Warne incident sparks Ashes TV coverage debate

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Melbourne:Melbourne: Cricket Australia (CA) wants television coverage of the Ashes series to be as contemporary and entertaining as possible without damaging the integrity of players, an official said today.

The comments came a day after Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne was left visibly furious when he was asked a question about his personal life by a reporter as he walked off the field having been dismissed while batting for his state side Victoria.

The female reporter from Channel Nine, host broadcaster for the Ashes series starting in Brisbane on Nov 23, reportedly asked Warne as he trudged back to the pavilion if he and estranged wife Simone were planning to get back together.

Warne brushed past the reporter and voiced his anger to team management.

''He's not happy, not happy at all,'' Victoria coach Greg Shipperd said.

''He's just got out to an ordinary shot and before he can get to the dressing room a woman shoves a microphone up his nose and starts asking questions.'' Victoria and Western Australia officials reportedly protested to Channel Nine over the incident.

A CA spokesman said players, officials and broadcasters were involved in discussions over the Ashes series, which is expected to generate record viewing figures following England's series triumph in 2005.

''We obviously have the overriding view that cricket coverage needs to be as interesting as it can be but it must also respect the integrity of international cricketers,'' Philip Pope said.

Ideas including interviewing players as they leave the pitch and having cameras in dressing rooms are believed to have been mooted to the Australian players on their pre-season boot camp in Queensland.

''The playing group and the broadcasters are trying to work out what is and isn't possible as we move into the Ashes series. Some of the ideas will prove appropriate and some will not but we will continue the dialogue,'' Pope added.

''Channel Nine have some ideas about how to make it more contemporary but it's a work in progress.''


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