England v Australa, 4th Investec Test, Chester-le-Street August 8, 2013

Cook rubbishes Hot Spot cheating claims


Alastair Cook has dismissed accusations that England's batsmen have tried to cheat Hot Spot as "blatantly not true".

The England captain used his media conference ahead of the fourth Investec Ashes Test in Durham to reiterate the ECB's request for an apology from Australian broadcaster Channel 9, who made the claims, and rubbish the story.

"It's not great when you get called a cheat as a side and you've been accused of something you haven't done," Cook said. "I think an apology is due because it's such a blatant fabrication.

"We've been laughing at it in our dressing room; how strange a story it is and how absurd it is.

Cook's frustration is understandable. Having just retained the Ashes in the minimum amount of games possible in his first summer as England's Test captain, he might have expected to be basking in glory. Instead he has found himself defending his side against not just accusations of cheating but, according to Shane Warne, writing in the Telegraph, behaving arrogantly as well. Players were also accused of behaving inappropriately in the aftermath of the Old Trafford Test after newspaper pictures captured some of them smoking cigarettes.

"The last couple of days have been a bit of a media storm," Cook said. "It's taken a bit of gloss over the fact we managed to win the Ashes in such a short space of time. But that's out of our control.

"I don't know where the Warne story came from. Steven Smith apologised yesterday and said he didn't think we were arrogant at all. I've no qualms about how our behaviour has been in this series at all.

"We're an experienced bunch we've been through a lot and a lot of players have been through similar circumstances with a bit of controversy in the past. We've stuck together well and that's a sign of a strong team. We know how important it is and how hard we need to keep working."

Cook was among those to meet officials from the ICC in Durham on Wednesday to discuss the DRS issues that have overshadowed the series. While Cook confirmed that the ICC had accepted there had been faults, he also stated that at no stage had there been a discussion about abandoning the use of DRS or any of its component parts, including Hot Spot, for the rest of the series. Hot Spot, the technology that is designed to verify whether the ball has hit the bat, has been exposed over the first three games, with a series of clear edges not showing up upon review.

"It was a good meeting," Cook said. "They have held their hands up and said some mistakes have been made with it. It's something which they're trying to iron out. They're trying to get more decisions right.

"In the past Hot Spot has worked really well, but there have been three or four strange occurrences this series where there has been noise but no mark. I don't know why. I don't know the actual technology of Hot Spot, but I'm sure they're working behind the scenes to try to work out why.

"There was no discussion with the ICC about getting rid of Hot Spot, because of the precedent it would set. That's a very dangerous precedent to set. In the middle of a series, if something strange happens, if you ban it then the precedent is set for another series.

"It's there to try to give as much information to the third ump to make the right decision. To ban it sets a dangerous precedent and in the past it's worked extremely well to pick up edges. It's just there have been strange occurrences in recent games."

Cook, who has endured a modest series to date, admitted he was "desperate" to register a match-defining total in the next two Tests. Cook has registered two half-centuries, but is averaging only 24.16 over the first three games. Despite his uncharacteristic struggles, however, Cook retained faith that his form would return soon.

"I'm desperate for a score, without a doubt," Cook said. "At the top of the order your job is to score runs. It hasn't gone quite as well as I would have liked. I've made starts and when you convert starts into bigger runs it changes games, but that hasn't happened.

"I work hard at my game and I've scored runs in the past. My Test career suggests I do score runs, so hopefully it's just a matter of time."

Cook also had words of praise for Graham Onions. The Durham seamer, left out of the squad for the Test at Old Trafford, made his point to the selectors in eloquent fashion by claiming nine wickets, including seven in the first innings, in the subsequent County Championship match and could win a recall for the first Ashes Test on his home ground.

But while Onions' form and consistency remains admirable, the fact that England have not won the series may count against him. England may be unwilling to rotate any of their first-choice players in such circumstances, so Onions may be reliant on one of James Anderson or Stuart Broad feeling jaded ahead of the game or the selectors deciding that his home-ground knowledge renders him more useful than Tim Bresnan.

"Graham Onions has done extremely well this year in county cricket," Cook said. "He's pushed his name into the squad again. He was left out of a couple of games, but went back to Durham and took a lot of wickets.

