Stump out: The tales of Paine the mic tells

Rodney Marsh to Ian Botham: 'So how's your wife and my kids?'. Botham: 'Wife's fine. Kids are retarded'

  • Published 30.12.18, 10:19 AM
  • Updated 30.12.18, 10:19 AM
  • 2 mins read
Australia's Tim Paine lies on the pitch after falling while avoiding a short ball from Mohammed Shami during the second cricket test between Australia and India in Perth, Australia, Saturday, December 15, 2018. (AP)

Paine, Down Under

The India-Australia series is finely poised. My pick for Man of the Series is Tim Paine. Seriously, many in India forgot to watch Bigg Boss 12 as they waited to hear what next the stump microphone would pick up. Canny about not picking guys his own size, Paine said to Murali Vijay after Virat Kohli got out: “I know he’s your captain, but you can’t seriously like him as a bloke.” He taunted Indian wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant about being dropped from the ODI: “...extend your little Aussie holiday. Beautiful town Hobart too. Can you babysit? (Can I) take the wife to the movies one night, you can look after the kids?” Of course, it was no one-way traffic. When it was Paine’s turn at the crease on Saturday, Pant was heard asking Mayank Agarwal at silly point: “We got a special guest today. Have you ever heard of a temporary captain, ever, Mayank?”


Long years ago, when the stump microphone technology was introduced in matches, the argument afforded was that it would help umpires in the decision-making process. Over the years, umpires have gone really hi-tech. They now have TV replays, snickometer, hawk eye, hot spot, light meter, cricket umpire counter, in-ear monitor, communication vests... Whether these really do aid judgement, facilitate a better game, or simply make for great TV and turn golden telecast rights, is anybody's guess and nobody’s concern. And experts continue with their stump mic on-off debate, here’s a peek into its varied yield. Rodney Marsh to Ian Botham: “So how's your wife and my kids?”. Botham: “Wife’s fine. Kids are retarded.” Malcolm Marshall to David Boon: “Now David, are you going to get out or am I going to have to come round the wicket and kill you?” Jamie Siddons to Steve Waugh: “For f***’s sake, mate, it’s not a f****** Test match!” Waugh: “Of course it’s not... You're here.” Then there was that Harbhajan Singh-Andrew Symonds infamous Monkeygate episode that refused to end. In a 2007 South Africa vs Pakistan Test match at Centurion, Herschelle Gibbs was heard commenting about Pakistan fans: “a bunch of bloody animals” and “f***ing baboons” who should “go back to the zoo”. 2013. Ashes Test in Brisbane. Another time, Australian captain Michael Clarke warned England's Jimmy Anderson. “Get ready for a broken f***ing arm."

Gentleman's Game

In his autobiography, An Honest And Frank Story, legendary umpire Dickie Bird wrote about a time when Sky Television kept trying to have umpires wired up for sound and how the Test and County Cricket Board refused. Bird himself was not fond of the microphone fitted into the foot of the middle stump. He wrote: “One of the first times I came across this was in the World Cup in Lahore. I kept kicking dust over it so that it couldn’t pick up any sound. The technicians kept cleaning it... They just couldn’t understand how so much dust could keep getting in there.” On Saturday, on-field umpire Ian Gould was seen having a word with Pant post his comment about Paine. It has been pointed out since that there was no such rap for the Aussie. Somewhere in the midst of all this cricket, the BJP government named nine central agencies and Delhi police as those authorised to intercept, monitor and decrypt information transmitted by or stored in any computer. Something about it being a cautionary move, to be acted upon if the government perceived a threat to national security or public order. What's the connection — did you say? Nothing. Nothing. Just a pain in the...