Hot Spot not going to be used in World Cup

In my post on the increasing role of technology in helping adjudicate close decisions in cricket, I mentioned three of them: the Hawkeye ball tracker (using multiple camera angles to track the path of the ball and predict its future trajectory), the Snickometer (that displays sound as an oscilloscope signal to show the sound if the ball struck anything), and the Hot Spot (that uses infra-red cameras to detect the minute amounts of heat generated when the ball strikes the bat or the person of the batsman).

The International Cricket Council has decided to not use the Hot Spot for the World Cup games, for purely practical reasons of cost and difficulty in getting enough devices installed in all fourteen of the venues where the games are being played. Thus to ensure consistency they will not use it at all.

The Hot Spot comes in useful in determining if the ball hit the bat in those cases where contact might have been too slight to be visible to the naked eye or the cameras. If the Snickometer and the Hot Spot both indicate contact at the same time as the cameras show the ball at the point of contact, that usually means an unambiguous verdict. Now just sound and visuals will have to do the job.

The question of whether you should not use Hot Spot anywhere because you cannot use it everywhere is an interesting one. Arguing for consistency is easier to make because it seems to equate with fairness. But why is it unfair if some venues don’t have that technology? Venues differ on all manner of things. The pitches are different and the weather and wind patterns and umpires all differ. As long as the differences don’t sway the outcome in one particular direction, it should not matter if some venues use Hot Spot and others don’t.


  1. sundoga says

    I think it’s more a case of perception of quality of umpiring. They’re now able to say that all fourteen venues have equal and identical methods, tools and quality of umpiring throughout the World Cup -- every game will be officiated exactly the same as any other. It’s not really rational, but perception rarely is.

  2. Wozza says

    Seems strange that they won’t have enough of the specialised cameras to do this, it’s the World Cup after all. Maybe this is a result of hosting across two countries as well. Channel 9 is usually the Australian cricket broadcaster (no idea who it is is NZ).

    Even with the new technology we are used to the occasional howler still but it would be a real shame for emerging teams like Afghanistan for example who are playing in a class above in the World Cup if the lack of hotspot was to cost them a game (I know they don’t have much chance but still).

    I think the real shame here is that hotspot seems the most conclusive technology between hawkeye, snicko and hotspot -- so the one they’re doing without is the best new piece of tech.

    I’ll be at the MCG for the opening game and am so excited although my wife is a little dubious about this as a good way to spend Valentine’s Day 🙂

  3. says

    I think, although I’m not 100% certain that the the technology is provided by the broadcasters.

    The commentators were using it to review dodgy umpire decisions and exposing some howlers, so the teams asked that they be allowed to use it to review what they believed to be bad calls.

    During the last ashes tour Jonathon Trott was given out LBW but claimed it was bat first,
    When England asked for the decision to be reviewed it turned out that the hotspot technology was being used by the the Sky broadcasters to replay and earlier ball, and hadn’t recorded the incident.

    Andy flowers as expected laughed it off.

    Opps, “laughed it off” should have read “went into complete flipping meltdown”

  4. Suido says

    2013 articles put the cost of hotspot at $10K per day for 4 cameras (enough for a single venue) for a Test series -- about $250,000 for 25 days of cricket with only 4 venue changes.

    Considering they would need at least 2 (probably 3 or 4) sets of 4 cameras available to cover the different grounds, and smaller windows for transport, installation and calibration between games, as well as 49 matches in total, that’s a decent sized line item on the tournament budget.

    I agree with the idea of keeping the umpiring consistent, it keeps everyone playing by the same rules for the entire tournament. Picking and choosing which games get the tech and which don’t would be a nightmare from a PR point of view.

  5. says

    My friends and I often play vigorous and competitive table tennis matches. Many a point has been disputedly won amidst outraged cries of “Where’s a snickometer when you need one!” I suppose I can take comfort now in the fact that even the ICC runs into the same equipment-lacking problems we do…

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