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Third umpire to monitor front-foot no-balls in India-West Indies series

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The limited-overs series between India and West Indies, which begin from Friday with a T20I, will have front-foot no-balls exclusively monitored by the third umpires. Announcing the development on Thursday, the ICC said that the on-field umpires would be responsible for all other decisions “in the usual way” while the third umpire would monitor every ball for overstepping. In case a bowler oversteps, the third umpire will inform the on-field umpire to signal a no-ball. Put simply, the on-field umpires will not be calling any no-balls without the assistance of the third umpires during this series.

In the scenario where even the third umpire finds it hard to call a no-ball based on the pictures, the ICC has said the “benefit of doubt” will be with the bowler. And in the case where a batsman has been ruled out on a ball that has been called a no-ball by the third umpire, he can be called back even after the ball has been called dead.

“It’s important to note that any benefit of the doubt lies with the bowler, and if a late no-ball call is communicated, then the on-field umpire will rescind a dismissal (if applicable) and call no ball,” the ICC said in a statement.

This is the second time that the ICC is trialling technology to monitor overstepping in international cricket, with the first one coming in a 2016 ODI series between England and Pakistan. The IPL is also considering an extra TV umpire for monitoring no-balls in its next edition.

“The outcomes of the trial will be used to gauge whether the system has a beneficial impact on the accuracy of no-ball decisions and whether it can be implemented while minimising disruption to the flow of the game,” the ICC said.

In August, the ICC’s general manager for cricket operations, Geoff Allardice told ESPNcricinfo that the technology to be used in these trials would broadly be the same as that trialled in 2016. A Hawk-Eye operator presented still images to the third umpire during that trial, where the average decision time to call a no-ball was found to be eight seconds. The idea is that those times will come down the more umpires get used to the system.

“The footage is shown on a slight delay, it goes to super slo-mo as the foot approaches the point of landing, and then it freezes,” Allardice had explained. “The routine works well, with the third umpire judging the no-ball off a picture that is not always shown on the broadcast.”

Umpiring, particularly with regard to front-foot no-balls, has been under the scanner over the last 18 months, with several high-profile errors being identified. For instance, In November 2018, broadcaster Sky had found that Sri Lanka’s Lakshan Sandakan had overstepped 12 times without penalty in a passage where he had bowled only 30 balls. Umpire S Ravi was officiating during that spell, as he was earlier this year during the IPL when he drew Virat Kohli’s ire for missing a no-ball in a tight match.

More recently, Pat Cummins appeared to have nothing behind the line after he dismissed Pakistan’s Mohammed Rizwan in the Gabba Test last month, but the wicket was upheld even after the third umpire had seen a reasonable amount of slow-mo replays.



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Josh Philippe and Steven Smith guide impressive Sydney Sixers chase

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Aaron Finch struck his eighth T20 century – to go joint second in the all-time list – but the Renegades fell to another defeat



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Back the Stars, bank on Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell

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January 25: Melbourne Stars v Brisbane Heat in Melbourne

Our XI: Marcus Stoinis, Chris Lynn, AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Handscomb, Marnus Labuschagne, Ben Cutting, Ben Laughlin, James Pattinson, Adam Zampa, Sandeep Lamichhane

Captain: Marcus Stoinis

He’s been the Stars’ batting lynchpin this season, contributing in every other game and helping them to the top of the table. He also tops the batting chart with 590 runs in 13 games, so trust him to earn those 2x points for you.

Vice-captain: Glenn Maxwell

He is among the top run-scorers of the season and has been vital to the Stars’ success. The last time these two sides met, a Maxwell special – a 39-ball 83 – helped the Stars seal a thumping win.

Hot picks

Peter Handscomb

He did not have a great start to the season but hit form with an unbeaten 65 in the Stars’ previous game against the Adelaide Strikers. Although it came in a defeat, another batsman finding form is good news for the Stars.

AB de Villiers

The Heat still have the chance to make it to the playoffs and they will be turning to the experienced de Villiers to help them out especially in a pressure situation. He’s made just 69 runs in four games, but a typical AB innings cannot be far away.

Value picks

Ben Cutting: The big-hitter is a good all-round option to have in your side. He has nine wickets and 168 runs from 12 games and can swing the game if he gets in.

Adam Zampa: It was not that impressive a return to the Stars’ line-up from the India tour for Zampa, as he went wicketless for 38 runs. But he’s someone the side has depended on to rattle their opponents in the middle overs, and he picked up three crucial wickets the last times these sides met.



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Look no further than Steven Smith and Mohammad Nabi

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January 25: Sydney Sixers v Melbourne Renegades in Sydney

Our XI: Aaron Finch, Moises Henriques, Steven Smith, Beau Webster, Mohammad Nabi, James Vince, Josh Philippe, Ben Dwarshuis, Cameron Boyce, Tom Curran, Kane Richardson

NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates.

Captain: Steven Smith

Smith comes in on the back of big runs in the ODI series n India, and based on evidence from Sixers’ last match, will probably bat at No. 3. That’s always useful, and in Sydney, you can count on him to be among the runs.

Vice-captain: Mohammad Nabi

Nabi could be a decent shout for captain too. He’s been in good form after being brought into the squad, both with bat and ball, and will play a central role in both halves of the match. Finch is back as captain and that’s a tactical boost for the Renegades in regard to how they can use Nabi.

Hot picks

James Vince

Vince is another offbeat shout for captain or vice-captain. He made an unbeaten 41 at No. 3 and then a 51 opening in the last match. One of the batsmen in form for the Sixers, and superb value as a top-order batsman on a pitch that isn’t easy to gauge.

Tom Curran

Curran is in a furious race with the Sydney Thunder’s Daniel Sams and the Adelaide Strikers’ Rashid Khan to be the highest wicket-taker of the season. With 19 wickets, he came one wicket off Sams’ 20 for the season after his last game. He has wickets in each of his last five innings, with two two-fors and a four-for.

Aaron Finch

Finch looked his brutal best in the ODI series against India and is coming back to a Renegades side that is now out of the race for the playoffs. There isn’t too much pressure on him or his team, and in this form, a free-flowing Finch can be valuable.

Value picks

Josh Philippe: The Renegades will miss out on Sam Harper’s services after he suffered a concussion, and have replaced him with rookie Brayden Stepien. Josh Philippe is therefore the primary wicketkeeping option in this fixture and brings both value and form – he made an unbeaten 52 opening the innings with Vince during the Sixers’ win last match.

Beau Webster: Webster continues to be the Renegades’ best batsman of the season (404 runs at 50.50, strike rate 137.88) and among the top run-getters overall. In his last outing, he got a fifty, and before that a 36. He rolled his arm over too against the Hobart Hurricanes, but the runs and his form alone are enough value.

Point to note

Keep a close eye on the Strikers’ match on Thursday. Should they lose, the Sixers will have the opportunity to finish on 19 points and seal second place on Friday, which gives them an extra shot at the finals.



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