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October 24, 2003
Microphones will be attached to umpires for the first time in Australian cricket history when the New South Wales Blues play the Victorian Bushrangers in the opening round of the ING Cup in Bowral on Sunday 26 October.
The trial will see umpires Darrell Hair and Steve Davis "miked-up" for the Channel Nine telecast game, allowing viewers closer access to the action in the middle.
The concept will be reviewed following the match to assess whether such technology could be used throughout the remainder of the ING Cup season.
Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said the concept confirmed the ING Cup's innovative reputation.
"This concept will help ensure the Channel Nine telecast remains attractive to viewers, and if the trial goes well on Sunday, we can expect to see this technology used more frequently in the future," Mr Sutherland said.
"We are committed to introducing innovation across all elements of the competition to ensure the ING Cup remains one of the world's leading domestic limited-overs competitions.
"The umpires involved have been briefed on the technology and are keen to participate, while the trial has the full support of the Australian Cricketers' Association, who were consulted during the concept-development process."
The microphone will be fixed to the shirt collar of the umpire, and will be short range, focusing on the voice of the person wearing the microphone. It will catch noise from a player speaking to the umpire from a very close range, but the main audio pick-up will be directly from the umpire.
The trial follows last week's announcement of three new playing conditions for the ING Cup.
An extra bonus point will be awarded to the team which doubles the run rate of the opposition; a free-hit will be awarded to a batsman following a foot-fault no ball; and the number of players in each team will revert back from 12 to 11 players per side.
The new playing conditions will come into effect for tonight's season-opening game between the West Australian Warriors and the South Australian Redbacks at the WACA Ground in Perth. Other ING Cup match promotions returning this season include the popular Fastest Fifty and Hit the Sign competitions.
What's wrong with their cricket? Well, what isn't?