Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon has aired his disapproval at the International Cricket Council’s decision to allow stump microphone audio to be broadcast at all times and the introduction of a new offence that punishes audible obscenities.
While Lyon is against the expansion of stump microphone use, which can now be broadcast even when the ball is dead, he has endorsed the move to increase the penalty for ball-tampering from a maximum of four Tests to six.
But the crackdown on offensive language, which has been introduced as a new offence in the ICC Code of Conduct, worries Lyon, who says cursing on a cricket field is “very, very rarely” directed at opponents.
Lyon argues foul language is often simply audible personal criticism after failing to execute a skill, not an expletive aimed at an adversary or official.
“I totally agree with the ball-tampering stuff (penalty increases), but to be honest with you, I’m not the biggest fan of the stump mics being turned up,” Lyon said on this week’s edition of The Unplayable Podcast.
“I think what’s on the field needs to stay on the field.
“There’s a few expletives flying around when people don’t execute their skills.
“It’s very, very rarely that people are sharing expletives with the opposition or an umpire or an official.
“That’s where I’m not the biggest fan of the stump mics going up because we’re a lot of role models.
“I’m not saying swearing is OK, but when you’re competing at the highest level and under extreme amounts of pressure, sometimes you miss your skill and therefore an expletive may come out.
“But we’re going to have young kids watching so as grown men we need to try and pull our heads in and realise that we’re massive role models for the game.
“It’s going to be a pretty interesting time.”
At the start of each series, the Australians ask the host broadcasters to abide by the ICC regulations on on the use of stump micorphones, which previously stated that the stump microphone audio was to be lowered when the ball is dead and in between deliveries.
That was the case in South Africa for the four-Test series in March-April this year, but having felt those ICC guidelines were not being followed, the tourists opted to plug their sponsors when in the vicinity of the stump microphones.
It was a cheeky jab at television network SuperSport, who acquiesced soon after the Australians promoted their corporate partners.
With two new broadcasters – Channel 7 and Fox Sports – set to televise cricket in Australia for the next six years, the use of stump microphones will undoubtedly be discussed ahead of next summer.
Yesterday, the ICC announced four new offences in the Code of Conduct and upped the penalty for Level 3 offences, which now includes ball-tampering.
New offences include: Attempting to gain an unfair advantage (cheating, other than ball-tampering), personal abuse, audible obscenity and disobeying an umpire’s instructions.
Attempting to gain an unfair advantage and personal abuse are Level 2 or 3 offences, while an audible obscenity and disobeying an umpire’s instructions are Level 1 offences.
The maximum penalty for a Level 3 offence has been increased from eight suspension points to 12, which equates to a raise from four Tests or eight ODIs to six Tests or 12 ODIs.