The third umpire will take responsibility for calling front-foot no balls during England's one-day international series against Pakistan as part of a ground-breaking International Cricket Council trial. In a move that hands more decision-making over to technology, on-field umpires will not be called upon to make the judgement in the five-game series.
Instant replays will be used by the television umpire in an attempt to better judge the fairness of deliveries, communicating their findings to the on-field officials through "pager watches". The trial will be carried out in the five-match ODI series between England and Pakistan from August 24 to September 4 and means only the third umpire will call front foot no-balls, unless side-on cameras are unavailable.
The ICC will hope the trial could help extinguish fall-out from erroneous calls, such as when Doug Bracwell bowled Adam Voges in the final over of day one of the first Test between New Zealand and Australia at Basin Reserve in February, but umpire Richard Illingworth incorrectly signalled a no-ball.
Voges went on to score 239 as Australia secured a crushing innings and 52-run victory. An ICC statement read: "To help the TV umpire judge no-balls, the four dedicated side-on run-out cameras that are part of the broadcast coverage will be provided on split screen feed and automatic slow motion replay, and the TV umpire will be able to rewind-forward through the toggle wheel.
"The on-field umpires will wear 'pager' watches, which will vibrate as soon as the TV umpire communicates to them that a front foot no-ball has been bowled.
"If for some reason the signal is not sent through the 'pager' watch, then the third umpire will use the normal verbal communications system to advise the on-field umpire that a front foot no-ball has been bowled."
ICC senior manager of umpires and referees, Adrian Griffith, added: "This trial is being carried out to ascertain if there is a way in which front foot no-balls can be called more accurately and consistently, while also assessing the TV umpire's workload and identifying the impact it will have on the flow of the game.
"While we need to find out if the technology set-up for this purpose is fit, at the same time we feel this is the right time to conduct the trial as the TV umpires will have more information than ever before to share with the on-field umpires, which, in turn, will help them in correct decision-making. "To ensure that the match officials are thoroughly briefed and trained for this trial, the ICC will conduct training sessions with the umpires and match referee in Southampton on Monday and Tuesday.
"The results of this technology trial will be shared with the ICC Cricket Committee, which will advise the ICC on future action."