Virat Kohli seen using walkie-talkie during Delhi T20I, gets clean chit from ICC
Indian captain Virat Kohli was seen using a walkie-talkie during the first T20I between India and New Zealand at Delhi, leading to confusion on social media regarding ICC's rules on the usage of wireless devices near the playing area. The 28-year-old was seen communicating on the handheld device while sitting in the team dugout during Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma's record-breaking opening partnership in the first innings of the game.
A leading Indian news channel first reported the incident on their Twitter handle, sharing TV grabs of the Delhi-born batsman using the wireless device during India's batting at the Feroz Shah Kotla. It resulted in hue and cry on social media.
The ICC, however, clarified that Kohli had sought permission from them beforehand for the usage of the device and had been given clearance by the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Security Unit.
"While walkie-talkie is used by support staff to communicate between dug-out and the dressing room, Kohli had sought permission from Venue ACU manager before using it," an unnamed ICC official told PTI.
Point 4.3.1 of Article 4 of ICC's rules on players and match official's areas at international matches state that:
"the use of two-way handheld device that uses dedicated frequencies over short distances (ie a walkie-talkie) by Player Support Personnel for the purpose of communication between the dugout and dressing room area for medical and/or tactical reasons only, provided such communication devices are suitably encrypted to avoid detection by any third party in the nearby vicinity."
Under the new rules, the usage of walkie-talkie is allowed by the players and the support staff, but mobile phones are strictly prohibited in the dressing room and near the playing area.
During the 1999 World Cup, late South African captain Hansie Cronje was embroiled in a massive controversy when he was seen talking to coach Bob Woolmer using an earpiece while on the field. The act was caught by India’s Sourav Ganguly, who informed the umpires about the same, forcing the ICC to amend their rules and ban the usage of such devices.
The ICC also clarified that no press release will be issued as Kohli had taken prior permission from it and used the official walkie-talkies within the rules.
In veteran pacer Ashish Nehra’s final game for India, the hosts beat the Kiwis by 53 runs with a clinical all-round performance, going one-up in the three-match series. The next game will be played at Rajkot on November 4.