ICC to stick with Hot Spot

Kevin Pietersen (Getty Images)
Kevin Pietersen (Getty Images)

Chester-le-Street - Cricket's Hot Spot system will be used in the final two Tests of the ongoing Ashes series, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Thursday, despite controversy over its use and cheating claims.

Australia's Channel Nine alleged on Wednesday that players in the current series between England and Australia were using the tape on their bats to avoid nicks being detected by the thermal imaging system.

The allegations prompted swift denials from both teams while the ICC said the claims were incorrect and it was not investigating any alleged attempts by players to cheat the technology, as reported.

On Thursday, it said in a statement that its general manager of cricket Geoff Allardice had met both sides but only to talk about the Decision Review System, which has similarly provoked discussion over contested dismissals.

Allardice described the talks as "very constructive", with the teams and umpires reiterating their support for the DRS, and the continued use of Hot Spot in the final two Tests that will be played at Chester-le-Street, northeast England, from Friday and at The Oval in south London from August 21.

"We acknowledge the DRS has not performed as effectively during the past three Tests as it has in other series," Allardice said.

He also stressed Hot Spot was just one tool at the disposal of the third umpire.

"We know that the majority of edges are detected by Hot Spot but there are occasions when a fine edge isn't picked up.

"If there is no mark on Hot Spot, the TV umpire can use replays from different angles to see whether the ball has deflected off the bat, and he can listen to the sound from the stump-microphone to determine whether the batsman has edged the ball.

"Either deflection or sound can be used by the TV umpire to make his final judgment."

The ICC were looking at ways to improve the system, he said, adding: "During the Old Trafford Test, we conducted a trial where a TV umpire accessed replays using a multi-channel monitor system with its own operator and recording device.

"The aim was to get more replay angles to the umpire, faster, so he will be able to make more accurate decisions and minimise delays to the game.

"The feedback from this trial has been very positive, and we now need to consider how this technology could be most effectively used as part of the DRS system."

The move to retain Hot Spot was backed by England captain Alastair Cook, who said abandoning the technology mid-series would be a "very dangerous precedent".

Claims that players had attempted to cheat Hot Spot were aired by Australia's Channel Nine television on Wednesday.

England batsman Kevin Pietersen, whose dismissal in the third Test at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, was said to be under scrutiny, describing it as "horrible journalism" and "hurtful lies".

Cook also called them a "complete fabrication", adding: "Both sides have laughed at it to be honest with you, at how strange a story it is and absurd, it's just so blatantly not true.

"It's not great when you're called a cheat."

Meanwhile Australia captain Michael Clarke, whose side cannot now regain the Ashes this series after a draw at Old Trafford left them 2-0 down with two to play, urged the focus be switched to cricket matters.

"I made it pretty clear yesterday (Wednesday) what I felt about it," he said. "I found it quite amusing to be honest and I prefer not to talk about it anymore.

"There's a huge Test match for the Australian team starting tomorrow (Friday) so I would like the focus to be on the match in front of us," said Clarke.

Clarke did not attend the meeting with Allardice, where Australia were represented by team manager Gavin Dovey and coach Darren Lehmann.

Channel Nine persisted on Thursday, saying Hot Spot inventor Warren Brennan had raised "serious concerns" with the ICC about flaws with the system.

The ICC's Allardice said it would address use of technology to determine contested appeals in the light of criticisms about how the third umpire has interpreted information.

"An ongoing area of focus for the ICC is the training of our TV umpires," he added.

"All these activities are aimed at ensuring the DRS continues to deliver an increase in the number of correct umpiring decisions."

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