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Big Bash commentator’s on-air advice being investigated by Cricket Australia

Big Bash commentator Mark Howard statistical advice prompts Adelaide Strikers captain Brad Hodge to change bowler; ‘disappointed’ Cricket Australia to investigate

cricket Updated: Jan 19, 2017 18:56 IST
Big Bash,Mark Howard,Brad Hodge
Cricket Australia’s Integrity Unit is investigating the conversation between on-air commentator Mike Howard and Adelaide Strikers’ captain Brad Hodge (in pic) during a Big Bash match on Wednesday night.(Getty Images)

Cricket Australia (CA) is investigating on-air conversation between Adelaide Strikers captain Brad Hodge and Network Ten commentator Mike Howard during Wednesday night’s Big Bash League match.

Wearing a microphone during the game, Hodge was told of Ben Laughlin’s impressive recent bowling record against Sydney Thunder batsman Shane Watson --- dismissing him twice in eight balls.

The on-air conversation was as follows:

Howard: “Our master statistician Lawrie Colliver tells us that Laughlin has got Watson twice in the last eight balls he’s bowled him in this competition.”

Hodge: “Really?”

Howard: “I’ll leave that with you skipper.”

Hodge: “I’ll bring him on next over then. Let’s get him into the game.”

Hodge duly brought on Laughlin in the next over but he didn’t get Watson out. Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen was co-commentating alongside Damien Fleming at the time but wasn’t part of the exchange. “Very naughty. Very, very naughty, Howie,” said Pietersen when Laughlin came to bowl.

Watson ended scoring 39 from 26 balls before being caught in the deep by Laughlin off the bowling of Jake Lehmann.

The broadcaster later issued an apology over the incident. “Network Ten apologises to Cricket Australia for comments made during last night’s KFC Big Bash League match,’’ a Ten spokesperson said.

(From left) Commentators Damien Fleming, Kevin Pietersen and Mark Howard. (Kevin Pietersen/Twitter)

“The comments were in no way intended to advise Adelaide Strikers captain Brad Hodge on game tactics or influence the outcome of the game. Network Ten ensures that all commentators are educated on Cricket Australia’s integrity codes and policies.”

The Australian cricket board however has launched an investigation into the incident. “We are disappointed with the comments made on the BBL broadcast last night, and expressed this concern immediately to Channel 10 when it occurred,” the CA said in a statement.

“Cricket Australia’s Integrity unit is looking into the matter further to ensure the comments made during the broadcast did not jeopardise the integrity of last night’s match.”

First Published: Jan 19, 2017 17:54 IST