The Ashes 2013-14 October 9, 2013

Hot Spot axed from Ashes series

ESPNcricinfo staff

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 Aus $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 Aus $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.''

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harmon on October 14, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer: After Sachin's lbw controversy in the WC SF, the then operator released some documents detailing how exactly the ball's paths are calculated. It is a given that extrapolated path's accuracy will always be hugely influenced by the amount of initial data it has to build with. Those documents also explain that determining the exact point of impact is a major issue for them; certainly not as easy as you would like to imagine. Like I said, the key problem is how to determine the frame at which this impact takes place. This was a tough issue in 2011 and I think it remains so even in 2013.

    @Jose Puliampatta: The roughness of the ball, the humidity etc can all only effect the ball in one way after it pitches - by changing its velocity. The ball's horizontal velocity determines how slow it has become after pitching and the vertical velocity determines how high it will rise after pitching. Nothing else is needed.

    @coldcoffee123: I agree, we don't need such exp tools.

  • Tony on October 11, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    unless you use bats charged electrically and balls charged magnetically and somehow make a flash of light when they make contact, there is no way you can be 100 percent sure of thinnest of the edges. Then again a dust on the ball, so minute that it is not seen by naked eye could make a contact with bat, and not the ball. In short ,there is limitation to technology, so it is cost effectiveness of the technology. If it is just 10k USD per stadium then it is fine. But if it is 10K USD per day, then you got to think twice. I am with cricket australia and hopefully india can accept this solution of DRS. disclosure, I am an Indian who hates BCCI

  • Indian on October 10, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    British based Hawk Eye just lost out to German GoalControl for the Football goal line technology. I'm sure German technology will be much better and should be approached by BCCI to work on cricket.. they understand what 100% accuracy means!!

  • Nanda Kumar on October 10, 2013, 17:43 GMT

    I can see the folks at the BCCI rolling on the ground laughing. Tuely bizzare. How can an important initiative be left to the TV companies. If I remember some of these technologies like snicko and hot spot were first introduced to improve the viewer experience. Then the Boards got greedy and made these gizmos into the DRS. Without of course looking at the commercial aspect.They just assumed that the TV companies will pick up the tabs. Forgetting al the while the age old dictum ie THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH. Well the chickens have come home to roost. The TV companies are seeking their pound of flesh and there are no answers. Surely very poorly thought through plan of implementation. Wonder what kind of fokks run the ICC or the repective Boards.

  • Alan Bain on October 10, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    This should not be up to Channel Nine to decide. If they can't afford it the games should be taken away from them and given to a pay TV channel (Fox)? And it should be an ICC rule that the TV companies should pay for the technology and if that means no FTA Test Cricket so be it. Having the cricket on Sky has not done it any harm in England. Does the Australian Government insist Test cricket should be FTA as IMO that is government interference and governments should not be allowed to interfere in sport. Channel Nine should be told pay for hot spot or lose the cicket.

  • ian on October 10, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    Well, if Sky continues to use HotSpot and a feather/tickle isn't picked up on stump mic, slo-mo, etc., we can look forward to yet more controversy in our early-hours watching! HotSpot had the virtue of being conclusive if it shows up, but its non-appearance is not conclusive either way. The enormous cost of it is, however, a valid deciding factor, IMO. That said, an over-reliance on stump mic is fraught with problems as any surface-to-surface contact (bat to ground; bat to pad; ball brushing thigh-pad, etc) may produce a snick sound. I predict that there'll continue to be plenty of wrong decisions, but we've got very used to that. The bottom line is always the same: the standard of umpiring, on & off the field.

  • o on October 10, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    Very disappointing, Hotspot is decisive 95% of the time and helps confirm results together with Snicko. I think so much was made over 1 or 2 decisions in the last Ashes and has been blown way out of proportion !

  • John on October 10, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    @GrindAR on (October 9, 2013, 20:28 GMT) I wish someone had translated your post before submission. I think you'll find Hot Spot is better than you make it out to be. Anyway , I have no huge issues either way with it not being used , but it seems there will be no technology for edges at all in this series if Snicko is also not being used. It's the same for both sides so I have no huge issue. Re other sports , Tennis uses Hawkeye and it seems to be a success and in football , analysts/fans etc have wanted goalline technology for ages. TBH , I don't know what your issue was with what I posted. The problem in the Ashes series was how the umpires handled it and as I pointed out there were no huge issues in any of the previous series in the last few years involving Eng. If it was a DRS thing they'd have surfaced in other series - no?

  • Will on October 10, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    Crazy that the broadcaster has the final say but at least they made the correct call. Warren Brennan needs to consider his next move very carefully. If he is about to start making claims against players he should remember one thing - he may not have released his test results but we have all seen 'Not Spot'' tested in action and it doesn't work. The umpires are not to blame either, they rely on dodgy technology and it isn't fair on them or the players.

    Try to stay focused on one more thing Warren...'...there's not really any point in us continuing'. Couldn't agree more.

  • Dummy4 on October 10, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    congratulations channel nine for saving your money. why waste your money if no one is going to use hot-spot properly. nothing wrong with the technology. The DRS system itself is flawed, and until it is overhauled, Joe Public will have to continue to put up with decisions that even a 10 year old can tell is wrong. i hated watching last ashes as the decisions were consistently crap. the TV nearly ended up out the window. PLEASE change the damn DRS system, and use all available technology. so we can enjoy watching!!!