A potentially damaging situation was nipped in the bud by the Board of Control for Cricket in India after Rishabh Pant found himself in the eye of the storm once more.
The match between the Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders should have been talked about for the fact that the match went into the super over. Instead the match quickly turned into a raging bush fire as social media sites lit up with a rather serious concern.
Caught on the stump microphone was the young wicketkeeper’s voice claiming rather conveniently before the four producing ball was bowled that it would end up in a boundary. It immediately turned into a wildfire as the words were considered predictive enough to constitute some kind of illegal mischief not unlike spot or match fixing.
Even as the drama spread across to completely overshadow the match, the BCCI went into over drive as the broadcasters claimed that the circulating clip was an incomplete, edited piece when in fact Pant was merely warning his skipper Shreyas Iyer about the possible gaps in the field.
The stump microphone itself has been the subject of much debate and discussion over whether to leave it on or not and whether it should be broadcast in its entirety. Recent damaging issues were felt even by the skipper of a national team, Sarfaraz Nawaz of Pakistan, for comments considered racial and therefore, highly damaging to the image of the person and the sport.
Pant is not new to the stump microphone controversy although Tim Paine and Pant seemed to make up over the course of India’s tour of Australia. Still this one had the greater danger of potentially turning the tournament on its head and bringing back nightmares of past IPL seasons that laid the dark seed of spot fixing.
With social media more rife and being used for dissemination as well as a platform for heavy debate, discussion and sometimes aspersions as was evident in the course of the mankading controversy involving the Kings XI Punjab skipper, Ravichandran Ashwin, which saw arguments and accusations flying back and forth even between the observers and commentators of the game, it is a highly dangerous, quick medium for spreading damage as well as dirt without objective and verifiable data.
With the BCCI stepping in with a clarification, it was obvious they did not want one more player getting caught in the center of an ambiguous, worrisome controversy.
This though will not end the controversy over the subject of the stump microphone.