England are facing growing criticism for displaying coded signals from the dressing-room with former captain Michael Vaughan describing it as “nonsense.”
Team analyst Nathan Leamon was spotted by TV cameras placing cards with messages such as “4E” and “2C” in an attempt to provide information to captain Eoin Morgan.
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They are believed to refer to how historical data suggests South Africa batsmen could play certain England bowlers.
The strategy was cleared in advance by match referee Andy Pycroft.
But Vaughan said it was “nonsense” and tweeted: “You’re telling me you can’t get that info privately? I like info but this is a step too far.”
Signals sent from an analyst on a balcony to the captain on the pitch !!!! The world has officially gone nuts !!! #SAvENG #OnOn
England vice-captain Jos Buttler joked the signs showed lottery numbers before comparing them to the tactical time-out used in the Indian Premier League.
The ECB said the system was “a live informational resource that the captain may choose to use or ignore as he wishes. They are not commands or instructions and all decision-making takes place on the field”.
Some drew parallels with former South African coach Bob Woolmer using an earpiece to communicate with captain Hansie Cronje during the 1999 World Cup. The tactic was quickly outlawed.
England team analyst Nathan Leamon sparked controversy with these signs from the balcony in the T20 series vs. South AfricaSource:Supplied
England fast bowler Mark Wood, typically, saw the funny side.
“We’re always looking for ways to improve so maybe this is it – the analyst gets a scorecard like Craig Revel Horwood and we have a new game show,” Wood said.
“I thought they were shoe sizes at one point. Until this morning, I honestly didn’t even know about it. That’s how much notice I took.
“Morgy’s a very instinctive captain so I’m not sure he needs much help but it’s great to have the information there.”
The controversy overshadowed Dawid Malan becoming the batsman with the highest international Twenty20 ranking of all time.
He passed fifty for the tenth time in his first 19 innings – six fewer than it took Windies superstar slugger Chris Gayle to reach the milestone.
“There was a stat read out in the dressing-room last night that Chris Gayle had ten fifties in 20-odd games and Dawid has done it in 19,” Wood said.
“Gayle calls himself the Universe Boss so we’ve started calling Dawid the Milky Way Boss. That’s him from now on.”
Some excess baggage for Dawid Malan.Source:Getty Images
Malan now has a T20 international career average of 53.43 and a strike-rate of 149.47.
He was already top of the rankings but his 173 runs in three matches against South Africa have raised his tally to 915 points (out of 1,000), 44 clear of Pakistan’s Babar Azam.
The highest ranking ever achieved in Test cricket was 961 by the legendary Aussie Sir Donald Bradman, widely regarded as the greatest batsman of all time.
And the one-day international best was 935 by another iconic figure in the history of the game – Viv Richards of the Windies.
So Malan is keeping some decent company.
But, despite his remarkable run of form, he has not made England’s squad for the three 50-over matches against the Proteas, starting on Friday, and is flying home.
This story first appeared in The Sun and was republished with permission.
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