In its very first meeting, the newly-formed Governing Council of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has decided to introduce an exclusive umpire to check no balls and allowed the franchises to explore the idea of playing friendlies in overseas.
The council, headed by former India batsman Brijesh Patel, accepted the idea of the special umpire after it was floated in the meeting at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) headquarters in Mumbai on Tuesday.
“During the next IPL, you may see another umpire, apart from the regular umpires just to ‘observe’ the no-balls. The concept sounds weird but this was among the issues discussed in the first IPL Governing Council meeting which was held here,” a senior GC member was quoted as saying to the reporters after the meeting.
Cricketers like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma had earlier expressed their dissatisfaction over the substandard umpiring in IPL.
During a match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians, the final delivery of the game by Lasith Malinga, which turned out to be a ‘no-ball’, was not awarded to RCB.
“We are playing at the IPL level. It’s not club cricket, the umpires should have their eyes open. That was a big no-ball,” an infuriated Kohli had said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
But it is still not clear if anyone from the third or fourth umpire would be given the responsibility to keep an eye on the no-balls or an altogether new person would be added to the team of the officials.
About the IPL teams playing friendly matches overseas, the Governing Council proposed the franchises to explore the idea. The friendly games will contain no official stamp but would be considered as an opportunity for the promulgation of the brand values of BCCI.
The IPL franchises had been long pushing for a move like this. The Mukesh Ambani-owned Mumbai Indians were one of the first to request the governing body of cricket for the permission to play friendlies in Canada.
Kolkata Knight Riders, too, had requested that they be allowed to play in the Carribean where their owner Shah Rukh owns another team namely Trnbago Knight Riders. Likewise, Chennai Super Kings wanted to travel to Singapore where a large number of Tamil population resides.
However, according to a report in the Times of India, the Governing Council has only proposed and that the idea will have to be tabled at the BCCI’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the end of the month for approval.