ICC mulls all-time-on stump mics for World Cup

London: Broadcasters in Australia recently made a small experiment where they allowed no commentary in cricket matches but the stump mics were turned on all the time. The International Cricket Council (ICC), now, is mulling to replicate the same for the upcoming cricket World Cup.

The tournament director Steve Elworthy said that he is in favour of keeping the stump mics turned on all the times and asserted that the idea needs to be discussed.

“From a fan engagement point of view, being able to do this for fans and spectators who are coming to the game or are watching on TV, these things need to be discussed, and need to be addressed,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Elworthy, as saying.

“People want to get close to their heroes. They want to understand what goes on in the heat of the battle. But you’ve also got to understand there are sensitivities around these things. So it is a fine balancing act,” he said.

“But I would genuinely like to see that accessibility granted. I’d like to see it when players do get closer to the fans, [so] fans and spectators can witness what actually goes on the field,” the director added.

Meanwhile, the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) has called for a protocol to govern the use the audio of the stump mic. FICA executive chairman Tony Irish voiced his concern saying that host broadcasters might make “selective use” of the audio.

ICC chief executive David Richardson said that “from a disciplinary policing point of view” they will ensure consistent use of the stump mic.
He further stated that stump mic is a useful medium to detect any offensive language or behaviour.
“What [ICC] will do, certainly from a disciplinary policing point of view, we will make sure that we will apply [stump mics] consistently,” Richardson told ESPNcricinfo.

“So, although the broadcaster might decide not to broadcast to the public because he might feel that sometimes the comments on the field can be pretty banal and irritating, I suppose to the viewers, as long as that audio is still available to the match officials to use if necessary.”

“The audio from the stump mic will allow us to be more consistent in how that particular type of behaviour is policed. As to the players may be getting upset, that’s silly. If you don’t want to be heard by anybody saying something that you shouldn’t be saying, well, then don’t say it. You shouldn’t hide behind the fact that it might be picked up or it might not be,” he concluded.