The IPL is planning to have an exclusive TV umpire to monitor no-balls from the 2020 edition. It is understood this extra match official will be separate from the third and fourth umpires and will use technology to help on-field officials monitor no-balls.
The decision to use technology more in order to reduce the errors made by the on-field umpires was taken by the newly-formed IPL governing council, headed by former India batsman Brijesh Patel, at a meeting in Mumbai on Tuesday.
One governing council member confirmed that they were first looking to try out this additional umpire in a domestic tournament. With the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament beginning on Friday followed by the Ranji Trophy next month, the official said the new idea could be tried out in either of the tournaments.
The development is likely to be welcomed by players and teams considering umpiring standards in the IPL have been a talking point for several years, which saw the introduction of DRS in the tournament in 2018. In IPL 2019, India’s two senior-most players – Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni – pulled up match officials in separate matches over controversial no-ball decisions.
Kohli called a missed no-ball opportunity “ridiculous” after a match against Mumbai Indians when Royal Challengers Bangalore needed seven off the final ball and Shivam Dube only managed a single. TV replays on the big screen later showed Lasith Malinga had overstepped, and had the no-ball been called, AB de Villiers, who was on 70 off 41, would have taken strike and faced a free hit with five needed off the last ball.
“We are playing at IPL level, not club cricket,” Kohli had said at the post-match presentation. “That’s just a ridiculous call off the last ball. The umpires should have their eyes open.”
Earlier in the tournament, in Chennai Super Kings’ away match in Jaipur against Rajasthan Royals, Dhoni controversially walked on to the field to engage with the on-field umpire Ulhas Gandhe over a no-ball call. The incident took place in the final over of Super Kings’ chase with the visitors needing 18 to win. With eight needed off the last three balls and new man Mitchell Santner on strike, Ben Stokes bowled a full toss and Gandhe first signalled a no-ball for height, only for his square-leg colleague Bruce Oxenford to overrule the decision.
The IPL’s idea comes on the back of a similar decision taken by the ICC which recently decided to conduct trials in which a TV umpire will monitor front-foot no-balls. The ICC said it was looking to try it out in a few limited-overs series first, similar to how it was used during an England-Pakistan ODI series in 2016.
Vishal Dikshit is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.