ICC confirms Hot Spot inventor concerns
The ICC has confirmed that the inventor of Hot Spot, Warren Brennan, raised concerns with them this week over the effect of bat coatings on the technology, which detects edges using thermal imaging, but that he was warned against suggesting players were deliberately trying to cheat the system.
Although Brennan has not explicitly stated any such worries in public and has declined to comment, he sent a tweet on Monday to former England captain Michael Vaughan that said: "Michael, it's time you investigate why players are using fibreglass tape on the edges of their bats."
Channel Nine also reported on Thursday that Brennan had raised his "serious concerns" with the ICC about flaws in the system. The Channel Nine report stated that Brennan feared silicone tape on bats could fool the technology by dulling the Hot Spot and ensuring no mark shows up on the edge even if a batsman has nicked the ball.
Nine reported that testing was carried out, which showed that a second layer of tape had the dulling effect. Geoff Allardice, the ICC's general manager of cricket operations, met with team management of both England and Australia in Durham on Thursday, and the ICC has announced Hot Spot will continue to be used for the rest of this series.
Allardice confirmed that he and Brennan had met in Melbourne on Friday to discuss the series and Brennan afterwards sent an email raising concerns.
"He followed up with an email to me on Monday suggesting that they'd looked at some clips and that coatings on the bat might have been dulling down the Hot Spot mark," Allardice said. "He made us aware of that. On Tuesday, he did some testing and informed us of that. He also advised us that he was intending to make a media statement.
"We talked about the timing of that. It's his company, his product, he's free to say whatever he likes in the media. We were expecting to see something either yesterday or today.
"We didn't really talk about the inference that players were doing it deliberately to try and beat the Hot Spot. I think we did warn him that if he made a statement along those lines, if the inference was that the players were trying to cheat the Hot Spot system he would need some strong evidence to support that. There is no evidence to support that assertion and certainly from the comments of the teams you can see that they don't believe that that happens."
Both Michael Clarke and Alastair Cook have vehemently denied that any of their players have deliberately used tape in an effort to fool Hot Spot and the teams are happy for the technology to continue to be used throughout this series. When Allardice was asked if the ICC would consider changing its playing conditions to prevent the use of such tape on bats, he said "a lot more evidence" would be required before any such move was made.
"I think it's very early days, in that players have had coatings on bats, and manufacturers' stickers on bats, and reinforcing tape on bats for forever and a day," Allardice said. "We listened to Warren's view and there may be something in it but I'd think we'd want to gain a lot more evidence before we'd look at rule changes or anything like that.
"This was a theory that he put up on Monday this week. He did some tests that he felt supported that theory. We would like to see some more evidence from on the ground with players in action to support that. At this stage we've got no intention of changing the rules in the short term."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here