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What were these earpieces we saw during the India-England match?

Spectators and even some players in the dressing room were seen listening in to an earpiece during the India-England Test match today. But instead of distracting them from a good display of cricket, these earpieces do the opposite.

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What were these earpieces we saw during the India-England match?
Spectators seen wearing the live commentary radio earpieces during a cricket match. Image: Sound Decisions

It was a marvellous display of Test cricket that unfolded at the centre of Edgbaston stadium in Birmingham. Both India and England teams went toe-to-toe before the hosts finally clinched the match. While the two teams were slugging it out at the centre, some players in the dressing room and even a few spectators were seen listening in to a curious gadget attached to one of their ears.

One could wonder why someone would distract themselves when there is a nail-biting session of cricket going on in front of them. Well, it is actually the opposite. These earpieces help players and spectators follow the game more closely.

These audio devices are miniature radio sets which are used to tune into a local radio channel to listen in to the live commentary of the match as it goes on. The signal strength is usually limited for these pocket-able radio earpieces. Sometimes the range is limited to the stadium or playing area, or maybe a few blocks. And not only cricket grounds, these earpieces are used during other sports events too, ranging from rugby to horse racing, and everything in between, as well as at non-sporting events.

The earpieces are used by players in the dressing rooms to keep a closer watch on what's going on in the game even while they are out of the field. The spectators, who can get these ear radios for a fee, use it to understand what happened at a point in the match when they cannot see it clearly from the stands, like a close run out in a cricket match or a photo-finish ending of a F1 race. Sports journalists are known to use these earpieces to keep tabs on the game when they might be busy getting interviews or filing a quick report.

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