Cow Corner

Hot Spot… take a blow, then come back when you work consistently

Cow Corner

View gallery


"Cricket does not need gimmicks - it needs tried and tested technology that is reliable and accurate," said Geoffrey Boycott during another controversial day of Ashes action in Durham.

Few would disagree with that statement from the former England batsman and uncompromising pundit, but it does not reflect the current situation, where a half-baked system employs a half-hearted piece of technology.

Hotspot uses infrared cameras to determine whether the ball has struck the batsman, bat or pad, with any contact supposed to show up as a bright spot on the image, but its obvious flaws have been highlighted time and again during the current Ashes series.

The ongoing five-match series between England and Australia has been dogged by controversial umpiring decisions and there have been several occasions when Hotspot has failed to pick up edges altogether.

It is hardly an ideal situation, yet the inventor of the technology appears determined to blame anything and everyone else. Cow Corner believes he should go away and get his creation to be reliable and useful instead of leaving a trail of destruction behind him.

After Kevin Pietersen described being dragged into a debate over whether he and other batsmen use silicone tape to hide edges from Hot Spot as "horrible" and "awful lies", Brennan turned his attention to calling for ALL protective coverings to be removed from bats in order for the system to work properly.

A statement from Brennan's company, BBG Sports, read: "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 bats' edges needs to occur. This will allow for the best thermal signatures between cricket balls and natural timber cricket bats."

So, make a fundamental and wholly unnecessary change across the entire game for an equipment accessory that is functional and useful, or improve an upstart new technology that is not doing its job properly?

View gallery


Former England captains Michael Vaughan and Alec Stewart did not hold back in letting Brennan know what they felt about where they felt the real problems lie.

"I played in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s - bat tape and coatings have been around for 30 or 40 years so it's embarrassing for him to suggest it should be banned," Stewart told BBC radio.

"He has openly admitted there is a fault with his system. If you're a cricketer and you have a flaw in your technique you go back to the nets - I suggest he takes his technology back to the nets."

Vaughan doubted whether Hotspot could continue as an aid to Test umpires: "He is trying to protect his company. We just want technology that will present the right result more often than not.

"It shouldn't be down to the game of cricket to help Hotspot, it should be up to Hotspot to help the game of cricket. I don't think Hotspot can carry on as bat manufacturers aren't going to change ... it has to go."

The ICC, cricket's governing body, issued an immediate denial and said the allegations were "totally incorrect", while England captain Alastair Cook described the claims as a "blatant fabrication" and demanded an apology.

Brennan acknowledged on Saturday that Hotspot was far from foolproof: "At the end of the day, no technology is 100 per cent perfect, however at BBG Sports we are continuously researching and developing our products to provide the best technological service for sport."

He and his company must now take responsibility for ensuring that Hot Spot improves without expecting cricket to change around them. Such pieces of kit must be kept in perspective in terms of their relative importance within the game.

Technology has the potential to improve the game if it is consistent, reliable and effective, but enough compromises have been made already. Cricket must demand better.

View gallery


View Comments (102)