Controversy over Steven Smith's dismissal in the first T20 against India
Live chat during T20 matches have become a trend in the last few years. We have already seen leading cricketers wired up while playing in the Big Bash League matches. But the use of on-field microphones by players in T20 matches came under massive controversy after Australian batsman Steven Smith was dismissed while answering commentator’s questions against India in the first T20 at Adelaide Oval on January 26.
Smith was clearly multi-tasking while batting as he was also busy chatting with Channel 9’s commentary team. He was in the middle with Australian T20 captain Aaron Finch as his team attempted to chase down India’s 188 runs. He was looking for a very good touch.
Smith chipped spinner Ravinder Jadeja and was caught at mid-off by Virat Kohli for 21, shortly after speaking to the commentators. The star Indian batsman noticed it and made a “chatterbox” hand gesture at Smith. Australia went on to lose the match by 37 runs.
After the lose Australian fans slammed Channel 9 on the social network. The fans blamed the commercial stations commentary team for distracting Smith while batting. Some of the fans also said Kohli’s gesture was a criticism of live chat during a game.
“Whilst we try to bring the viewer into the contest. We can’t forget it is a contest. Smith wasn’t comfortable and Kohli knew it,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another tweeted: “Kohli’s message to Steve Smith was pretty clear there. This is a cricket game not a television interview. Thanks, Channel 9.”
In a recent interview ahead of Friday’s second T20I in Melbourne, Australian batsman David Warner played down the controversy in a diplomatic manner. He 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 quickly, “It’s about entertainment.”
The shortest format of the game was designed to draw crowds to stadiums amid fears that spectators were getting tired of five-day Test matches. The quick fire, the high-octane game has since then been very successful to entertain the crowds and bring them back to the stadiums.
Reputed sports writer Robert Craddock said Smith’s dismissal raised the question of whether the T20 short-form structure was meant to be a carnival or a contest.