The England and Wales Cricket Board has asked for an “explanation and apology” from Australian TV station Channel Nine following claims that players have been using silicone tape on the edges of their bats to fool Hot Spot during the current Ashes series in England.
The International Cricket Council has dismissed the reports that its general manager of cricket operations, Geoff Allardice, would discuss the issue ahead of the fourth Test at Chester-le-Street as “totally incorrect.” During the series, several edges have failed to show up on Hot Spot, and the Channel Nine report made particular reference to Kevin Pietersen’s second innings dismissal at Old Trafford, which appears to have been the main driving force behind the ECB’s complaint.
“These media reports are totally incorrect,” David Richardson, the ICC chief executive, said. “Geoff Allardice is meeting with both teams and umpires to see how we can best use the DRS and the available technology going forward in the next two Test matches. It has nothing to do with any players.”
Pietersen himself reacted angrily on Twitter after his name was linked to using tape. “My name brought up in Hot Spot crisis suggesting I use silicon to prevent nicks showing! Such hurtful lies. 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. How stupid would I be to try and hide a nick when it could save me on an lbw appeal, like in the first innings where Hot Spot showed I nicked it.”
Both teams have been frustrated by decision reviews during the series, especially regarding edges behind. Batsmen sometimes use fibreglass tape to help with the longevity of their bats, but the Australia captain Michael Clarke said he did not know of any Australian batsman using silicone-tape or any other method of attempting to reduce the effect of Hot Spot.
“It’s hard for me to talk for other players, but I’ve never heard any type of conversation like that in the Australian change room,” Clarke said. “I didn’t know there was such a thing you could do to hide nicking the ball on Hot Spot. I wouldn’t have thought that a bit of tape would have made any difference anyway.
“I think I would know. I’m a bat nuffy, I pick up everyone’s bats. I go through everyone’s cricket bats. I find the accusation quite funny, to be honest. I can’t talk for everyone but if that’s the case and we’re talking about cheating, I can guarantee you there’s not one person in the Australian change room who will cheat. It’s not the way we play cricket.”
During this series, several edges have failed to appear on Hot Spot, but have shown up on the Snickometer, which is not part of the technology used by the third umpire.
Graham Onions, the England seamer, was equalling damning about the claims.
“It’s a huge accusation, and it’s outrageous really,” he said. “It seems completely blown out of proportion really; it doesn’t seem right.
“I know the England players would never put anything on their bats. Tape has been used to mend cracks or to get our favourite bats to last as long as possible, but it sounds completely silly to even think that people are putting things on their bat to try and help them to cover up decisions.
“I can say that we don’t put anything on our bats. We play the game as fair as you can, as I’m sure the Australians do as well.” (cricinfo)
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