Cricket isn’t football where coaches play an active role in strategising the game being played on the field. Yet, coaches and support staff continue to find unique ways of passing on their instructions to the players on the field. In the ongoing Asia Cup match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, a situation unfolded where Sri Lanka’s coaches were found given ‘coded signals’ to their team.
The incident has triggered a massive debate on social media, with fans discussing whether such an action was in the ‘spirit of the game’ or not.
With head coach Chris Silverwood sitting right next to him, Sri Lanka’s team analyst sent coded signals which read “2D” and “D5” to the team.
If signals are sent from the dressing room, then what is the role of a captain in the field? Cricket is not football,” a fan argued on social media while tagging the official Twitter account of Sri Lanka Cricket.
Earlier in 2020, the England cricket team had used a similar tactic in the T20I series against South Africa. After receiving backlash, the then England skipper Eoin Morgan said that there was nothing wrong with it.
“100 per cent, (it’s) 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 (like) coaches’ recommendations, the data, what’s going on,” Morgan had told ESPNcricinfo back then.
Incidentally, Chris Silverwood, who is the current Sri Lanka coach, was the England head coach back then.
Earlier, the ECB had said it was trying the signalling system and it was “intended as a live informational resource that the captain may choose to use or ignore as he wishes”. It added – “They are not commands or instructions and all decision-making takes place on the field.”
As for the Asia Cup contest between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the match turned out to be a nail-biter where the islanders managed to hold on to their nerves better while chasing a target of 184 runs. With just 2 wickets in hand, Sri Lanka overhauled Bangladesh’s total in 19.2 overs.