Last week I mentioned umpires and scorers working as a team - they are the match officials, all four of them and communication between all is vital.

Many scorers or umpires have walkie talkies so that if there is an element of doubt over the way a batsman was dismissed, for example, caught behind or LBW then a quick chat on the walkie talkie solves the problem.

Umpires communicate between themselves using a variety of signals. You will notice umpires signalling to each other that there are two balls left in the over. Sometimes an error occurs and an extra ball is bowled, but that does not mean five balls is bowled in the next over to make it right. If a seven-ball over is bowled and the seventh ball is a no-ball or wide, an extra ball will not be bowled as there have been six valid balls bowled in that over already.

A quick glance across to his colleague will help if a check is to be made if a ball carried to a fielder in respect of a catch. The umpire at square leg may help his colleague by indicating a full-pitch ball is above waist height, but cannot call and signal no-ball, although that seems to happen in some competitions. It is the same as tapping your head to indicate a ball has gone over head height so the bowler’s-end umpire can call and signal no-ball. These things are arranged in pre-match discussions so that they are seen to be working as a team.

One thing several umpires have commented on is the return of the use of saliva in polishing the ball. This was banned during covid and has been made a permanent law. This practice comes under changing the condition of the ball and is liable to have five penalty runs awarded to the batting side who has the right to have the ball changed if they so wish.

As an umpire, it is sometimes hard to see as it is usually the bowler doing it as he walks back to his mark, therefore it happening behind the umpire’s back and not always visible from square leg. It reminds me of local games in New Zealand when my mother used to station herself at the end my father was umpiring at and a quick toot on the car horn would warn him something untoward was happening. Bowlers soon got to know not to do it!