Shane Warne: Stump mic is dangerous and risky
Spin legend Shane Warne reckons players should be informed about the microphone being turned on to avoid controversies like the one involving Sarfaraz Ahmed last month and Shannon Gabriel on Monday
The new practise adopted by broadcasters to have stump microphones on during Test matches is taking a toll on players. The practise during India's tour of Australia recently, initially revealed healthy banter between Rishabh Pant and Tim Paine, where the Australian skipper was heard asking the Indian wicketkeeper to babysit his kids. Pant indeed ended up baby-sitting Paine's kids later, and the tour ended with India scripting a historic win Down Under.
However, not all chat between players has gone down well with followers of cricket. During the series between South Africa and Pakistan, Sarfaraz Ahmed was heard making a racial reference to Proteas all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo (a "black guy") during the Durban ODI last month. The clip went viral and the Pakistani skipper faced severe backlash on social media. Though Sarfaraz apologised in person to Phehlukwayo, it wasn't enough as the ICC banned him for four matches.
Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed
On Monday, another stump mic-related controversy erupted in the Caribbean, when West Indies pacer Shannon Gabriel had a heated argument with England skipper Joe Root and his batting partner Joe Denly during the ongoing third Test in St Lucia. In a video circulating on social media, Root can be heard saying, "There is nothing wrong with being gay." It is not clear what Gabriel told the Englishmen and only time will tell if the West Indian will be pulled up. Legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne advocated caution while using the stump mic. "It is quite dangerous [to keep the stump mic on] full time. You have to inform the players that, 'Guys we have decided [to keep the stump mic on]', so that the players won't step out of line," said Warne, who has 708 Test wickets to his credit.
"If you are going to have that [stump mic] and if something is said, I can imagine the reactions - 'How did this guy say something like that?' 'Ban him for life'. There will be controversies. It is a risky thing to do. The Sarfaraz issue is the first of many to come," he added.
The Australian great was on commentary duty during the Paine-Pant exchange. "It was pretty cool. The producer told us, 'let's listen, don't say anything'. [There was no commentary for one full over]. To be fair, it was quite funny. And when I saw the picture of Pant baby-sitting Paine's kids, I said, 'well done, guys'. It was fantastic," said Warne.
Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar, is not in favour of the stump mic, and took to Twitter to express his concern over its increased usage, after the Gabriel incident. "After Sarfaraz, it's Shannon Gabriel now who could be in trouble thanks to the stump mics. #ICC must brainstorm and decide if increased use of stump mics is actually good for the game or not," Manjrekar wrote to his 2.96 million Twitter followers.
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