The International Cricket Council will not allow broadcasters to strap microphones to players during one-day internationals for fear that corrupt cricketers could send coded messages to illegal bookmakers and gamblers live on air.Channel Nine is trying to convince the ICC to ease its stance on the issue but the recent controversies surrounding alleged match-fixing and spot-fixing has led to increased resistance.The concerns about corruption within the game may also lead to the withdrawal of permission for players to wear microphones in Twenty20 internationals. No players are allowed to wear microphones in ICC events such as World Cups and Champions Trophy tournaments, but in bilateral series, host boards can decide if their players will wear them for the broadcaster.Networks consider this a great tool to boost audiences because the viewer can get closer than ever to the action by listening to what players are thinking at crucial stages.However, as rumours of corruption swirl around cricket, officials are worried that players could use secret words or phrases that would sound meaningless to the average listener, but would trigger a response for gamblers and bookmakers who deal in spot-fixing. This is where bets are taken on the outcomes of small moments in play, for example, what might occur in the fourth ball of the second over.Channel Nine has had positive feedback from viewers to players being able to speak while on the field in T20s and wants to use the system in ODIs, where ratings are lower.Nine’s executive producer of cricket, Brad McNamara, said the blockade reflected double standards by the ICC because they allow players to wear microphones in international Twenty20s.”There is absolutely no difference as far as we’re concerned, that is one thing we’re going to investigate, we can’t see any problems with it,” he said. ”I think it is a little bit overprotective, we think they are being way oversensitive about it.”If people are going to be drawn to one-day cricket through tools that have proven successful in Twenty20s, then it makes sense to use those tools.”We definitely see the miking of players as adding to the entertainment value of the product and our indication from the players is that it is not a drama.”The problem is with the ICC. If they want to lift their game they need to start thinking outside the box. We think they are being overzealous about miking the players.”An ICC spokesman last night said the gambling aspect was one of many issues they had a problem with and suggested the T20 allowance could be revoked.”We allowed players to wear microphones in Twenty20s in the early days because it was a new form of the game and we wanted to give it every opportunity to succeed,” the spokesman said. ”There is a relaxation to players being miked in Twenty20s, but the board can review that decision if it wishes.”
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