Hot Spot Axed for Ashes Series Between Australia and England

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistOctober 9, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04:  Usman Khawaja of Australia bats during day four of the 3rd Investec Ashes Test match between England and Australia at Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground on August 4, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Just six weeks before Australia and England do battle in the next Ashes tour, series broadcaster Channel Nine has axed the use of Hot Spot.

Warren Brennan, inventor of the infrared camera, has confirmed the system will be dropped for the five-Test series that takes place between Nov. 23, 2013, and Jan. 7, 2014.

As reported by Chris Barrett of The Sydney Morning Herald, Brennan’s comments suggest the Hot Spot creator isn’t best pleased with the decision to overlook his technology:

It's their decision and that's what's been communicated to us. As far as I'm concerned, it is final. 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.

Calls to eliminate the use of Hot Spot intensified during England’s recent 3-0 Ashes victory over the Baggy Greens. Brennan’s product missed a number of fine edges throughout the series and failed to eliminate human error, for which it is designed.

Brennan confirmed Hot Spot’s struggles after Australian batsman Usman Khawaja was controversially dismissed in the pivotal third Test at Old Trafford, per Nick Hoult and Oliver Pickup of The Telegraph.

Geoff Allardice, chief executive of the International Cricket Council, subsequently flew into England before the fourth Test to reassure both sides that Hot Spot was capable of producing fair results on the big stage.

As reported by Lawrence Booth of the Daily Mail, rumours suggesting the system could be axed appeared as early as the beginning of August.

The upcoming Ashes series will now utilise Eagle Eye, ball-tracking tech, stump microphones and slow-motion replays to determine vital calls. Hot Spot’s cost—a frightening $250,000 for use throughout the series—has also been taken into account when making the decision.

Despite losing a major contract, Brennan indicates his anger is directed toward Cricket Australia, and not Channel Nine, per Barrett’s report:

I don't have a beef with Channel Nine. 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.

Brennan also suggests that players who place coating on their bats are interfering with a system that continued to misfire during the recent Ashes series.

Although England's convincing victory over the Aussies was unlikely to change through Hot Spot's inaccuracy, Channel Nine's willingness to dismiss the system must be capitalised on.

This is the perfect time for cricket reevaluate its use of technology and improve systems that have become hugely important in the modern game.