Ashes 2013: Hot Spot ‘dropped for series down under’

(BBC) Hot Spot will not be used in this winter’s Ashes series in Australia, says the inventor of the infrared camera technology used to detect edges.

Host broadcaster Channel Nine chose to drop the controversial system after concerns over its cost and reliability.

“It’s their decision and that’s what has been communicated to us,” Warren Brennan told the Sydney Morning Herald.

The International Cricket Council said it was a matter for Channel Nine and Cricket Australia to resolve.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is aware of the reports and is considering its response. The governing body was not contacted in advance of the decision.

England coach Andy Flower and captain Alastair Cook have consistently backed the use of technology in the decision review system (DRS) and expressed a desire to improve it, rather than dispense of any of its components.

The absence of Hot Spot means television umpires will be restricted to using Eagle Eye ball-tracking software, audio from stump microphones, and slow-motion replays when England or Australia review an umpire’s decision during the Ashes, which begins on 21 November in Brisbane.

Hot Spot was devised in 2007 by BBG Sports and works using heat sensors and infrared cameras to determine what the ball has made contact with.

But it came under scrutiny during England’s 3-0 Ashes victory over the summer when several faint edges appeared to go undetected, with Brennan claiming that the protective tape on players’ bats was diminishing the effectiveness of his system.

The host broadcaster and the governing body finance the cost of using Hot Spot, which is $10,000 per day according to Cricinfo.

“As far as I’m concerned, the decision is final,” Brennan added. “We’re just moving on with things.

“Channel Nine have got a new deal with Cricket Australia which I know has cost them a lot more money. I gather there had to be some restructuring of costs.

‘’The disappointing thing for us is that Cricket Australia didn’t engage at all with us to try and come on board and help with this situation. They just said, ‘No, it’s got nothing to do with us. It’s Channel Nine’s responsibility’.

“Cricket Australia is the only body that doesn’t contribute to our costs for the DRS components. New Zealand contribute directly to us, the ECB [England & Wales Cricket Board] contribute and also South Africa.

“My only beef is with Cricket Australia because we tried to engage with them several weeks ago and they refused.

“We need to continue to invest and improve the product so that everybody thinks it’s getting better. If bodies like Cricket Australia won’t come on board and contribute to that, there’s not really any point in us continuing.’’

A Cricket Australia spokesman was quoted as saying: “We don’t think it’s appropriate to comment on discussions between Nine and one of its partners.”

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