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What is umpire’s call in cricket?

Cricket is a sport that has been around for centuries, and it is known for its complex rules and regulations. One of the most essential aspects of cricket is the role of the umpire, who plays a vital role in ensuring that the game is played fairly and within the rules. However, even with the best of intentions, umpires can make mistakes that can have a significant impact on the result of the game. This is where the concept of “umpire’s call” comes into play.  In this blog post, we will discuss what umpire’s call is and how it works in cricket. We will also look at.

Definition of Umpire’s Call

In cricket, umpire’s call is a term that refers to an on-field decision made by the umpire which is subject to review by the third umpire via the DRS (Decision Review System). When an umpire makes a decision about a batsman being either out or not out, and the opposing team feels the decision was incorrect, they have the right to appeal to the third umpire.

Upon review, if the third umpire deems that there is “clear evidence” to overturn the decision, it is changed. However, if the third umpire finds that there is not enough evidence to contradict the on-field decision, the original decision (umpire’s call) stands.

It is worth noting that the umpire’s call is only applicable to LBW (Leg Before Wicket) and caught decisions. This system adds an extra level of scrutiny and accuracy to the game, ensuring that the right decisions are made as often as possible.

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Origins of the Umpire’s Call Rule

Umpire’s call refers to the situation where an umpire declares a batsman out or not out based on a marginal decision, which the third umpire ultimately upholds. The system is the result of the implementation of the Decision Review System, commonly known as DRS, which allows teams to challenge umpiring decisions.

The origins of umpire’s call rule can be traced back to the year 2008, when the International Cricket Council (ICC) first experimented with the use of umpire referrals in Test cricket. The initial version of the review system allowed the on-field umpire to consult with a third umpire for crucial decisions such as run-outs or stumpings.

In 2013, the ICC approved the use of DRS for all international matches. Since then, the umpire’s call rule has been an integral part of the review system and a source of controversy and debate for players, fans, and experts alike.

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When Umpire’s Call Can Be Used

The term “umpire’s call” is frequently used for decisions related to LBW (leg before wicket), which is one of the most debated rules in cricket. In this context, umpire’s call can be used in three scenarios – impact of the ball, pitching in line and hitting wickets.


The impact factor refers to the point of impact of the ball with the player’s body, bat, or any other object. In a review, the umpire determines the point of impact, and then the trajectory of the ball is projected forward to predict where it would have gone had the impact not occurred. This projection is then compared to the actual path of the ball to determine if the original decision was correct.

The Decision Review System (DRS) has undoubtedly revolutionized the game of cricket by providing a technological solution for on-field decisions. However, despite its advanced capabilities, the DRS system is not foolproof and certain situations can arise when the system fails to conclusively determine the impact of the ball on the bat or the pad. In such cases, umpires call persists as the final verdict on the matter.

Pitching in line

One of the key aspects of the DRS system is the ball tracking technology, which uses multiple cameras to track the trajectory of the ball from the point of release to the point of impact on the batsman’s body or the stumps. This technology is used to determine whether the ball has pitched in line with the stumps or outside.

Ball pitching in line is a concept that refers to the delivery of the ball by the bowler in a way that it lands within the imaginary line drawn between the stumps, also known as the ‘line of the stumps’. The Decision Review System (DRS) is a technology-based system that has been introduced to assist the umpires in making fair and accurate decisions during a cricket match.

The DRS system uses a combination of cameras, ball-tracking technology, and audio sensors to analyze the trajectory of the ball and determine whether it has hit the stumps or not.

However, there are certain situations where the system is unable to provide a conclusive answer, such as determining whether the ball pitched in line or outside the leg stump. In such cases, the umpire’s call persists.

Hitting wickets

In the DRS system, the review involves the use of multiple camera angles and computer software to track the trajectory of the ball from the point of impact with the batsman to the point where it reaches the stumps. The system is designed to provide a high degree of accuracy, ensuring that the correct decision is made in cases where the umpire’s original decision is in doubt.

However, despite its numerous benefits, it is not a perfect system and has its limitations. One such limitation is its inability to determine conclusively whether the ball has hit the wickets or not, leading to the umpire’s call to remain.

Impact of Umpire’s Call on the Result of a Match

In the game of cricket, umpire’s call is a term that is often used to refer to a decision made on whether a batsman is out or not, when the decision is an extremely close call. This term has become increasingly relevant in recent years, as the use of technology to make decisions in cricket has become much more commonplace.

Umpire’s call comes into play when the decision on the field is too close to be made with complete certainty, even after a review of the footage. While the impact of umpire’s call can be significant, it is important to note that the ultimate goal of cricket is always to make the correct decision. As such, umpire’s call is just one tool that can be used to help ensure that the right decision is made, although it is not infallible and can sometimes lead to controversy over the result of a match.


Umpire’s call is an important aspect of cricket that ensures the fairness of the game. The technology has brought significant improvements to the game by providing more accurate decisions. However, there are still limitations to the system and umpire’s call helps to mitigate the potential errors.

A crucial point to keep in mind is that the umpire’s decision, whether it is on the field or via technology, is final and should be respected by players and spectators alike. Overall, the introduction of technology to cricket has been positively received, but ensuring that it is used judiciously is key to maintaining the spirit of the game.

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