"He's doing everything we're asking of him. In our eyes the series is still very much alive. We set out to win not just retain - that's the goal and we're trying to pick the best XI to win."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • far on August 10, 2013, 3:05 GMT

    you know the old saying " he does protest to much "

  • Dummy4 on August 9, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    @land47 - man so true. I mean if u are talking about deliberately slowing down the game well the whole world does it (including warne himeself) - which is why overrate laws don't work at all. Excessive appealing - everytime shane warne got turned down by the umpire he would pull out his faces as if he got cheated by the umpire - no matter how obviously correct the umpire was. And please don't even talk about celebrating, as no one got more carried away and exhibited more arrogance than warne. This is ridiculous.

  • John on August 9, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    @mrdmanohar on (August 8, 2013, 20:26 GMT), that's all well and good but there are a lot of complaints about the cost of DRS technology even for international cricket so three years testing in domestic cricket is simply not going to happen. Idealism is admirable but pragmatism is to be respected.

  • suru on August 9, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    Then why brennan tweet like this to vaughan "Michael, it's time you investigate why players are using fibreglass tape on the edges of their bats." Well said @mrdmanohar.

  • Chris on August 9, 2013, 0:01 GMT

    Also, if they are claiming that hotspot is fallible then why do they have hotspot and not snicko? The reason for not having snicko seemed to be that it wasn't 100% reliable, but if you are saying hotspot isn't either then surely you just give the umpires everything they can to make a decision, but also make sure they do some good training on everything so they know exactly how to read the different technology well and can tell the difference between a hotspot and a reflection, between an edge sound on snicko and a bat on pad or ground or spikes sliding sounds or things like that.

    The umpires have to interpret vastly different evidence as third umpire and they need to be well trained in it's use.

  • Chris on August 8, 2013, 23:53 GMT

    "Hot Spot, the technology that is designed to verify whether the ball has hit the bat, has been exposed over the first three games, with a series of clear edges not showing up upon review."

    What clear edges are they talking about? You think the player edged the ball, call for a review and all the evidence shows they didn't. But instead of admitting you were wrong you say hotspot has just failed to pick up a clear edge! It's rubbish.

    I saw most of the incidents in question over the last test and didn't see any where an edge failed to show on hotspot where I thought there was any evidence at all that suggested the batsman might have edged the ball and hotspot just failed.

    The issue is the umpires not trusting hot spot at all and being unwilling to trust the lack of any evidence of an edge as reason for overturning the onfield decision. The issue isn't hotspot itself.

  • Antony on August 8, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    @ hillbumper. No, it doesn't. It's just Channel 9, one of our commercial TV networks. They're lowest common denominator types who always stir things up to make a splash, a bit like your rags The Sun and The Daily Mail etc.

  • John on August 8, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    So did David Warner nip into the England dressing room and ask to borrow a bit of tape?

    I never heard such a load of rubbish. There's no chance whatever that a batsmen could doctor his bat with tape and nobody would notice. The first time a ball hit the edge of the bat the tape would show.

    As for Shane Warne saying that England are arrogant, that's like a supermarket criticizing a corner grocery store for selling food too cheap. Warne's a lot of things, including the best bowler I've ever seen, but Mr. Humility is not one of them. Still, maybe it was just whoever writes his column for him getting carried away.

  • Dummy4 on August 8, 2013, 21:35 GMT

    Really pleased to see the attempted smear from Channel 9 end up as an embarrassing own-goal. Their report so obviously pointed the finger at KP, so a grovelling apology would be welcome, to both sides. No doubt Michael Clarke didn't want to hear about this rubbish either.

    As for Warne's piece in the Telegraph; outrageous that he thinks England are being arrogant off the field. If all the alleged arrogance of the England players were combined, it wouldn't add up to anything near the arrogance of a certain someone who celebrated an Ashes retention in England by turning his back to the crowd, and doing a victory jig while he stuck his ass out at them and wiggled it from side to side.

    As much as a legend as Warnie is, he's got no business criticizing players for arrogance off the field.

    I hope the England players have been fired-up by this double salvo of total codswallop.

  • Android on August 8, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    relax buddy.