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    ACB limits television replays at grounds

    By Julian Linden

    PERTH, Nov 25 - The Australian Cricket Board has introduced rules banning the repeated use of television replays inside cricket grounds.

    The ACB said it had instructed ground staff to limit the number of times they replayed controversial incidents on the giant television screens in an effort to stop the public humiliation of test match umpires. The board said it would restrict the number of replays to one in slow-motion and one at normal speed.

    The move was made after John Reid, the match referee in charge of last week's second test between Australia and Pakistan in Hobart, complained at having to watch a number of controversial incidents replayed ad nauseam.

    Reid said the replays incited the crowds and put unnecessary pressure on umpires. He said he was particularly concerned by the repeated showing of Justin Langer's controversial edge behind off Pakistan fast bowler Wasim Akram on the final day of the test.

    Although Langer was given not out by Australian umpire Peter Parker, the large screen repeatedly showed a "snickometer" reading indicating he had hit the ball.

    The snickometer is a delicate device that detects sound at the precise moment the ball passes the bat but it has been heavily criticised by players.

    MEDIA INTRUSION CRITICISED

    Langer, whose second innings knock of 127 helped to guide Australia to a remarkable victory, has steadfastly denied hitting the ball.

    The snickometer is not used by umpires but is used by some television stations, including the Nine Network which broadcasts cricket in Australia.

    Australia's players, including captain Steve Waugh, have also complained about the use of on-field microphones and about media intrusion into their private lives after an unidentified Australian player criticised one of his team mates in Hobart.

    Although it is not clear who made the comments, someone can be heard saying of young fast bowler Scott Muller during the match that he "can't throw, can't bowl".

    Muller was dropped from the team immediately after the match and told reporters on Thursday that he was upset by the criticism.

    Waugh said he did not know who made the comments and said he was opposed to the use of on-field microphones and increased invasion of the players' privacy.

    CAMERAS AND MICROPHONES

    "You can't seem to have any conversation these days without someone knowing about it. We feel like we're in the Truman Show," he said.

    "Everywhere we go there's a camera. You go back to the hotel and there's a camera, you go out to dinner and there might be someone there, you're watching the game and there's a camera there."

    Waugh said the players had discussed the issue of microphones with the ACB and the television networks but nothing had been done about it.

    "We've talked about it many times, every time we go into a series we say 'can we have these turned off in between balls or after the ball has been bowled?'" Waugh said.

    "That's how it's supposed to be but it never happens.

    "You can only ask so many times and nothing gets done about it so what can we do? We've already asked about it a number of times."


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