Ryan Sidebottom fears stump mics could ruin Test match 'nitty-gritty' after Jos Buttler incident
"I'd like to see the microphones off so guys can try and get under the skin of opposition players."
Last Updated: 12/01/20 10:59am
Former England bowler Ryan Sidebottom is concerned that the presence of stump microphones could detract from the "nitty-gritty" of a Test match.
England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler was fined 15 per cent of his match fee after he was heard swearing at South Africa's Vernon Philander via the microphone during the second Test at Cape Town earlier this week.
But Sidebottom, who played 22 Tests between 2001 and 2010, would prefer to have the volume turned down at times rather than risk inhibiting the players' competitive nature on the field.
"Test matches bring so much drama and tension, guys are out there giving it absolutely everything - and I love a little bit of nitty-gritty," Sidebottom told Sky Sports News.
"They want to go out there and play hard cricket, to win the game for their country and I like that. So I would turn the stump mics off from time to time.
"Obviously people would have heard that (Buttler's language) at home, it's not ideal. But I'd like to see the microphones off so guys can try and get under the skin of opposition players.
"I would prefer to see the lads being aggressive out there. You're trying to win games, that's what it's all about when you're playing professional sport and you want players going at it, then after the game you shake hands and get on with it."
England's 189-run victory at Newlands levelled the four-match series at 1-1, but they head to the third Test in Port Elizabeth - which begins on Thursday, January 16, live on Sky Sports Cricket - without James Anderson.
The 37-year-old seamer, who has taken more Test wickets - 584 - than any other England bowler, will miss the rest of the series due to a rib injury, casting doubt over his international future.
However, Sidebottom said: "Don't write Jimmy Anderson off yet. He's arguably England's greatest ever fast bowler, certainly one of the best there's ever been.
"He's still a fine, fine bowler and he's still hungry for wickets, he'll still want to create history for himself and his team. If he's still taking wickets and contributing to England victories, he's got to be on that teamsheet.
"People are talking about his age and saying that's he's susceptible to more injuries which, yes, is the case - but you look at what he does on the pitch and what he brings to the team."
Jofra Archer, who missed the Cape Town triumph with an elbow problem, and Mark Wood are the leading contenders to replace Anderson in the tourists' pace attack at Port Elizabeth.
Sidebottom expects Archer to get the nod in what should otherwise be an unchanged line-up for Joe Root's team.
He added: "Mark Wood's been in and around the set-up and he's a fine, fine bowler who's coming back from injury, but I think you have to go for Jofra Archer to come in and replace Jimmy.
"Archer's now been there and experienced the highs and lows of playing Test cricket - how difficult it is mentally and physically - and he's got that extra pace which we'll probably need at Port Elizabeth.
"It's great for (coach) Chris Silverwood and Joe Root to have a selection headache when they win a Test in that manner and everyone's contributed to the victory.
"It's difficult to look at who you bring in, who you'd drop. I'd see them playing the same team, other than Archer to replace Anderson."
Watch day one of the third Test between South Africa and England, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 7.30am on Thursday.