Hot Spot dropped ahead of Ashes series in Australia
Broadcaster Channel Nine drops expensive infra-red technology after summer of controversy
HOT SPOT, the infra-red technology used as part of the decision review system in cricket, will not be employed during this winter's Ashes series in Australia after a summer of controversy.
Australian broadcaster Channel Nine has made the decision to drop the system, designed to show if a batsman has touched the ball, just six weeks before the start of the first test in Brisbane.
The move comes after a summer in which Hot Spot's reliability was repeatedly called into question.
So, how does it work and how will its absence affect the series?
What is Hot Spot?
It's an infra-red imaging system, originally devised by the military, used by the third umpire usually to detect whether a ball has touched the bat on its way through to the wicket-keeper. It uses cameras that produce an infra-red image that shows a rise in temperature caused by friction if the ball makes any contact with another surface. If the ball brushes against the bat, a white mark will appear on bat and ball. It is used not only by the third umpire but also TV commentators as an analysis tool.
Why is it being dropped?
Channel Nine, the Australian host broadcaster, has benched Hot Spot because of its cost, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. But its poor performance in England may also have been a factor. There were several controversial decisions involving Hot Spot during England's 3-0 series win. The system failed to detect contact several times, leading to accusations from Channel Nine that English players were using silicone tape on their bats to fool the technology. It later apologised and batsman Kevin Pietersen this week won damages from Specsavers after the company repeated the claims in an advert.
How much does it cost and who pays for it?
The technology costs about £150,000 per five Test-series and that bill is picked up by the broadcaster rather than the cricket board. Channel Nine has just forked out a record £480m for the rights to show Australian cricket, which is said to have been a major factor in the decision to cut costs elsewhere. "I gather there had to be some restructuring of costs," said Hot Spot inventor Warren Brennan.
What happens next?
Although the third umpire will no longer be able to use Hot Spot, the decision review system (DRS) is expected to continue using Eagle Eye ball tracking software, audio from stump microphones as well as slow motion replays. But according to the Daily Telegraph, the future of the DRS will be discussed in an ICC board meeting in London next week. ·