The contentious soft-signal rule once again came under the scanner, with England seamer Stuart Broad calling for the rule to be scrapped. The controversy regarding the rule erupted after Devon Conway was seemingly caught at slip by Zak Crawley off the bowling of Broad on Day 2 of the second England-New Zealand Test.
However, the on-field umpires gave the soft signal as not out and the third umpire didn’t have conclusive evidence to overturn the on-field decision. Devon Conway got a reprieve early on in his innings and went on to score 80 to put the visitors in a commanding position.
Before the the start of the third day’s play, Stuart Broad questioned the soft signal rule on Sky Sports and said:
“I do, absolutely (Whether the rule should be ch anged). When you calmly look at the pros and cons of the soft signal, the cons completely outweigh the pros. So to me that looks as if it’s a poor ruling.”
Broad, however, expressed sympathy towards the onfield and third umpire and reckoned that it was the rule that was putting them in a spot of bother.
“I feel for the umpires in this situation. It’s not the umpires’ fault that they’re 40 yards away – potentially 60 yards in white-ball cricket – with maybe an obscured view. It’s actually the ruling that’s putting the umpires in a really difficult situation. It’s having to get a soft signal,” said the England pacer.
“You’re going upstairs because you’re not sure whether it’s carried or not. So then to have to give an opinion whether you think it has, puts the umpire in a really tricky position. Then the third umpire’s hands are tied a little bit with whatever that on-field call is,” Stuart Broad added.
“Zak thought he had his fingers under the ball” – Stuart Broad
Stuart Broad is confident that the low catch claimed by Zak Crawley was clean given the reaction from Joe Root and James Bracey, who were just a yard away from the incident.
“You can see from our reaction on the field that we thought it was out, Zak thought he had his fingers under the ball and you only have to look at Joe Root’s reaction at first slip and James Bracey’s reaction behind the stumps – who are a yard away from it – to know that that ball has carried,” Stuart Broad added.
England are behind the eight ball as New Zealand are currently on 293-4 and are in a good position to secure a healthy first-innings lead after restricting the hosts to 303. With the two-match series tied at 0-0, the Blackcaps will have a chance to make history at Edgbaston as a win here would give them their first Test series win in England in 22 years.