The International Cricket Council has announced changes to its Playing Conditions after the Chief Executives’ Committee ratified recommendations from the Sourav Ganguly-led Men’s Cricket Committee which were also endorsed by the Women’s Cricket Committee.
The main changes to the playing conditions, which come into effect on 1 June 2023 with the Lord’s Test between England and Ireland, are:
Soft signal: Umpires will no longer be required to give a soft signal while referring decisions to the TV umpires. The on-field umpires will consult with the TV umpire before any decisions are taken.
Helmets: Helmet protection will be mandatory in international cricket for the following high injury risk positions: (i) when batters are facing fast bowlers, (ii) when wicketkeepers are standing up to the stumps, and (iii) when fielders are close to the batter in front of the wicket.
Runs off a Free Hit: Any runs scored off a Free Hit when the ball hits the stumps will count as runs scored, to be consistent with all other runs scored from a free hit.
“Soft signals have been discussed at previous cricket committee meetings over the last couple of years. 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 Sourav Ganguly (INC committee Chair)
“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.” (source ICC).