Front-foot no-ball technology will be used at a major tournament for the first time in this month’s women’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.
- The method, which sees the third umpire watching the front foot’s landing, has been trialled in India and the West Indies
- It is currently the on-field umpire’s job to call front-foot no balls
- David Warner was famously caught out on 99 during a 2017 Ashes Test before being recalled due to an overstep
The International Cricket Council (ICC) revealed the television umpire would monitor the landing foot of bowlers after every ball and immediately communicate to the on-field umpires whether it was a legal delivery.
The decision follows successful trials conducted across 12 games in both India and the West Indies, which saw 4,717 balls bowled and 13 no balls called. The ICC said all deliveries were judged accurately.
It is currently the responsibility of the on-field umpires to call no balls when a bowler oversteps the mark, but the third umpire can then review whether the bowler had any part of his or her foot behind the crease.
“Cricket has an excellent track record of introducing technology to support the decision making of our match officials and I’m confident this technology will reduce the small number of front-foot no-ball errors at the Women’s T20 World Cup,” ICC general manager Geoff Allardice said in a statement.
“No balls are difficult for umpires to call accurately, and even though the percentage of deliveries that are no balls is low, it is important to call them correctly.
“Since we first trialled this concept in the ODI series between England and Pakistan in 2016 the technology has improved significantly, enabling us to introduce it cost effectively and with minimum impact on the flow of the game.”
That has led to numerous scenes of players being given out, only to be recalled or stopped at the boundary for no reason before being sent on their way to the pavilion.
One of the most famous recent cases of this was when Australia opener David Warner was caught out on 99 during the 2017/18 Ashes series, before being called back due to an overstep by Tom Curran and reaching his century on the next delivery.
Warner was again on the receiving end of the reprieve in November last year when Pakistan rookie Naseem Shah was denied his first Test wicket by a no ball in the first Test at the Gabba.
The incidents regularly prompt rebukes from commentators, including former players, with Channel Seven’s broadcast identifying 21 uncalled oversteps in the lead-up to Naseem’s non-dismissal of Warner.
“If a bowler is told it’s a no ball, you can bring [your run-up] back and you’ve got space to work with,” former Test seamer Trent Copeland said on the telecast.
“But the other [issue is] that’s 21 runs to the batting team that should be on the total. This is a big issue that I think needs to be addressed from the ICC worldwide.”
And now it has.