Australia v India, 5th ODI, Sydney January 23, 2016

Dhoni 'disturbed' by spidercam intrusion


Play 01:18
Dhoni distracted by spidercam

The first ball Virat Kohli faced in a tight and ultimately successful chase at SCG should have gone for four runs. Instead, the ball was called dead because it hit the spidercam on its way to the boundary. In the last Test that India had played at the SCG, Steven Smith dropped a sitter from KL Rahul because he was distracted by the spidercam. The ball might have even flicked the cable. India eventually won the fifth ODI, but who knows if Australia would have been held to a draw had Rahul not gone on to score a century in the Test last year?

MS Dhoni, India's limited-overs captain, has called for balance when it comes to intruding the field of play for TV gimmicks. He has also spoken about other gimmicks that have mushroomed with the advent of Twenty20. "I am quite a traditional guy," Dhoni said. "I have always felt that… anything that disturbs the game of cricket I don't like it. It all started right from the T20 where people would be like, 'Why don't you wear a mic?', 'Why don't you wear a camera?'

"I have always felt there is a need for balance. At the end of the day it is a spectator sport, people watching on television, but at the same time four runs can matter, especially when it is a close game. Those four runs can be crucial. Everyone gets penalised, why not have the same system for the spidercam? Say, 'Okay if you get hit, 2000 dollars per hit.' Let's make it interesting.

"People [broadcasters] are striving for more. When you have got out and walking off, the cameraman goes right under your face. The same way the spidercam is right next to you. You have seen players, they are like, 'What is happening?' It makes a lot of noise. At the end of the day it is also about the spectators. If spectators are not there, cricket won't be played. It is a mix and match; 2000 dollars per hit is a good option."

During the Sydney Test last year, the camera was moved higher and away from the field of play rapidly after the incident. This time, though, the upper-cut from Kohli was not even a skier. Back then, a joint statement from Channel Nine and Cricket Australia said: "We have spoken about the matter involving spidercam and the dropped catch before lunch and it's clear the ball did not hit the camera or its supporting wires. Captain Steve Smith was distracted by one of the wires in his eye line. Both CA and Nine will continue to work together on the use of spidercam in the broadcast coverage and will take on board any player feedback as necessary. As it stands, if any player has a concern about the placement of spidercam they can ask the umpires for it to be moved."

Dhoni's larger point about the intrusion into the players' space might hold some resonance too, especially shoving cameras up their faces when they have just got out or doing interviews just after their dismissals. Such interviews were the centre of conversation when, earlier in the Australian summer, Chris Gayle infamously made a female reporter uncomfortable in an interview as soon as he had walked off the field.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ash on January 27, 2016, 2:12 GMT

    @CricketMakdi , good one mate. So, how many tests Manish Pandey played then?? You're really good in understanding the article.

  • Praveen on January 25, 2016, 22:36 GMT

    This is ridiculous the batsman name is Manish Pandey and not K L Rahul

  • Srinivas on January 25, 2016, 21:53 GMT

    Instead of spidercams, they should introduce spider drones. With collision detection and avoidance systems! I'm sure a decent setup can have several of these things available and cycle them through charges to keep them flying.

  • ashok on January 25, 2016, 17:59 GMT

    Dhoni is right, Cricketers are not stage actors to zoom in cameras close to their faces...

  • Rob on January 25, 2016, 10:24 GMT

    Spidercam, third umpire, drs....where's the game of cricket gone?

  • syed on January 25, 2016, 6:54 GMT

    Did Dhoni or any other player does not know that the ball might hit the cam. Why they did not oppose it in first place.

  • Ash on January 25, 2016, 5:55 GMT

    @Uncapped : Dhoni was suggesting that there are penalties for everything, like slow over rate or if the ball hits that helmet on the ground behind the wicket keeper. He was asking whether Channel 9 or anyone who defends the spidercam ready to take that challenge that if the ball hits the spidercam, then the cam (the broadcaster) should be fined $2000 per hit like it made a genuine shot for 4 as a dead ball and made Smith to drop a straightforward catch. He is even telling to keep the cam if you really want (defenders) but accept the challenge of paying $2000 per hit if at all.

  • Ash on January 25, 2016, 5:30 GMT

    Someone stated that for 1 such instance it will be foolish to remove the spyder cam. Can we say the same thing that we wanted more death before we talk about design of the helmets or asking umpires to wear a helmet. We have witnessed 2 instances of spidercam annoying batting and fielding team. First of all why we need this spidercam?? We did had good coverage without this idiotic stuff. If the ball hits the helmet (which is on the ground behind WK ) the fielding team gets penalty even though that helmet is a must either for a short leg fielder or a WK for the next over. If you can penalise for something that is a must for a fielding team, then why cant you penalise the spidercam for obstructing the field in some way. Can Channel nine or someone who support this spidercam take this challenge of $2000 per hit first before defending spidercam?? Dhoni did not spoke any sense so far either with team selection, or reason for the loss or about DRS but this time he is making some sense.

  • dan on January 25, 2016, 4:41 GMT

    whatever those indian kids were incredible one of the best batting displays i have ever seen a missed catch and a couple of runs more they could have won the series. those first four batters were fantastic way more entertaining then their australian counterparts.

  • Manesh on January 25, 2016, 4:24 GMT

    Next time you can see a camera man in the field. They need to jump or just avoid collision when ball is in their way, isn't it? CA will do blunders inorder to show them as innovative!

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