The Indian Premier League Governing Council is planning to have an umpire assigned specifically to check no balls after a number of howlers in the past few seasons led to heightened concerns about the quality of match officials.
The much-hyped Power Player concept for substitutions being used during IPL games was shelved for the time being as the project can’t be piloted during upcoming Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy starting later this week.
The GC, chaired by former Test batsman Brijesh Patel, met at the cricket headquarters to discuss a slew of issues including Future Tour Programme window, availability of foreign players, FTP of Indian team, and the possibility of franchises playing friendlies abroad.
However, the talking point was having an exclusive umpire to check on the contentious front-foot and height no balls.
“If all goes well, during the next Indian Premier League, you could see another umpire apart from the regular umpires just to observe no-balls,” a senior GC member told reporters after the meet.
He added, “The concept sounds weird, but this was among the issues discussed in the first IPL Governing Council meeting. We want to use the technology. We are having another umpire for only observing no-balls. There will be an umpire, who will be focused on no-balls only. And he will not be third or fourth umpire.”
There was a lot of hue and cry during the last IPL, when some debatable decisions were taken with regards to front-foot no-balls. India skipper Virat Kohli even had a heated word with Indian umpire S Ravi, who failed to spot a no-ball by Mumbai Indians’ Sri Lankan legend Lasith Malinga, which proved costly for the Royal Challengers Bangalore during one of the matches.
The concept of having such umpires could be tried at any of the domestic tournament before the start of the IPL. On Power Player, the official said: “The matter was discussed but there is too little time to implement during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, which starts on Friday, November 8.”
The PTI had reported on Friday that there was little or no possibility of Power Player being introduced for the time being without the consent of BCCI president Sourav Ganguly. Moreover, a concept like of this sort is seen by the BCCI top brass for having the potential to send bookies and match-fixers on an overdrive.