The Return of Neutral Umpires to International Cricket

Amidst the COVID outbreak across the world, there have been massive changes in sporting, including cricket being affected. However, there have not been only negative impacts as ICC chief Greg Barclay feels some good things happened to cricket during the pandemic. 

Why has the ICC announced reintroducing the neutral umpires?

Since the pandemic took over the globe, the ICC announced introducing home umpires in place of the neutral umpires. And Barclay feels it was a great decision to let them have international exposure. However, during the recent Test series between South Africa and Bangladesh, all did eyes on the biased choices from two of the umpires.

 In regard, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) also stated that it might lodge a complaint to the ICC against the unbearable sledging and prejudiced decisions. Seeking the consequences, the ICC chief on Wednesday announced the return of neutral umpires to international cricket. While talking to local media in Dhaka, he stated,

“There were some benefits [of Covid] for cricket. One of them was the chance to use umpires at home. It has given home umpires some exposure to international cricket,

“I think that’s good. It spread the base a little bit wider. But, we are on the other side of Covid. So we are reintroducing the neutral umpire arrangement… You will see neutral umpires back up and running again,”

Rules for Covid-19

Earlier, the reports stated that the ICC has chosen to opt for home umpires to officiate in ODI and T20I cricket. If the reports circulating two weeks back are supposed to be true, three of the five match umpires in Test cricket will be neutral, including the on-field umpire, the match referee, and the third umpire. Whereas the rest of the two will be from their home countries.

Notably, in the latest reports, Barclay has not clarified if the arrangement will imply on all three formats “wholly”. 

Moreover, it is pertinent to mention here that ICC introduced the home umpires in 2020 during the pandemic. The decision is on the verge of reverting to restoring cricket after COVID-dull days. 

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