IPL Season 13 is fast approaching and we are less than 60 days away with the competition set to commence towards the end of March and continue till the last week of May this year.
All eight teams have their squads in place following the conclusion of the IPL auction last month where a total of 62 players were bought and an amount of Rs.140.3 Crores was spent.
However, the biggest talking point heading into the upcoming season surrounds around the officiating. There have been numerous reports in the last couple of months that a fourth umpire might be introduced in the tournament to just check no-balls following the blunders made by the on-field officials the last term.
The first major incident in IPL 2019 dates back to the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians league encounter when Lasith Malinga had overstepped in the last ball of the game but the umpire failed to make the call. That particular mistake ended up costing RCB the game as they lost by six runs that further escalated in skipper Virat Kohli fuming after the game.
Similarly, another howler was committed by the umpires in the Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings contest. It was the final over of the game when Ben Stokes bowled a full toss above waist height to Mitchell Santner and the umpire immediately signalled it as a no-ball.
But the controversy arose when the official went to consult square-leg umpire Bruce Oxenford as the duo pondered reversing the first call. Outraged with all the drama unfolding in front of him, CSK captain MS Dhoni charged from the dugout and had a heated argument with the on-field crew but the decision was ultimately overturned into a legal delivery.
Chennai eventually went on to win the game by four wickets courtesy off a last-ball six by Mitchell Santner but the controversy regarding the no-ball did not stop there. Later on in the competition, English umpire Nigel Llong made a huge mess when he adjudged Umesh Yadav for a front foot no-ball but the replays showed that the RCB seamer clearly had his foot behind the crease.
The TV umpires have now been assigned the designated role of checking the no-ball for every delivery in both domestic and international cricket, but, the IPL is set to take a different route and is more than likely to go-ahead by appointing a fourth umpire who will check the legitimacy of each and every ball that is bowled in the match.
Only time will tell if this move is a success but it should be something that will help the umpires as a whole and also bring down the time that is consumed in checking of no-balls especially when a decision is reviewed.