If a ground umpire places a finger close to his chest while referring a doubtful decision to the TV referee during the second India-West Indies ODI at Delhi's Ferozshah Kotla on Saturday, don't be surprised.
Introduced by the International Cricket Council (ICC) from October 1, the sign will provide greater clarity for spectators and make ground umpires more pro-active.
As per the new ODI match-playing conditions, the signal will indicate the umpire feels the batman is out but is seeking the opinion of his colleague up in the box.
"What you have to do is point a finger close to your chest if you think the batsman is out before going for the TV umpire's opinion. Likewise, you have to cross the arms to signal a dead ball if you think batsman is not out," Delhi-based ICC panel umpire, Anil Chaudhary, told Hindustan Times while explaining the new rules to budding umpires at the Kotla on Wednesday.
Till recently, on-field umpires sought the TV umpire's opinion over the walkie-talkie when in doubt. The communication was classified and spectators had to wait for the red or green light to come on, but now they will know what the ground umpire feels before he uses the radio for help.
"This is a new thing which I find interesting. Now, there will be more transparency from the spectators' point of view. Also, you can assess the ground umpires' decision-making abilities. It will help reduce mistakes," said SK Bansal, a former international umpire.
Ground umpires refer it to the TV umpire in the case of run out, stumping, hit wicket, catch and bump catch.
"According to the new playing conditions, if there is a bump catch, doubtful catch or obstruction by a fielder, the ground umpire will consult the TV umpire by making a TV-screen sign as they do while referring a run out or stumping. After that, he has to flash the out or not out sign with the finger close to his chest," said Bansal.
The third umpire will determine if it was a bump ball or not, or whether the catch was taken cleanly.
However, while reviewing TV replay(s), the third umpire will first check the fairness of the delivery (all modes of no ball, except for the bowler using an illegal action, [for clarity, a specific type of banned delivery can be reviewed and called no ball]) and whether the batsman has hit the ball. These changes should please those who are for on-field umpires to have a bigger say.