ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020
ICC announces no-ball change for T20 World Cup
On-field umpires will not be responsible for calling front-foot no-balls at the upcoming Women's T20 World Cup
11 February 2020, 08:35 AM AEST
Third umpires at this month's Women's T20 World Cup will be responsible for calling front foot no-balls via television replays, the International Cricket Council announced today.
The on-field officials at the World Cup will be instructed to no longer call no-balls when a bowler oversteps the front line, meaning they can focus their attention on the batter at the striker's end.
Instead, the third officials will monitor the bowler's front foot via television and, if a bowler oversteps, instruct the on-field umpire to signal a no-ball.
It comes after three successful trials of the method, the first of which came in 2016.
There have been several high-profile instances around the world in recent years where on-field officials have not called no-balls on the field despite replays showing a bowler has overstepped by a significant margin.
In the first Test of this Australian summer, Pakistan debutant Naseem Shah thought he had taken his maiden Test wicket before a review from the third umpire ruled that he had overstepped.
Subsequent replays showed that Naseem had overstepped on multiple occasions leading up to the wicket, none of which were called by the on-field umpire.
Not only did the missed no-balls mean Australia were not awarded a one-run penalty for each misstep, it meant the teenage quick did not adjust his run up and delivery stride in the knowledge that he was close to overstepping.
A similar instance occurred in the opening Test of the previous Australian summer, when India's Ishant Sharma overstepped several times but was only called for a no-ball once, by the third umpire after he'd taken a wicket.
"If I was the fielding team, I'd want to know," Ponting said.
"If … I knew that my bowler was bowling a no-ball more often than not, I'd want to know that so I could pull that back in line.
"I don't think the umpires are looking and I certainly don't think they were looking at those ones because they were blatantly obvious ones.
"And as we know now, they'll only ever look at them if a wicket falls, which as far as I'm concerned is not right."
The ICC first trialled the third-umpire method during a one-day series in 2016 and despite it being rated a success, it was not deemed to be cost-effective enough to roll out in international games around the world.
The trial followed high-profile instances of batters being reprieved by an on-field no-ball call that was later shown to be incorrect; Australian Adam Voges was notably saved by an incorrect no-ball call in a Test against New Zealand in 2016 when he was on just 7 and went on to score a match-winning 239.
But the trend of missed no-balls globally led to further trials in recent matches in India and West Indies, during which 4717 balls were bowled and 13 no-balls (0.28 per cent of deliveries) were called. All deliveries were judged accurately, the ICC said.
"Cricket has an excellent track record of introducing technology to support the decision making of our match officials and I'm confident that this technology will reduce the small number of front foot no ball errors at the ICC Women's T20 World Cup,” the ICC's General Manager Cricket, Geoff Allardice, said in a statement.
"No-balls are difficult for umpires to call accurately, and even though the percentage of deliveries that are no-balls is low, it is important to call them correctly.
"Since we first trialled this concept in the ODI series between England and Pakistan in 2016 the technology has improved significantly, enabling us to introduce it cost-effectively, and with minimum impact on the flow of the game."
The accuracy of no-ball calls are of even greater importance in white-ball cricket than in Tests because the batting team are also given a free hit whenever a bowler oversteps.
The on-field officials at the T20 World Cup will still be responsible for calling other types of no-balls, such as when a bowler bowls a full toss that is over waist height.
While the third umpires will adjudicate no-balls at the T20 World Cup, it's yet to be seen if the method will be rolled out in all international cricket.