Vaseline cannot affect Hot Spot - BBG Sports
The company behind Hot Spot, BBG Sports, has said the application of Vaseline to the edge of a bat has no discernible effect on the technology. A batsman would have to apply a whole centimetre of Vaseline to the edge of a bat for it to have any effect, the company told ESPNcricinfo.
A controversy over the system erupted when Michael Vaughan, the former England captain and now commentator, sent out a tweet that suggested India batsman VVS Laxman may have applied Vaseline to the edge of his bat, which helped him escape a caught-behind appeal on the second day of the Trent Bridge Test. England were convinced Laxman had nicked a James Anderson delivery, and though Snicko showed there was a noise as ball passed bat, Hot Spot did not show any deflection. Stuart Broad admitted to checking Laxman's bat and said he found nothing. Broad also said the England players were not convinced Hot Spot picked up faint edges
BBG Sports decided to undertake tests to see whether the cameras used for Hot Spot could be tricked by the use of artificial substances on the edge of the bat. They have now released a statement saying: "We have done testing over the past two days in our office and can conclude that putting Vaseline on the side of a cricket bat has no discernible effect on our Hot Spot system. Maybe if you were able to apply 10 millimetres [one centimetre] of Vaseline on the side of the bat it would make a difference but we believe that this would be near impossible to achieve."
Warren Brennan, the owner of Hot Spot, had previously said the device's accuracy was around 90-95% and could be impacted by factors like bright sunshine and the speed of the bat in the shot. He had also suggested at the time that there was a chance a substance like Vaseline could restrict the friction of the ball hitting the bat and therefore reduce the effectiveness of Hot Spot, but after conducting tests BBG have found that it would take too much Vaseline to have that effect.
The company will also conduct tests to see if stickers on the edge of a bat can possibly dull the heat created by a nick and thereby reduce its presence on the Hot Spot cameras. The technology providers however said their observations during the Trent Bridge Test were that Hot Spot did register contact with the bats that had stickers on them.
Hot Spot has been made a mandatory piece of technology for the DRS system following the ICC's meetings in Hong Kong last month, where it was also decided to make Hawk-Eye optional. The infra-red cameras have been especially effective at deciding bat-pad catches and whether a batsman has been hit pad first in an lbw appeal, although in the England-India series the DRS is not being used for any leg-before decisions.
There have been a number of occasions when Hot Spot has proved inconclusive in caught-behind decisions. During the last Ashes, Kevin Pietersen survived in Melbourne, which incensed Ricky Ponting, while in Sydney Ian Bell survived an appeal which Snicko - which isn't used with the DRS - later suggested was out.