England’s strategy of relaying coded messages from the balcony to their on-field captain, seen during the recent T20I series vs South Africa, should not be allowed to happen, former India cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and VVS Laxman have said.
“If I was the captain, I would say, look if you want to send a message about any field placing or a bowling change, then send the 12th man across with a bottle of water or anything,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports show Cricket Connected.
England analyst Nathan Leamon was seen hanging a series of coded messages from the team balcony — in combinations of letters and numbers — for the players out in the middle.
Gavaskar said, “I would like to know if the match referee had confirmed this with the ICC? Did they ask ICC? Has the cricket committee of the ICC sanctioned this, we don’t know this yet. This is happening for the first time. We were told that this type of strategy was also used during Pakistan Super League and maybe this was the same person who adapted this technique who was an analyst there. But I don’t believe this should be happening in cricket. The second thing that is worrisome is during the situation of a DRS, would there be a code there as well to help with the decision of taking the DRS?”
Laxman pointed out that such signals makes the role of the captain inconsequential and this would make the game similar to football.
“Often in T20 cricket, if the captain needs to make a decision, he discusses it with the coach or the support staff or a senior player, and post that discussion, a captain usually comes to a decision. But if this thing (use of placard) forms a part of the rule, then I believe it is not the right thing, as you want the captain to fulfill his role. Otherwise you don’t require a captain, and the team can be run from outside similar to football where the manager runs the team,” he said on the same show.