Should stump mics be turned off?

Peter Moores, the England coach, has responded to criticism of England’s behaviour in the 2nd Test against India by suggesting stump microphones are switched off.

“There must be some things that are left on the field to be fair to the players,” Moores said in response to criticism of England’s incessent chatter during the Trent Bridge Test. “They should be allowed to go out there and play the game without being worried that everything they actually say is going to be broadcast. It’s something we’ve discussed as a management team and we’ve spoken to the match referee about it.”

The International Cricket Council rules that stump microphones be turned on whenever a ball is live – that is, when a batsman takes guard, between a bowler’s run-up to the time the ball reaches or passes a batsman, and from the time a fielder throws the ball back to a team-mate or onto the stumps.

It’s a confident reaction from a coach so new to international cricket and I agree, in part. Players should be allowed, within the law, to go hell for leather out there and say whatever they wish. This isn’t Question Time or an audience with the Queen. This is professional sport played by well-paid, talent individuals (supposedly) at the top of their game – and sledging is part of their armoury.

But, as a viewer, only once or twice have I ever heard a “live” sledge (Dean Jones was caught out, remember). Sky always tend to turn it down for viewers – though Matt Prior is, admittedly, probably the loudest England wicketkeeper I’ve ever heard, so it’s entirely plausible his yelps break through. And so what if they do? So what if we hear Prior, for example, call a batsman a gimp – or Zaheer thinks Pietersen’s a hermaphrodite. This has been going on since WG Grace first threw away his razor. Is society so pathetically sensitive, or naive, that it can’t handle the odd bit of banter between players fighting tooth and nail?

And if so…just turn it off and let everyone get on with it. If anything goes too far, the match referee can slap them with a fine or whatever.

You? Should they be turned on or off? Vote below, then leave your comments. If you can’t see the poll below, click here.


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