Asia Cup 2022: Bangladesh Fans Enraged by Sri Lanka Use of Coded Signals; Coach Explains What Those Meant

Sri Lankan coach Chris Silverwood used coded signals to pass information to their players in the all-important Asia Cup 2022 game against Bangladesh on Thursday (September 1).

During the match, it was seen that the head coach along with the team analyst was sending coded messages like “2D” and “D5” to Sri Lanka’s captain and his players. This didn’t go down well at all on social media and amongst the Bangladesh supporters.

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Silverwood, however, clarified about the same after team’s stunning win in the game. Explaining the reason behind displaying the signals, Silverwood stated that the use of codes was only to give suggestion and not to direct captain for his role.

“There’s no rocket science. They are just suggestion for the captain at what would be a good match at a particular point for a batsman when he is on strike. There’s a lot of teams doing it now, it’s just as simple as it is, really. It’s just giving suggestions that the captain can use, it’s not telling him how to captain. It’s just the suggestion from the side,” Silverwood said.

This was not the first time Silverwood was seen using codes during the match, he used such signals during his coaching stint with England, and then-English captain Eoin Morgan also defended the tactic several times.

“100 per cent, (it’s) within the spirit of the game. There’s nothing untoward about it. It’s about maximising the information that we’re taking in, and measuring it against things (like) coaches’ recommendations, the data, what’s going on,” Morgan was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

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It seems Sri Lanka are walking down the path that was once taken by England.  In 2020, during the T20 series against South Africa, the English team used real-time coded signals from the dressing room. It was used for communicating with the then skipper Eoin Morgan on the field.

However, this practice has received mixed reactions from several cricket players. Former England captain Michael Vaughan criticised it while Morgan defended its use.

Earlier, the ECB said the signalling system was being trialled and was “intended as a live informational resource that the captain may choose to use or ignore as he wishes”. It added – “They are not commands or instructions and all decision-making takes place on the field.”

While, Silverwood and his team may have various reasons to justify their use of coded signals but fans didn’t seem happy with this practice at all.

“If signals are sent from the dressing room, then what is the role of a captain in the field? Cricket is not football,” argued a fan about Sri Lanka sending messages to their players.

Bangladesh-Sri Lanka match was very crucial one as before the match itself,  Shanaka termed Bangladesh an “easier opponent” in comparison to Afghanistan, while Khaled Mahmud, Bangladesh’s team director, claimed that Sri Lankans have ‘no world-class bowlers’ in retort.

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However, Sri Lanka emerged the winners after a nail-biting match between the two teams.

Bangladesh reached 183/7 in 20 overs, with the help of Mehidy Hasan Miraz (38) and Afif Hossain (39). Mahmudullah and Mosaddek Hossain also came with late cameos, scoring 27 and 24 respectively.

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During the chase game, Sri Lanka faced a middle-order collapse but Kusal Mendis (60 off 37 deliveries) and captain Dasun Shanaka (45 off 33 deliveries) holded the match quite well, with Chamika Karunaratne (16 off 10 balls) and Asitha Fernando (10* off 3 balls) providing the late bloom to take the Sri Lankans to victory.

Now, Sri Lanka have qualified for the Super 4 stage along with Afghanistan in Group B. It is to be seen how both the teams perform in the rest of Asia Cup 2022.

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