- The Ashes 2013-14
Hot Spot axed from Ashes series
Hot Spot will not be available to third umpires during the Ashes in Australia after Channel Nine chose to remove the technology. Decisions will now be subject to analysis by the Eagle Eye ball-tracker, audio from the stump microphones and slow-motion replays in case of a review.
Warren Brennan, the inventor of Hot Spot confirmed the development, saying the decision had been finalised as far as the use of technology was concerned. "It's their decision and that's what has been communicated to us. As far as I'm concerned, it is final,'' Brennan told the Sydney Morning Herald. ''We're just moving on with things. Channel Nine have got a new deal with Cricket Australia, which I know has cost them a lot more money. I gather there had to be some restructuring of costs.''
The costs of installing Hot Spot are around $10,000 a day for a four-camera system installed by Nine, which uses infra-red imaging to determine contact between the ball, bat or pad - that puts the series cost of Hot Spot at approximately $250,000. While the cost was a major determinant, the poor performance of the technology, especially during the Ashes in England, earlier this year was also a factor.
Hot Spot came under criticism during the Ashes series for various reasons, including the silicon-tape controversy. Before the fourth Test in Durham, a Channel Nine report alleged that a few England batsmen used silicon tape on the edge of their bats to evade Hot Spot - charges that were denied by England captain Alastair Cook and the ECB. Brennan released a statement and called for protective coatings to be removed from bats.
He conceded that these issues were a factor in Channel Nine's decision to axe Hot Spot, and reiterated his claim of bat coatings hampering the effectiveness of the system. "The point that I was trying to make was that it does significantly affect us,'' he said. ''The testing that we've done, and I haven't released that testing yet, is that when the coatings are on … it does affect the Hot Spot signature."
Brennan expressed his disappointment at Cricket Australia's refusal to intervene, or to subsidise the cost of the technology. "I don't have a beef with Channel Nine,'' Brennan said. ''The disappointing thing for us is that Cricket Australia didn't engage at all with us to try and come on board and help with this situation. They just said, 'No, it's got nothing to do with us. It's Channel Nine's responsibility.' What's disappointing is we work in four countries at the moment - well, until recently. Cricket Australia is the only body that doesn't contribute to our costs for the DRS components.
"New Zealand contribute directly to us, the ECB contribute and also South Africa. My only beef is with Cricket Australia because we tried to engage with them several weeks ago and they refused. We need to continue to invest and improve the product so that everybody thinks it's getting better. If bodies like Cricket Australia won't come on board and contribute to that, there's not really any point in us continuing.''