Is the Australian cricket walkie-talkie legal?
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter

Player:JM Buchanan, IA Healy, RT Ponting, WJ Cronje, RA Woolmer, AA Donald
Event:Commonwealth Bank Series 2006/07

DateLine: 1st February 2007


Australian cricket coach John Buchanan has defended the use of a walkie-talkie headset to communicate with his coaching staff alongside the boundary during the one-day clash against New Zealand. He pointed out New Zealand already operated a similar scheme. Channel Nine commentator Ian Healy highlighted the practice during Sunday's international at the WACA Ground in Perth where Australia's fielding coach Mike Young received messages from Buchanan, who was in the change rooms above. Buchanan said it's vital to have immediate communication between the head coach and various coaching and medical staff around the ground. He stressed it did not cut across the normal communication and tactical discussions between captain Ricky Ponting and his players. "Look I don't think it's anything like (former South African captain) Hansie Cronje and Bob Woolmer," Buchanan told AAP. "That was the captain and the coach discussing how the game would be enacted as it went along, so I don't see it as anything like that." Woolmer coached South Africa at the 1999 World Cup in England where he used earpieces to speak with Cronje and star paceman Allan Donald on the field. The International Cricket Council felt the ploy was against the "the spirit of cricket" and Woolmer agreed to end the tactic.


"We, like most teams these days, try to communicate between where a coach is, where your bench or your people around the boundary are situated, and your dressing room," Buchanan said. "Often you are located in quite separate areas and quite a distance apart. We would just discuss what I am observing from up high as opposed to what somebody might be observing from down close to the field, or trying to get some information from the dressing room, from the physiotherapist. It's an important form of communication because of the speed of the game. There is a need a lot of times to be able to talk to someone pretty quickly, rather than having to get somebody to take a message for you. My communication certainly never crossed any lines of communication between the captain and his player on the field. A number of teams, I mean, New Zealand do exactly the same thing."