The Briefing

Players don't need privacy. They need to say more stupid things on stump mics

Our correspondent looks at all the hot topics in cricket, including the Nigerian princes writing emails to Brendan Taylor

David Warner listens to the noise coming from the stump mic, England v Australia, 1st Test, Birmingham, 5th day, August 5, 2019

"I'm a Hobi stan and I'd like the world to know it"  •  Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty Images

Opening rant
Should we be turning off stump mics in between deliveries, so that international cricketers can have a safe space on the field that they will use to more readily abuse each other? Some ex-players think so. News flash, though, dinosaurs, there's no such thing as privacy anymore. Today's cricketers are Instagramming their workouts, Tik-Toking their kids, tweeting their vaccination views, YouTubing their friendships, and perhaps, very soon, selling their colonoscopies as NFTs.
Hearing players say stupid things on the stump mics helps us enjoy cricket more. We're in year three of a pandemic. Don't you dare take this away from us.
Are we the a*****es?
Look, we all made fun of them. How we laughed when Virat Kohli and KL Rahul and R Ashwin leaned into the stumps in Cape Town and expressed their displeasure at a DRS call that overturned an lbw dismissal against Dean Elgar. How we giggled at their frustration.
But friends, take a moment. Put yourselves in their shoes. What if it had been you who had had a decision go against you in the dying hours of a series you were expected to win but were losing? You wouldn't look any better than they did yelling at an inanimate object, would you?
There are learnings. Next time India feel compelled to lean down and shout into three 28-inch stakes at the end of a mown strip, perhaps they could plead their sanity before they say what they need to say.
"I'm not a crank, but it's the whole country against 11 guys."
"You should find better ways to win SuperSport, and I yell that at a piece of wood as someone who hasn't lost his mind."
Stop calling it crazy. They're not crazy. It's normal. They're not crazy.
Mr Oblivious
Brendan Taylor was last month banned from cricket for four breaches of the ICC's anti-corruption code. He tried to get ahead of the story by admitting on his social media that he had failed to disclose a corrupt approach to the ICC for four months, but even if we believe Taylor never intended to get involved in fixing, all these warning signs were ignored:
- Taylor was warned by his agent that he had a "bad feeling" about the "Mr S" who approached Taylor about potentially setting up a tournament in Zimbabwe.
- Taylor was flown to India with only vague offers of sponsorships having been discussed.
- He was given a phone and "various other things for his entertainment" upon arrival.
- He was told he'd get US$15,000 for just making the trip.
- He was offered cocaine after a "celebratory dinner".
If, after years of anti-corruption training, Taylor didn't see the forest of red flags leading up to the moment when he was supposedly confronted by associates of this "Mr S" with a compromising video of him taking the cocaine, then he's got big problems in life.
Brendan, if any Nigerian princes email you for help, don't send them money. If there's a hitchhiker slinging an axe on the side of the road, don't stop to pick him up. And if the toilet looks like it has plastic wrap around it, for heaven's sake, don't pee on it.
Someone please get around this fella and keep him safe.
The rage-quit and return
Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who strikes at 136 and has hit two T20I fifties, he will have you know, was in the headlines in January for retiring from international cricket at age 30, then un-retiring days later after the country's sports minister met with him and asked him to stick around. Why did he retire in the first place? Sri Lanka have recently tightened up their minimum fitness standards, and Rajapaksa, by his own admission, was not on track to meet them. Why did he not work on meeting them when he had known for months that his fitness was a concern? Well, if he drops some weight he thinks he might not be able to hit the ball as hard, and distance = speed x time x flab.
Shastri corner
Although he is no longer India's coach, Ravi Shastri has come out strong in support of Virat Kohli since Kohli stepped down as captain. Shastri has defended the team's defeats in South Africa, as well as Kohli's inability to deliver India a world title as captain. There's no joke about Shastri here. We're all out. In the end, love conquers all.
Next month on the Briefing:
- India team workshop more scathing remarks to make to the wickets #normalisetalkingtotimber
- "That's lovely of you mate, I'll be right over with a bottle of soy sauce," - Brendan Taylor, after Hannibal Lecter asks to have him for dinner.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf