The Ashes 2013-14 November 19, 2013

Real-time Snicko gets Ashes debut

ESPNcricinfo staff

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kannan on November 20, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    Technology can be perfected, but what's to prevent subversion and manipulation of technology by the service providers of technology? Where are the checks and balances for that? You can't accept any system unless the checks and balances exist to prevent fraud and misuse because an entire set of devious practices will definitely come up to 'beat the system'. That's the reason, any system needs to be kept simple, truthful and transparent for the audience, who after all are the patrons of the sport. All this dissonance, because technology didn't live up to performance expectations during the last Ashes series and the Eng-India series before that in Eng, are a result of insufficient thought on aspects mentioned above.

  • Kannan on November 20, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    The Hotspot is supposed to capture impact between the ball and the bat. The Snicko on the other hand just captures sound and that can come any where around the batsman including big insects flying around. The sounds captured by Snicko need to be interpreted thus adding a subjective element to the existing decision making process. Not done! When a technology is unreliable as a stand alone tool, how does it suddenly become reliable as an accompaniment? This is simply laughable and ridiculous! I don't expect any country other than England and Australia to see sense in its use, so don't complain when they object!

  • Graham on November 20, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    As much as I don't like the DRS system (mainly I don't like Captains being in control of it), but all the errors everyone are talking about from the Ashes series were errors from the third umpire and not the actual DRS. Since these fools don't understand technology and willing to give people out from a noise in the stump mic, we have to give them more evidence and hope that they will be able to make the correct decision. As for snicko, having real time noise, compared to the video now they should make the right decision.

  • Graham on November 20, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    F-F-L; That's a lot of excuses considering in the last 20 years we have only lost 3 series. You must have a very long memory.

  • Richard on November 20, 2013, 3:05 GMT

    The problem is the waiting. There should be a little room under where the umpire stands where all the batting side sit and when someone's out they just knock on the trapdoor and a batsman jumps out. But the long walk back to the pavilion should continue when he's out. That way they can't discuss what the pitch is doing. I am totally against DRS. Like a pushbike, computer technology is a toy. Both have been exploited far beyond that which they were first intended, and to help people in India answer phones. The technology is a joke, and is nowhere near good enough for the great game of cricket. Furthermore, how long will the television audience be forced to endure that boring process over and over again - there is no end to what this monster will become. Dismissals should be left to the on-field umpires only.

  • Gareth on November 19, 2013, 23:49 GMT

    Someone in my extended family works for Sky and he said that snicko on tv replays has sound added in independently of any infield audio footage. In other words, the tv snicko isn't actually bona fide audio. So the snicko 'shockers' as shown on Sky aren't genuine, proven shockers at all. Hopefully, real-time snicko will be rather more truth-based...! Totally agree with SamRoy about the two rule fallacy. The 50-50 decisions using modern, potentially flawed technology probably cause more controversy than poor decisions made onfield without any dubious tv replay. Why give the players the chance to add such confusion and controversy to the mix. Why not dock 15 runs for an incorrect challenge...? DRS is valuable if it's used in the way it is intended to be used.

  • M on November 19, 2013, 23:16 GMT

    @Pelham_Barton; I think there is a slight difference here to the 'benefit of the doubt' argument... We aren't talking about if we thought the ball carried to the fieldsman ... we have the third umpire that can check and has, and in some cases we have lived with the decision that it was inconclusive so the batsman was given Not Out. But in those cases, the on field umpire hadn't stated an opinion (or given an on-field decision) that influences the outcome.

    Lets use a fieldsman catch as an example... currently, replays would show inconclusive and by your application, the batsman would receive that benefit of the doubt and remain Not Out. However, if the umpire on field gave the catch and a doubtful batsmen reviewed the decision, even though it is inconclusive, he would still be out because the on field umpire said so...

    This is the area that has the most contention. If we are using technology to review a decision, then it has to be without the influence of the original call.

  • Dummy4 on November 19, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    Front-Foot-Sponge: "Now we have the DRS tool that is most misunderstood by fans and umpires."

    Oh I dunno: I think Snicko might just have the EDGE over HotSpot.

    Boom Boom.

  • Cricinfouser on November 19, 2013, 21:33 GMT

    @Front-Foot_Sponge - Agree that things were better without DRS but that was before the advent of all the TV gadgets. As these took over, we had an absurd situation in which the armchair viewer was better placed to make a decision than the onfield umpire. There really is no going back. I can't agree that umpiring decisions were accepted pre DRS and that debates didn't continue for years - how many times do people still bring up Bucknor's errors in the India v Australia test at Sydney nearly six years ago or Bowden giving Kasprowicz out at Edgbaston back in 2005?

  • Stephen on November 19, 2013, 20:25 GMT

    @Pelham_Barton - nice try but that single reference ONLY applies in situations where the umpire at the other end is consulted. For example it has no bearing on LBW decisions or snicks. It is not a general rule and may not be applied as such.

    Inaccurate use of it could have helped create this myth however.