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New from KKR: Sign language to fox opponents

First there was the multiple-captain theory,then a controversial change of guard at the top,followed by managerial problems....

Written by G.S. Vivek | Durban |
April 23, 2009 1:29:13 pm

First there was the multiple-captain theory,then a controversial change of guard at the top,followed by managerial problems,a shocking batting collapse in the opening match,and finally a fictitious blog on the dressing room atmosphere. Things haven’t being going so well for the Kolkata Knight Riders over the past few weeks,but that hasn’t stopped coach John Buchanan from keeping the innovations coming.

“He keeps trying to re-invent the wheel,” Shane Warne had remarked about Buchanan earlier this week.

Kolkata have now devised a new sign language to communicate with each other on the field,in order to negate the language problem that players of different backgrounds have to contend with in the IPL,and at the same time,to keep the opponents guessing about their strategies.

An adaptation from baseball,the Knight Riders team have learnt these new signs to get their field-placings right,and to guide the bowlers about what line and length to bowl against particular batsmen. According to sources,the elevation of wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum to captaincy is also seen as an extension of the baseball logic,where the catcher behind the plate discusses the next throw with the pitcher using sign language.

Confirming the new innovation,skipper McCullum said their sign language was similar to the kind used in baseball. “I can’t speak much about it,it’s a closed secret. There are not just two or three signs,but plenty of them. We have been using some signals like teams use in baseball to communicate. With so much competition,we need to use some way so that we can communicate without giving too much away to the opposition,” he said.

The Kolkata players were tight-lipped about the sign language,but the team have used the T-sign,drawing a box in the air,and a semi-circle behind their legs,in the last two games. “We have been asked not to talk about this to anyone. It nullifies the basic purpose of developing it if everyone knows what it all means. Let the teams use their technical back-up to find out what are we telling our team mates,” a KKR player said.

The Pakistan team had briefly used signs to communicate on the field in the 90s — bowler Wasim Akram would raise his non-bowling arm to signal a slower ball to the wicketkeeper,and the the non-striker would switch his bat from one hand to the other to indicate to the batsman where the shiny side of the ball was.

Otherwise in cricket,skippers usually believe in talking to the bowlers regarding field settings and strategy.

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