Kevin Pietersen angered by ‘hurtful’ Hot Spot accusations
England player infuriated by reports suggesting bats have been tampered with
The England and Wales Cricket Board is to demand an explanation and apology from Channel 9 after the Australian TV channel implied that Kevin Pietersen had used silicon tape on his bat to fool Hot Spot.
Pietersen took to Twitter to defend himself over the suggestion that he was one of several players seeking to cheat the decision review system, as cricket’s crisis over the use of technology deepened.
The England batsman’s controversial second-innings dismissal in the third Test at Old Trafford, where he was given out caught behind off Peter Siddle even though the Hot Spot thermal-imaging technology showed no mark on his bat, was said in a report on Channel 9 to have triggered an investigation by the International Cricket Council, though the ICC subsequently said that was not the case.
The edge subsequently showed up on the more reliable – but much slower to use – sound-based Snickometer, another example of an apparent Hot Spot malfunction which fuelled suspicions that batsmen from both sides may have found a way round the system.
Those suggestions were dismissed by Australia’s captain, Michael Clarke – who described them as “quite funny” – and later the ICC, but it was Pietersen himself who reacted the most angrily.
“Horrible journalism yet again!” he tweeted. “My name brought up in hotspot crisis suggesting I use silicon to prevent nicks showing! Such hurtful lies.”
In subsequent tweets, he added: “How stupid would I be to try & hide a nick when it could save me on an LBW appeal, like in 1st innings where hotspot showed I nicked it”; “I am never afraid of getting out! If I nick it, I’ll walk. To suggest I cheat by covering my bat with silicon infuriates me.”
The ICC’s general manager of cricket, Geoff Allardice, was due to arrive in the north-east night for talks with both teams about the problems with the DRS throughout the series. But Dave Richardson, the ICC’s chief executive, was unequivocal in denying any link between Allardice’s arrival and Channel 9’s allegations.
“These media reports are totally incorrect,” he said. “Geoff Allardice is meeting with both teams and umpires to see how we can best use the DRS and the available technology in the next two Test matches. It has nothing to do with any players.”
It is the efficacy or otherwise of Hot Spot that has been causing the greatest concern. Warren Brennan, the founder of the BBG company which developed Hot Spot, had promised a response to the criticism. However, after the Channel 9 story broke Brennan, who used to work for the network, did not respond to numerous calls and emails.
He recently outlined to The Observer his hopes that a new, more advanced piece of technology he has been developing with his English partner Alan Plaskett – which would allow the third umpire to access the more sensitive Snickometer in real time and therefore reduce the reliance on Hot Spot – will be approved by the ICC before the return Ashes series in Australia this winter.
“Manufacturers’ logos, such as metallic reflective stickers, can confuse Hot Spot, which is why the ICC is considering making them part of equipment regulations,” he admitted.I find the accusation quite funny,” Australia’s captain had said. “I can’t talk for everybody but if it is the case we are talking about cheating, I can tell you there is not one person in the Australian change rooms who is a cheat. That’s not the way we play cricket.I know no one is going to the extreme of saying put this on your bat because it will help you beat Hot Spot.
“I’ve used fibreglass facing on my bats since I got my first bat from Slazenger when I was 12. I used a fibreglass face on the bat because we couldn’t afford two or three or five or 10 cricket bats.
“Because modern bats are pressed and are soft, you put a cover on it to protect the bat and make it last longer. A lot of players use that since I’ve been playing cricket.
“I didn’t know there was such a thing you could do to hide nicking the ball on Hot Spot. I wouldn’t think it would make any difference. I’ve never heard of anyone doing it.”
Recent suggestions that India, who have been consistently sceptical about all forms of the DRS since its introduction around a decade ago, may now be ready to accept it would appear to be well wide of the mark.
Jagmohan Dalmiya, who recently took over as the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India from N Srinivasan, told the Indian Express newspaper: “We will accept DRS when technology is foolproof. There’s nothing in between. They couldn’t fix the Duckworth-Lewis problem in 15 years, what guarantee do we have about an error-free DRS?
“The whole process is very complicated and confusing. And rather than solving the riddle, DRS creates more confusion in its present form.”