England fast bowler Stuart Broad defended Dawid Malan but joined the chorus against the ‘soft signal’ rule after a couple of controversial calls went against India in the 4th T20I against England in Ahmedabad on Thursday. Broad also said it’s unfair to point fingers at the third umpire as it will be hard for him to overturn an on-field call without conclusive evidence.
India’s innings in the 4th T20I was marred by controversies as it extended beyond 2 hours. It all started with Dawid Malan claiming a catch at deep fine-leg that saw the dismissal of Suryakumar Yadav who was going great guns on 57.
In Sam Curran’s first over, Suryakumar tried to hit one into the deep fine-leg stands but he didn’t get the required connection. The ball dipped on Malan but the World No.1 T20I batsman collected it and claimed the catch. Even as Suryakumar was waiting for the call, the on-field umpire’s sent the decision upstairs. However, the soft signal was out.
The third-umpire spent more than 5 minutes, watching replays from multiple angles. While it seemingly looked like the ball had hit the ground, there was no conclusive evidence, according to the third umpire. Suryakumar had to walk back as the third umpire did not overturn the soft signal from the on-field umpires.
Taking to social media, former England spinner Grame Swann, who was also on commentary duty, called the decision a “stinker”.
“Personally, and do bear in mind that as a bowler I thought everything was out, I think that was a stinking decision,” Swann wrote on Twitter.
Responding to the tweet, Broad said: “It’s the “soft signal” which is odd. Hard for off field umpire to overturn. ‘Let’s go upstairs cause I don’t have a clue but I’m guessing (soft signal) it’s out.’
“Malan’s Twitter feed will be ugly- but he wouldn’t have known the ball hit the ground diving forward at pace,” he said.
It’s the “soft signal” which is odd. Hard for off field umpire to overturn. ‘Let’s go upstairs cause I don’t have a clue but I’m guessing (soft signal) it’s out.’
Malan’s Twitter feed will be ugly- but he wouldn’t have known the ball hit the ground diving forward at pace https://t.co/hCwlFQKpIf
— Stuart Broad (@StuartBroad8) March 18, 2021
Similarly, in the final over of the match, Washington Sundar was given out based on soft signal from the on-field umpires. The on-field umpires, despite not getting a proper sighter of the catch from Adil Rashid at the boundary line, had to make a soft signal to play by the rules. Once again, the third umpire was heard saying on-air that there was no conclusive evidence to overturn the soft signal as Sundar was given out.
The cricket fraternity was divided about the decision but the majority of former cricketers voted for doing away with soft signal, especially for decisions outside the 30-yard circle.
India managed to post 185 on the board in 20 overs despite losing wickets at regular intervals. While Jofra Archer picked up 4 wickets, Suryakumar’s 57 and Shreyas Iyer’s quickfire 37 helped India post a competitive total on the board.