Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hot Spot inventor keeping quiet on controversy

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Pietersen angered by Ashes cheat claims

England batsman Kevin Pietersen has furiously denied reports in the Australia media that he has cheated to prevent the detection of edges.

Hot Spot has become such a sensitive topic that its inventor has struck an agreement with the International Cricket Council not to talk about it ahead of the fourth Ashes Test.

As former England captain Mike Atherton called for Hot Spot to be dropped from the decision review system because of a crisis of confidence in its ability to detect faint edges, Warren Brennan, the Australian who developed the technology, said on Thursday that he was unable to shed further light on the controversy.

Brennan, who has never claimed Hot Spot is infallible, has met ICC operations manager Geoff Allardice to discuss how the technology, and its use, can be improved.

The Australians celebrate after Peter Siddle of Australia claimed the wicket of Kevin Pietersen during day five of third Ashes Test.

The Australians celebrate after Peter Siddle of Australia claimed the wicket of Kevin Pietersen during day five of third Ashes Test. Photo: Getty Images

"I'm in a situation where I can't discuss anything, that's what I have agreed with the ICC. I'm not going to divulge anything at the moment, I'm sorry," he said.

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Allardice is meeting the coaches of Australia and England in Durham before the fourth Test, which begins on Friday, to discuss the DRS which has become a dominant character in the series.

Atherton believes the ICC should give Hot Spot, the thermal imaging machine, a breather because it is creating controversy rather than solving it.

"It is true that human error, from the third umpire's chair, has added to the problems, but having worked in television for a number of years, I can only say I would have struggled to know what decision to give on a number of occasions. Given that Hot Spot is clearly unable to pick up many fine edges, how much credence does the third umpire ascribe to it?" he wrote in The Times.

"How much weight does he give to the various bits of evidence that are often conflicting — sound, deviation and infra-red technology — given the underlying principle to stay with the on-field umpire's decision as far as is possible? Umpires have become confused, as have the players."

The ICC has denied a report that it is investigating allegations of players using silicone tape on their bats to beat Hot Spot.

Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board both support the use of technology but DRS could be tweaked before this summer's home Ashes series.

However, former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff believes cricket should return to a pre-technology age. "I've never been a fan [of DRS] from the start. I'd just scrap it and move on," he told BBC Radio Five Live.

Former Australian batsman Dean Jones told 3AW he had "no doubt" that applying silicone tape would help a batsman's chance of avoiding a snick being detected by hotspot technology.

But he did not believe widespread attempts at cheating were occurring and called on cricket administrators to improve the accuracy of the DRS system.

"I've heard about this and I've heard about the thought of putting vasoline or some some of wax on the inside edges or that type of stuff which is just absolute hogwash thinking it will get rid off or diminish the chance of hot spot picking up a spot on your bat," Jones said.

"DRS is not too bad. It's there for the howlers, but it's no where near 100 per cent. I have been saying (that) for two years and I have been nailed on (it) (with people saying) 'you're only looking after the India cricket board'."

"The Indian cricket board is the only cricket board in the world that doesn't like DRS because they don't believe it's right. It's not even close to getting the decisions right."

And England wicketkeeper Matt Prior, writing for The Telegraph, said players had lost confidence in hot spot and were frustrated by the way the DRS system was being used.

"Ultimately we all want the right decisions to be made but I am not sure we trust Hot Spot anymore.

"There are so many edges it has missed: Steve Smith and David Warner in this last Test are just a couple of examples. From our point of view it makes it hard to decide what to review.

"Sometimes you hear a noise, and I know by the feel of the ball hitting the glove if there has been an edge. Cooky and I look at each other and say "he hit it".

"We have to review but then we worry if Hot Spot is going to show up a mark."

Prior wrote that he still supported DRS, and forgave umpires mistakes made on the field, but once a review was called, the right decision has to be reached.

"From a player's point of view it is frustrating when that does not happen."

 - with Stathi Paxinos and Will Brodie


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