What exactly is all the fuss about the Zing bails at the Cricket World Cup?

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Zings can only get better! Bails have proved controversial so far at the Cricket World Cup… so, what exactly is all the fuss about?

  • The flashing Zing bails have failed to drop five times during this World Cup
  • The fear is of a repeat scenario at a crucial moment of a match later on
  • On Sunday, David Warner was the latest batsman to benefit from a reprieve 

The flashing Zing bails have failed to drop five times during this World Cup.

Batsmen have always been reprieved if the stumps are not properly broken by the impact of the ball, and most club players can provide accounts of being on one end or other of such incidents. 

However, we have seen an unusually large number of incidents on the biggest stage of all, and the fear is of a repeat scenario at a crucial moment of a match as big as the semi-final or final.

Jonny Bairstow (right) inspects the stumps after Mohammad Saifuddin survived on Saturday

Jonny Bairstow (right) inspects the stumps after Mohammad Saifuddin survived on Saturday

David Warner became the fifth batsman to benefit from a reprieve against India on Sunday

David Warner became the fifth batsman to benefit from a reprieve against India on Sunday

Is the technology NEW for this event?

No. The manufacturers and the International Cricket Council insist it is exactly the same.

No changes to the weight of the stumps or bails or depth of the grooves, then?

Correct. Everything is the same as in recent World Cups, World Twenty20 tournaments, the Champions Trophy here in 2017, the Indian Premier League, Big Bash and Twenty20 Blast.

So the Zing bails weigh the same as a traditional set of bails then?

Ah. No. The composite plastic ones, which have hidden low-voltage batteries, are slightly heavier but weigh less than the heavy wooden bails umpires use in windy conditions.

How does the Zing technology work?

A microprocessor in the bail sends a signal when both of its spigots have been separated from their grooves, leading to the illumination of the LED lights in the bails and stumps within one-thousandth of a second.

The bails lit up when Quentin de Kock missed a sweep but the bail failed to be dislodged

The bails lit up when Quentin de Kock missed a sweep but the bail failed to be dislodged

Chris Gayle was given out caught behind only for the ball to have grazed his off-stump

Chris Gayle was given out caught behind only for the ball to have grazed his off-stump

Dimuth Karunaratne survived despite chopping the ball onto his stumps against New Zealand

Dimuth Karunaratne survived despite chopping the ball onto his stumps against New Zealand

Apart from visual enhancement for spectators, is this of any use?

Without a doubt. The ICC only introduced Zings – manufactured in Adelaide, Australia – in 2013 after independent testing of the response speed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Such accuracy in adjudging when the bails have come off help in run-out and stumping decisions taken by television umpires. 

It removes any guesswork, frame by frame, as to when the stumps were broken and has undoubtedly improved decision-making in this regard.

But with many experts expressing concern over batters surviving ‘bowled’ dismissals, will the ICC consider a rethink regarding their use?

No. The official line is that the playing regulations are set out at the start and cannot therefore be altered mid-tournament, as it would challenge the integrity of the event.

FIVE TIMES THE BAILS HAVE FAILED TO FALL… 

England v South Africa

Quinton de Kock (on 25 at the time, made 68) v Adil Rashid — De Kock misses a sweep, the ball hits the stumps and momentarily dislodges the bails, lighting up the stumps for a fraction of a second. But the bails drop back in and the ball goes for four byes.

Sri Lanka v New Zealand

Dimuth Karunaratne (on 9, made 52) v Trent Boult — Sri Lankan is too early on a cut shot, chopping on to the outside of his off stump. Ball brushes the stump and the bails rattle around but do not dislodge.

West Indies v Australia 

Chris Gayle (on 5, made 21) v Mitchell Starc — Gayle is given out caught behind but he reviews immediately. Replay shows the noise as the ball passed him was a nick on off stump, but not enough to get The Universe Boss out.

Bangladesh v England 

Mohammad Saifuddin (on 5, made 5) v Ben Stokes — England’s second misfortune in three games. Saifuddin is handed a reprieve after edging on to his stumps, but it lasts just one delivery as Stokes knocks back middle and off stumps next ball.

Australia v India

David Warner (on 1, made 56) v Jasprit Bumrah — The Australian inside edges a short delivery on to his foot, the ball rolls back and hits leg stump but not hard enough to dislodge the bails.

PS The stubborn Zings also proved problematic at this year’s IPL, with the bails failing to come off three times in one week…

MS Dhoni survives on 0 when a short ball from England’s Jofra Archer sneaks off his inside edge and rolls on to the stumps. After the bails failed to dislodge, Dhoni went on to make 75 not out for Chennai Super Kings.

Dhoni found himself on the receiving end when a throw from behind the wicket struck its target, only for KL Rahul, short of his ground, to get a life in another Chennai win.

Archer’s Rajasthan Royals were on the receiving end once more when Chris Lynn inside-edged into leg stump and the lights came on, bowler Dhawal Kulkarni’s infuriation increased as the ball zipped to the boundary.

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