The contentious Umpire’s Call will continue to be a part of the Decision Review System, the International Cricket Council’s Board ruled on Thursday, but introduced a few changes to the current DRS protocols.

The umpire’s call rule had come under criticism from Indian captain Virat Kohli who had called it ‘confusing’ during the recently-concluded limited-overs series against England.

As per the existing rule, 50% of the ball should be hitting at least one of the three stumps for the batsman to be adjudged LBW on review in case an umpire’s not-out call has been challenged.

“The Cricket Committee had an excellent discussion around Umpire’s Call and analysed its use extensively,” ICC’s Cricket Committee head and former Indian captain Anil Kumble said in statement issued by the governing body after the end of its board meetings on Wednesday.

“The principle underpinning DRS was to correct clear errors in the game whilst ensuring the role of the umpire as the decision-maker on the field of play was preserved... Umpire’s Call allows that to happen, which is why it is important it remains,” he added.

Kohli had argued that the batsman should be declared out if the ball is hitting the stumps, even if marginally.

The ICC introduced three minor changes to the DRS and third Umpire protocols.

“For LBW reviews, the height margin of the Wicket Zone will be lifted to the top of the stumps to ensure the same Umpire’s Call margin around the stumps for both height and width,” the ICC stated.

This means that the review, which until now covered till the base of the bails, will extend to the top of the bails as well, effectively increasing the height of the wicket zone while analysing the trajectory of the ball.

A player will also be able to ask the umpire whether a genuine attempt has been made to play the ball before deciding to review an LBW decision.

“The third Umpire will check a replay of any short-run that has been called and correct any error prior to the next ball being bowled.”

It was also decided that the interim Covid-19 regulations that were introduced in 2020 to allow international cricket to resume will continue to be followed.

It means that home umpires will be asked to officiate games where neutral umpires were previously required and hygiene protocols like the ban on saliva will continue.

“The committees noted the excellent performances by the home umpires over the past 9 months but encouraged the more widespread appointment of neutral Elite Panel umpires whenever circumstances allow,” the ICC release said.

Changes in women’s cricket

The ICC committee also made two changes to the women’s one-day internationals playing conditions. The discretionary 5-over batting powerplay has been removed and secondly, all tied matches will now be decided by a Super Over.

Meanwhile, Mel Jones (Cricket Australia) and Catherine Campbell (New Zealand Cricket) have been appointed as the Full Member representatives on the ICC Women’s Committee.

It was decided that Test and ODI status shall be permanently awarded to all Full Member women’s teams. Additionally, it was agreed that all matches at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games be classified as women’s T20 Internationals.

However, it was bad news for junior women’s cricket as the first-ever Women’s U-19 World Cup that was scheduled to be held in Bangladesh towards the end of 2021 has now been postponed to January 2023.

“Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the establishment and subsequent development of the U19 programmes in many countries and teams would not be able to prepare appropriately for a global event later this year. As such, the inaugural event will now take place in January 2023,” the ICC stated.

The global qualifier for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, has also been postponed and will now be held in December 2021.

With PTI inputs