Live chat by cricketers on-field comes under fire
Steve Smith courted controversy for using an on-field microphone during Australia's match against India in the first of a three-match T20I series at the Adelaide Oval. Shortly after answering questions from broadcaster Channel Nine's commentators while he was in the middle, Smith was caught out by Virat Kohli. Kohli, making a "chatterbox" hand gesture, sent off Smith back to the pavilion.
Twenty20 cricket was originally introduced by England and Wales Cricket Board in 2003 for professional inter-county competition. The shortened format was initially introduced to bolster crowds for domestic game, and was not intended to be played internationally. The first Twenty20 International (T20I) took place on 17 February 2005 when Australia defeated New Zealand. The first international tournament was held in 2007 in South Africa.
It was Channel 9 in Australia that tried the idea of putting a microphone on a player for the first time in an international cricket match. Live chat during matches became a trend in recent years, for instance, in IPL and Australia's Big Bash League matches.
Australian fans were not impressed with the dismissal of Steve Smith who was guiding Australia into a strong position, chasing India's 3/188. They took to Twitter to slam Channel 9, blaming the commercial station for distracting Smit The Sydney Morning Herald, unhappy with what transpired in Adelaide, carried the headline, "Channel Nine 'caused' Steve Smith's dismissal in Australia's Twenty20 loss to India."
While a Twitter user wrote, "Channel 9 just got Steve Smith out," another tweeted, "Kohli's message to Steve Smith was pretty clear there. This is a cricket game not a television interview. Thanks, Channel 9."
Sports writer Robert Craddock said Smith's dismissal raised the question whether T20 format was meant to be a carnival or a contest. Craddock wrote that it possibly costed Australia the match and that he would have protested had it happened in a test match. He added that like rest of the world he was trying to work out what T20 games actually mean.
In an interview ahead of second T20I, Australian batsman David Warner played down the controversy. Warner said, "I've been doing it all the time and I feel no added pressure. It's great that I can actually give people at home an indication of what we're trying to achieve while we're out there in different situations." He also added that it was about entertainment.