Steve Smith ‘not a fan’ of soft signal call for doubtful catches

Australia captain Steve Smith has appealed to end the practice of on-field umpires giving soft signal to the third umpire on unsure decisions.

By: Express Web Desk | Sydney | Published: January 21, 2018 10:45:09 pm
steve smith australia Steve Smith raised some questions regarding soft signal call. (AP Photo)

After his controversial decision in the third ODI against England, Australia captain Steve Smith has appealed to end the practice of on-field umpires giving “soft signal” to the third umpire on unsure decisions. He said that on-field players’ reactions affect the umpire’s “soft signal” and the decisions should only be based on what technology shows.

This comes after Smith was given out caught behind during the third ODI against England. The match was hanging in balance when Smith got an outside edge and Jos Buttler, behind the stumps, took a low diving catch. The umpires reffered the decision to third umpire with the sof signal of “out.” Third umpire Kumar Dharmasena upheld the decision with not enough to overrule it.

“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,” Smith was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “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.”

Australia lost the game by 16 runs and also the series after three consecutive losses to England in the five-match series. Smith was critical of the loss and said that he needs to improve personally and also the team.

“Five wins out of last 18 games and that’s just not good enough,” he said. “We’ve got to start finding ways to get over the line. Looking at this game I think the first 44 overs was really good and then Jos played particularly well at the end and Woakesy played well as well.

“But I don’t think we executed well. We probably just needed to bowl some good balls at the top of the stumps and try to get them swinging across the line; we bowled too full or too short and got hurt. We probably should have been chasing somewhere around 270 or 280 and then if we do that things might have been a lot different.

“I’ve got to play some better cricket. It was about me trying to control the middle with the spinners and keep getting off strike. Tonight I wasn’t good enough at that. I should have been up around a run a ball, it would have made things a bit easier at the back end. Not many balls were hitting the middle of my bat, which was disappointing. I don’t know what it is. Maybe I need to watch the ball a bit closer or something like that. It’s something to look at for Adelaide, hopefully I can do it a lot better and start helping this team win some games of cricket.”

Smith also clarified that he was not questioning the honesty of Jos Buttler, the hero of England’s innings, who claimed the catch behind the stumps. “He obviously thought it was out, he’s a pretty honest guy, so he thought it was out and it got given out so I had to walk off.”

Video footage of Smith rubbing his finger on his lips and then shinning the ball during England’s innings. For shinning the ball, the use of saliva is permitted but lip balm is not. Smith said that it was only saliva he was using.

“It was all spit,” Smith said. “People said something about lip balm. If you look at my lips, they’re pretty dry, I certainly didn’t have any of that on. It’s just the way I get some spit into the side of my mouth and get some spit onto the ball. So there was nothing in it.”

Australia were also fined for slow over-rate and Smith was hit with a fine of 40% of his match fee. The team was two overs behind the required rate and Smith now faces a ban of one game if the offence is repeated in next 12 months. Smith was critical of his team and the number of extras it gave.

“Yeah it’s not ideal, it’s two extra overs and 14 runs or thereabouts,” Smith said. “They’ve got to be a bit better with that as well. I think we were about 27 minutes over time as well so it’s going to cost me a bit, but I don’t mind that. It’s not ideal to have to bowl two extra overs and give away runs against a quality opposition.”

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