Real-time Snicko gets Ashes debut
The ICC has confirmed that Real-time Snicko technology will be be used in conjunction with Hot Spot to detect edges as part of the DRS for the upcoming Ashes series.
In October, it appeared that Channel Nine had cut Hot Spot from its list of tools for this summer's coverage but the network's executive producer of cricket, Brad McNamara, confirmed that Hot Spot and Real-time Snicko will be available after a deal was reached with BBG Sports, which provides the technologies.*
Cricket Australia and the ECB have both agreed to the use of the products and the ICC will treat the Ashes as a further, full-scale trial for the new Real-time Snicko technology before determining if it will be rolled out further. It was previously tested on the sidelines of the previous Ashes series in England.
Under the existing DRS, Snicko cannot be used as the process of matching the audio with the vision is too time-consuming, but the new Real-time Snicko reportedly makes the process almost instantaneous, giving the third umpire an extra tool to make his decision.
"The ICC has been monitoring the development of RTS for the past 12 months, including its use in more than 50 days of cricket coverage during the English summer," the ICC's general manager Geoff Allardice said.
"We were happy to support the initiative of CA and the ECB because we believe it can improve the DRS by getting more decisions correct involving faint edges, to help the umpires make those decisions faster, and to help spectators and viewers better understand those decisions."
McNamara earlier told the Sydney Morning Herald: "We had a difficult negotiation with BBG Sports but thankfully we've come together. We're thrilled to have Hot Spot continue as part of the coverage.
"We're all about the best technology in the world. We feel that is among it and are looking forward to adding to that with Real-time Snicko, which we think will add to the viewers' experience and also hopefully help in the decision-making process for umpires. It will change the DRS. Hopefully you won't get the mistakes."
Hot Spot was particularly controversial during this year's Ashes in England, when it appeared not to detect a number of thin edges and the TV umpires at times used evidence from stump microphones instead. Australia's captain Michael Clarke wrote in his newly-released book The Ashes Diary that he would prefer Hot Spot not be used until it was more reliable.
"My opinion is that if the technology isn't perfect, it shouldn't be used at all," Clarke wrote. "The inventor and owner of Hot Spot [Warren Brennan] came out and admitted it doesn't pick up all nicks. Ok, that's fine: Hot Spot should not be used until it is more reliable. Once the technology has been tested and is shown to be correct, then the ICC should rule that every team has to use it. We should have the same rule for everyone."
The other major change to the DRS for this summer's Ashes will be the introduction of extra reviews, after the ICC announced it would trial a system of topping up a team's reviews to two after 80 overs in an innings. Irrespective of whether a team has used none, one or both of its reviews, its available review tally will be set to two after the 80-over mark.
*1.20pm GMT, November 19: this story was updated to reflect confirmation from ICC