocated for the scrapping of the soft signal given by the on-field umpires as the first step towards improving decision-making in such situations.
Australia Test captain Pat Cummins also wants a change claiming the current system makes it difficult to give a batter out.
“I don’t really know the answers but there has to be a way to try and improve it somehow," Cummins said after the Test. “As it currently stands, it’s really hard to give a batter out. If there’s any kind of benefit of the doubt, it goes the batter’s way.
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“I think with a couple of camera angles really slowed down, it’s pretty hard to not find doubt somewhere. I do feel for Ketts a little bit up there. Maybe there’s more cameras we can use down the track," Cummins said.
South Africa captain Dean Elgar though praised the umpires for maintaining the same standard while adjudging the close calls.
“The way the umpires conducted the three was pretty good. I think it was brilliant. Once you’ve set the bar with the first one, you can’t really budge much from there," Elgar said.
“Those things are always going to be a grey area, some guys will say out, some guys will say not out. At the end of the day, their decision is final and as players we respect that," he added.
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