NEW DELHI: During the first Twenty20 international between India and New Zealand at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Wednesday, television cameras showed Virat Kohli, sitting in the team dugout, speaking on a walkie-talkie. Immediately, social media became abuzz about the legality of what was visible on TV, with many questioning if the Indian captain was allowed to do so.
Contrary to what has been doing the rounds of some Indian news channels and on social media, Kohli was not in violation of any ICC rule. As per the ICC, while mobile phones are banned from dressing rooms, players and members of team management are allowed to use walkie-talkies.
Conversing over walkie-talkies is perfectly legitimate, and umpires, match referees and players often use them. More particularly, it is a common mode of communication in T20 cricket to communicate from the dugout to dressing room.
In fact, as per the ICC’s document for Minimum Standards, point 4.3.1 states that “For the avoidance of doubt, none of the foregoing provisions shall operate to prevent: the use of two-way handheld device that uses dedicated frequencies over short distances (i.e. a ‘walkie-talkie’) by Player Support Personnel for the purpose of communication between the dugout and dressing room area for medical and/or tactical reasons only, provided that such communication devices are suitably encrypted to avoid detection by any third part in the nearby vicinity…”
While there has been no statement by the BCCI or ICC, cricket’s governing body, on the moment as of now, what can be deduced is that Kohli was using the walkie-talkie to communicate with members of the Indian team upstairs in the dressing room, located on the second floor of the Kotla.
India won the first T20I by a whopping 53 runs, which was their first over New Zealand in the format dating back to when the two teams first met during the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in 2017.