Technology comes under the microscope as Ashes series rolls on.
The inventor of cricket’s controversial Hot Spot system has called for the removal of coatings on bats to improve the accuracy of his device.
The coatings are, however, perfectly legal under current regulations.
Australia’s Channel Nine alleged on Wednesday that players in the current Ashes series between England and Australia were using silicone tape on their bats to avoid nicks being detected by the Hot Spot thermal imaging system.
The allegations prompted swift denials from both teams while the International Cricket Council (ICC) said the claims were incorrect.
However, the ICC confirmed that the Australian inventor of Hot Spot, Warren Brennan, raised concerns with them this week over the effect of bat coatings on the technology.
But ICC umpires manager Simon Taufel subsequently revealed that not a single international batsman has failed a bat inspection for using silicone tape.
Australia’s Taufel, a former leading international umpire, said umpires had been conducting about 12 random bat inspections in every Test for three years and not once had silicone tape been uncovered.
Hot Spot has been part of the Decision Review System since 2009 but has come under scrutiny this Ashes after failing to detect several edges.
“During the current Ashes series, the DRS system has been highly controversial with Hot Spot in the eye of the storm,” Brennan said in a statement issued Saturday, the second day of the fourth Ashes Test at Chester-le-Street.
“Our technology has been criticized for fine edges that have gone undetected. More than anyone else, BBG Sports (Brennan’s company) wanted to know why.”
Brennan’s statement said BBG’s conclusive finding after three days’ testing of bats was that the type and thickness of the protective coating “unquestionably” affects the thermal signature of the Hot Spot system.
“In layman’s terms, the protective coating definitely diminishes Hot Spot marks.
“BBG Sports believes that in order to achieve optimum Hot Spot results then the removal of protective coating from bat edges needs to occur.
“This will allow for the best thermal signatures between cricket balls and natural timber cricket bats.”
Brennan added: “At the end of the day no technology is 100 percent perfect, however at BBG Sports we are continuously researching and developing our products to provide the best technological service for sport.”
Geoff Allardice, the ICC’s general manager of cricket operations, has said Hot Spot will continue to be used for the rest of the Ashes series.
Allardice told the ESPN Cricinfo website that the ICC would consider changing its playing conditions to prevent the use of tape on bats, but said “a lot more evidence” would be required before any such move was made.
“At this stage we’ve got no intention of changing the rules in the short term,” Allardice said.