Zing Bails Controversy and why ICC won’t review their use

The Zing Wicket System, created by South Australian manufacturer Zing International, has a sensor in the bails that can determine within 1/1000 of a second when the wicket is broken. Once the wicket is broken the bails instantaneously flash bright red LED lights and then send a radio signal to the stumps which also ignite. They are powered by low voltage batteries in each of the bails and also in the stumps. The light-up stumps are preferred by administrators as they help umpire the exact moment when a bail gets dislodged, especially during a close run-out or while judging stumping decisions.

The zing bails have been in use since 2012, when they were approved by the International Cricket Council (ICC). They were used at the 2015 World Cup and have been regular fixtures in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL). Right from 2012,  we have observed several instances where the zing bails have failed to fall despite the ball hitting the stumps. Here are those from CWC 2019 where the batsmen have been at the right end.

  • England v South Africa – Rashid to de Kock , reverse sweep from outside leg, thumped the outside of the stump and triggered the zing bails didn’t come off, and it’s a four!
  • New Zealand v Sri Lanka – Boult to Karunaratne, the ball brushed the stumps, the bails shook but didn’t come off.
  • Australia v West Indies –  Starc to Gayle, no run, given out but Gayle reviews immediately and it’s not out.
  • England v Bangladesh – Stokes to Mohammad Saifuddin, no run, bowled him but thr bails stayed.
  • Australia v India – Bumrah to Warner, no run, Warner inside-edges back onto the stumps and the bails stay again.

BAILS VS STUMPS : What laws say?

29.1.1. The wicket is put down if a bail is completely removed from the top of the stumps, or a stump is struck out of the ground.

Can bails be dispensed with ?

8.4. Dispensing with bails

The umpires may agree to dispense with the use of bails, if necessary. If they so agree then no bails shall be used at either end. The use of bails shall be resumed as soon as conditions permit.

The cricket fraternity has raised several questions on the use of zing bails; citing a few here :

Virat Kohli said, “I’m sure no team would like seeing stuff like that when you actually bowl a good ball and then you don’t get the guy out, the ball hits the stump and the lights don’t come on, or the lights come on but the bail comes back on to the stump”

Nasser Hussain said, “This can’t keep happening with the bails!!! Hard enough being a bowler nowadays… needs changing”

Shoaib Akhtar commented “What’s going on?? In my entire life, I have not seen 5 instances like this, let alone in the space of 10 days or a tournament.”

Mohammad Kaif tweeted: “These zing bails, something needs to be done. As if applied
glue. Lights and stump mic making their mark for probably the 5th time this WC.”

Michael Vaughan said, “Nice era to bat when you can’t get bowled!!!!! These stumps/Zinger bail combination have to be changed..”

In defence of zing bails : David Ligertwood (co-developer of the Zing wicket system), backed the product, while stating that they were monitoring the situation.

“This issue is obviously important as the game wants batsmen being dismissed when they should be.  But even with this unusual spate of bails not falling it remains definitive and it remains the same for both sides….This issue isn’t all about the weight of the bails, as a complicated interdependent range of factors come into play. The bails (various factors), stumps (various factors), stump grooves (depth and shape), pitch conditions (various factors), stump cam (various factors) etc all affect it. …..Testing shows bail’s weight isn’t necessarily the most significant factor. So wooden bails sometimes don’t come off. For example, in the women’s ODI this week in the UK. At times the impact is quite hard and they don’t come off.

The ICC has made it clear that it will not review the usage of ‘zing bails’ stating “These perform exactly as the regular ones and, in fact, are lighter than those used by umpires when it is windy.”









Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s