What Is Soft Signal In Cricket? Everything You Need To Know

Technically referring to International Cricket Council’s rules describe a ‘soft signal’ as a “visual communication by the bowler’s end umpire to the third umpire (accompanied by additional information via two-way radio where necessary) of his/her initial on-field decision before initiating an Umpire review.”

Let’s first understand the soft signal meaning in Layman’s language then we shall understand it in technical Language so in simple terms it means that whenever a match is played and there is a close catch where on-field umpires are required to give a decision, they follow their intuition. This intuition is called a soft signal.

How Does The Soft Signal Work?

When the standing umpires are not sure as to whether the batter is out or not as the fielder might have caught the ball close to the boundary and an appeal has been made from the fielding side or even if no appeal has been made then the standing umpires give their soft signal to the third empire who then revisits the replays on and off from different angles to give his opinion to standing umpires. After receiving the opinion of the third umpire, standing umpires make a decision.

Examples Of Soft Signals In A Cricket Match

Umpires need to make decisions based on soft signals in the following cases

  • When the fielders are near the boundary line or when the officials want to know that the catch has been taken fairly without the ball touching the ground they use a soft signal
  • When there is batsmen obstruction and a decision has to be cast then a soft signal is used as umpires want a third official to study all the evidence before making the decision
  • When the field has been obstructed, the soft signal is used to make sure that it is done in obvious circumstances.

Controversy Over The Soft Signal Rule

There are times when controversy has been raised about the soft signal as a third umpire who has already received a soft signal is required to find conclusive evidence to overturn the decision taken onfield.

However, sometimes the third umpire can’t conclude from the footage in such a case his call should not be based on influence dropped by the soft signal.


1. When was the Soft Signal Introduced in Cricket?

The concept of Soft Signal was first introduced back in 2014. Before that, there was no room for communication between umpires and third officials.

2. What is the “I don’t know” call?

There have been instances when the players have not been convinced by the call taken based on the umpire’s soft signal. In one such incident, Kholi said that if calls like “I don’t know” are introduced then the entire game shall change.

According to him, the call doesn’t need to be a conclusive one always. All in all, there have been players who insisted on having “I don’t know” call instead of taking decisions without any clear evidence

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156 thoughts on “What Is Soft Signal In Cricket? Everything You Need To Know”

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