England’s limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan insisted that there is nothing ‘untoward’ about using coded signals to communicate from the dressing room to the players on the field. Morgan is of the opinion that such communication is 100% in the spirit of the game.
During the recently concluded T20I series against South Africa, the England team’s analyst Nathan Leamon displayed messages such as ‘2C’ and ‘4E’ on clipboards from the team’s balcony to the players on the field.
Eoin Morgan believes that this is about maximizing the information that the players take in.
“[It is] 100% within the spirit of the game. There’s nothing untoward about it. It’s about maximising the information that we’re taking in and measuring it against things: coaches’ recommendations, the data, things going on,” Eoin Morgan told The Guardian.
Eoin Morgan added that such analytical information will help to take the emotion out of on-field decisions. He wants to try this out a little more and see if it produces improved results on the field.
“We’ll definitely continue with it and give it enough of a sample size to see if it improves our decision-making or improves our performance,” said Morgan.
This whole incident was construed as providing live information from the dressing room and sparked a controversy. Even though this is not illegal under the prevailing laws, passing on live information to players is frowned upon in the cricketing fraternity.
This @englandcricket team 😍
— England’s Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) December 2, 2020
During the 1999 World Cup, South African coach Bob Woolmer tried to use technology to pass on information to captain Hansie Cronje from the dressing room.
Cronje and Allan Donald had earpieces in place as they walked out to the field against the Indian team. After the Indian batsmen brought this to the notice of the umpires, the match officials contacted the ICC for a ruling on the matter.
The ICC ruled against South Africa in the end, specifying that the whole incident was not technically in breach of any rules, but amounted to ‘unfair’ play.
It remains to be seen if Eoin Morgan and the England side will continue using this strategy in the upcoming ODI series against South Africa, which commences on Friday. While they may not be technically breaking any rules, just like South Africa in 1999, some in the cricketing fraternity might consider England’s tactics to be unethical.
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) December 2, 2020