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September 9, 2019
Sri Lanka v England: Jos Buttler believes third umpire should call no-balls
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Sri Lanka v England: Jos Buttler believes third umpire should call no-balls

Ben Stokes was reprieved twice on the third day of England’s third Test against Sri Lanka

England’s Jos Buttler says no-ball calls should be taken away from on-field umpires after mistakes on day three of the third Test in Sri Lanka.

On two occasions it seemed as if Ben Stokes had been dismissed, only for replays to reveal that the on-field umpire had failed to spot no-balls.

“I’d like to see the third umpire call them,” vice-captain Buttler told BBC Sport.

“He could watch TV and then communicate to the on-field umpire.”

The Lancashire batsman added: “Maybe he could tell him in his ear, or I’ve played in a few games where the on-field umpire had a watch that buzzed.”

Buttler was referring to England’s home one-day series against Pakistan in 2016, where responsibility for adjudicating front-foot no-balls was given to the third umpire as part of an International Cricket Council (ICC) trial.

However, during the trial period only 0.3% of deliveries were no-balls and, given the significant cost of the technology required, the ICC decided against full implementation.

On Sunday in Colombo, Stokes twice looked to have been caught off the bowling of Lakshan Sandakan, only for it to be shown that the left-arm wrist-spinner had overstepped.

On both occasions, the on-field umpire that failed to spot the no-balls was Sundaram Ravi, with analysis done by Sky Sports claiming that 40% of deliveries in one Sandakan spell were illegal.

“It’s become a common part of the game for no-balls to be checked,” added Buttler.

“If no-balls are being missed and it builds up, that could be a lot of runs that should be going to the batting team.

“Umpires have a tough job. If they could get a bit of help from their mate in the TV box, no-balls would be one less thing to worry about.”

While it can be argued that umpire Ravi was at fault for failing to spot Sandakan’s indiscretion, it can also be said that it is the bowler’s fault for not having a part of his foot behind the crease.

In limited-overs cricket, a no-ball is followed a by a free-hit to the batting side and has become such a deterrent to bowlers that England recently passed 10,000 consecutive deliveries without overstepping.

On the Test Match Special podcast, BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew suggested that the same rule could be enforced in Test cricket.

“I wouldn’t be against that,” said former England captain Michael Vaughan. “If it’s in one format, have it across all formats.

“There is so much technology now, I’m pretty sure we shouldn’t be missing no-balls. I think the ICC could find a way of making sure that no-balls aren’t missed.”

Source BBC News

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