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What is a soft signal in cricket? How does it work?

Soft signal often attracts debates and controversies.

Cricket is the only sport in the world which is being played in different forms nowadays. It is being played in the form of Tests, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals as far as the international format is concerned. On the contrary, when it comes to domestic cricket, it reminds us of the Ranji Trophy or the domestic first-class tournament, franchise cricket leagues and so on.

Although the vast portion of the rules is quite common in international and domestic circuits, some rules tend to differ from the other. Case in point, the cricket fraternity must have come across the phrase “soft signal” which is quite often used in modern-day cricket. The on-field umpires are the ones who use the soft signal either by raising their finger or they don’t before taking the decision upstairs.

What is a soft signal in the game of cricket?

The idea of the soft signal was first introduced in the year 2014. Before this date, the on-field officials communicated without any sign being given to the third umpire. Over the years, soft signals have helped officials avoid confusion while making decisions on the field.

Decoding the common phrase, one should know that a soft signal is basically given by the on-field umpires as a part of a hint to help the third umpire to come up with a firm conclusion or clarity of the dismissal. One of the on-field umpires will either raise their finger by giving “out” in a customary way or they will cross both their hands by signalling ‘not out’.

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How does it work?

Basically, the soft signal is used when there is a full-hearted appeal made by the fielding side and the on-field officials are unsure as to whether the batsman is out or not out. We have seen such tricky cases when a fielder catches the ball a tad close to the boundary rope and hence a decisive appeal cannot be made instantly since the umpires are not too sure of making the call.


There are possibilities of a bowler might as well touch the boundary rope by mistake while taking the catch. While the umpire uses the soft signal, it is all down to the third umpire to make the final decision as he gets a chance to review the mode of dismissal with the help of various camera angles. Thanks to the soft signal in the game, it has really helped the third umpires to make the final decision.

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