Marginal gains can be huge in Twenty20 cricket – and captain Eoin Morgan had the option of help from above during England’s clash with South Africa in Cape Town.
England analyst Nathan Leamon had placed a series of numbers and letters on clipboards on the team balcony to give Morgan suggestions on how to impact the game from in the field.
The system is one the tourists are trialling in their white-ball series in South Africa, having cleared the use of the coded messages with the match referee and anti-corruption officials.
The England and Wales Cricket Board said the signals were “intended as a live informational resource that the captain may choose to use or ignore as he wishes” and that “they are not commands or instructions and all decision-making takes place on the field”.
Speaking after England’s thumping nine-wicket win at Newlands, England vice-captain Jos Buttler told Sky Sports jokingly: “[Leamon] was calling out the EuroMillions numbers – the lads were checking their tickets!
“Seriously, analysis has become such a huge part of the game
“I don’t think Eoin needs too much help when he is out there, he is a fantastic captain, but he works closely with Nathan to come up with suggestions and certain match-ups. It was an offering of help. It’s just a little bit of an experiment.
“Eoin is one of the best captains in the world, a fantastic, instinctive captain, and there’s a nice balance going on
It was about offering him information, which he didn’t have to take.
“I think they were doing hand signals in the PSL, whereas here it was slightly different.
“I am okay with it. It is very different to Bob Woolmer feeding stuff in real time to Hansie Cronje in the 1999 World Cup through an earpiece.”
The signals for Morgan came amid a blitz from South Africa batsmen Rassie van der Dussen and Faf du Plessis, with the duo pummelling 84 runs from the final five overs as the Proteas posted 191-3.