Smith calls for ‘soft signal’ to be scrapped

Australia captain Steve Smith has called on the ICC to do away with the ‘soft signal’ when on-field umpires refer a catch for the third umpire to adjudicate.

Smith was speaking after a critical decision went against his team as they lost the third ODI against  spare England in Sydney to surrender the five-match series with two games still to.

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Chasing a target of 303, the Aussies were 181/3 in the 33rd over when England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler confidently claimed a catch off the bat of Smith and the bowling of fast bowler Mark Wood.

The umpires conferred and then sent the decision upstairs, making a soft signal of out.

After several replays showing nothing conclusive to suggest that catch was taken cleanly, the third umpire ruled that there was not enough evidence to overturn the on-field decision with Smith visibly upset as he was leaving the field.

The Australia skipper said after the game: “I’m not sure I’m a big fan of the ruling with the soft signal. That’s obviously the ruling at the moment and it’s hard to overturn anything.

“We’ve seen a few this summer that have been pretty similar and if the fielder goes up and actually celebrates they usually get given out and if you’re a bit apprehensive of what’s happened they normally get given not out.

“It’s hard for them to overturn the decision. I’d actually like for the third umpire to have to make the decision whether it’s out or not. Just them having to do it, if that makes sense.”

Buttler was adamant that he had taken the catch, insisting that he got his gloves between the ground and the ball.

The gloveman said: “I was pretty sure it was out. I think any wicketkeeper would tell you, you know if you get your fingers underneath it.

“It always looks a bit either way on TV but for me it was out.”