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Umpire's call in cricket: Back it or scrap it? Ben Stokes wants it axed for lbws as Nasser Hussain highlights importance

"Umpire's call is needed as a ball hasn't hit the stumps, it is just a projection," says Nasser Hussain after England captain Ben Stokes calls for that element of DRS to be axed - follow fourth Test vs India in Ranchi from 4am, Friday on and Sky Sports App

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Speaking in 2021, Sky Sports' Nasser Hussain explains why umpire's call is necessary as part of the DRS process

Should umpire's call be scrapped when it comes to lbws in the Decision Review System?

That is what England captain Ben Stokes has asked for, saying if a ball is set to hit the stumps then an lbw dismissal should count, regardless of the initial call from the umpire.

"My personal opinion is if the ball is hitting the stumps, it is ­hitting the stumps. They should take away umpire's call, he said.

In the current system, if a player is given out lbw and the delivery is set to clip the stumps, the decision remains out if the batter reviews.

If, however, the player is given not out and when the bowling side reviews the ball is shown to be only clipping the stumps, the decision stays not out.

Same ball, different outcome. It is easy to see why some have gripes.

England captain Ben Stokes dropped India's Dhruv Jurel on 32 in the third Test (Associated Press)
Image: England captain Ben Stokes was frustrated by decisions in the third Test

Speaking in 2021, when Virat Kohli raised issues with umpire's call, Sky Sports Cricket's Nasser Hussain explained why that part of DRS was necessary - watch his analysis at the top of the page.

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The former England captain told the latest Sky Sports Cricket Podcast that his view has not changed.

'Ball has not hit the stumps, it is just a projection'

"DRS is not there to back up the umpire but because of the margin for error in technology," said Hussain as he and fellow pundit Michael Atherton dissected England's hammering in Rajkot.

"Umpire's call is needed as ball hasn't hit the stumps, it is just a projection.

"The only thing that has changed is the tinkering of the law. Some of these lbws do look high but a few years ago umpire's call was changed to include the top of the stumps as well."

Virat Kohli (Associated Press)
Image: Virat Kohli has previously expressed his dislike of umpire's call

India leg-spin great Anil Kumble confirmed umpire's call would be maintained following an ICC Cricket Committee meeting in 2021.

Kumble said: "The principle underpinning DRS was to correct clear errors in the game whilst ensuring the role of the umpire as the decision-maker on the field of play was preserved, bearing in mind the element of prediction involved with the technology.

"Umpire's call allows that to happen, which is why it is important it remains."

'DRS a triumph for the ICC compared to VAR nonsense'

Atherton added on the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast: "I believe umpire's call is necessary.

"There may be a margin of error there and you are talking about an extrapolation, something that hasn't happened.

"I think DRS works well when you compare it to the nonsense in football with VAR. It has been one of triumphs of the ICC."

We just wanted some clarity around Zak's DRS when the images came back. The ball is quite clearly missing the stump on the replay. So when it gets given umpire's call and the ball's not actually hitting the stumps, we were a bit bemused. We just wanted some clarity from the Hawk-Eye guys.
Ben Stokes

Stokes said he was "bemused" by Zak Crawley's second-innings dismissal in Rajkot, with the ball-tracking image showing Jasprit Bumrah's delivery was set to bypass leg stump.

Stokes and England coach Brendon McCullum took up their grievance with match referee Jeff Crowe and were informed the decision was correct but the projection was wrong.

Follow over-by-over text commentary from the fourth Test between India and England, in Ranchi, live on and the Sky Sports App from 3.45am on Friday (first ball at 4am).

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Michael Atherton insists England must take their chances in the fourth Test with India now 2-1 up a 434-run victory in Rajkot

England Test series in India 2024

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