Hotspot a welcome addition to faltering referral system

March 10, 2009 at 10:10 am 1 comment


After witnessing the shambles of the referral system on day 4 of the 5th test match between West Indies and England, it is a welcome relief that the hotspot will become part of the system. A number of key decisions brought mixed reactions with many disagreeing with the off-field Umpire’s decision. The main problem of the system is highlighted by the edges; something the system currently can’t yield a clear result. This issue also brought up the astonishing verdict that many of the off-field umpire’s don’t understand their role in the referrals. The ICC when introducing the system said that the off-field umpire should only overturn an on-field umpire’s decision if there is clear evidence that the decision is incorrect. For lbw cases this system works very well, if it is a case of whether the ball pitched out side the line, or if it hits the batsman outside the line or height issues. However, the caught behind issues have highlighted the fault of this system, something the introduction of hotspot into the system should soon sort out.

The issues that took place on Monday, where made even worse when it was revealed that Aleem Dar, the off-field umpire, had no sound in his room. That led to the Pakistani Umpire guessing whether there was a sound, and asking the television umpire’s to stop talking so that he can try to listen out for a nick. You have to ask if Aleem Dar knows the rule of the referral system. On the Chanderpaul and Cook referrals, there was no clear indication either way; hence Dar should have followed the on-field umpire’s judgement. On the Cook decision he didn’t make a clear decision pointing to the lack of sound, but a very similar Chanderpaul wicket was given not out, so where is the consistency?

Ironically all these problems could have been sorted out by the ‘hotspot’ system which has come into the referral system in the South Africa – Australia series. If this system is to work then the ICC must make use of all technology in order to come to the correct decision. The hotspot is still only available in 3 countries (England, South Africa, and Australia) but surely the ICC can provide the finance to make it available in all test playing nations within the next two year. With the evidence from events on the forth day, the hotspot is a certainty for the referral system to work.

Another problem brought up was the speed in which a decision is made. The television commentators make the decision more than a minute before the off-field umpire to come to a decision, even in the most simple cases. At the end of the trial period this is something the ICC seriously have to look at. Many have called for television evidence in football (soccer), with other however, worried about the speed of decision making. Well the way the trails have gone in the Cricket it is providing FIFA a lot of ammunition against the system. Once, these changes have been implemented then the referral will become good for the game of cricket.

Hot Spot uses two infra-red cameras positioned at either end of the ground. These cameras sense and measure heat from friction generated by a collision, such as ball on pad, ball on bat, ball on ground or ball on glove. Using a subtraction technique a seires of black-and-white negative frames is generated into a computer, precising localising the ball’s point of contact. The system is ‘100%’ accurate.


Entry filed under: Cricket.

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