Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Clarke goes into bat for his players over Hot Spot claim - Sydney Morning Herald

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Cricketers beat HotSpot with silicone tape

The Australian and English teams may have worked out a way to fool cricket's much maligned umpire decision review system. Courtesy Nine News.

Michael Clarke said none of his players have cheated as it emerged Australia and England were being investigated by the ICC over allegations their batsmen used silicone tape on their bats to beat the decision review system.

In the latest DRS drama to rock what has already been a highly contentious Ashes series, concerns were raised after Kevin Pietersen's dismissal in the final innings of the third Test, Channel Nine has reported, where the batsman unsuccessfully tried to have a decision overturned by the video umpire.

The attempt failed despite the infrared Hot Spot technology not recording an edge, though sound detectors picked up a clear noise as the ball passed the bat.

Controversy: The use of silicone-based substances to beat Hot Spot has led to questions over the dismissals of, among others, Kevin Pietersen.

Controversy: The use of silicone-based substances to beat Hot Spot has led to questions over the dismissals of, among others, Kevin Pietersen.

Pietersen was furious as he walked off the field as were several of his teammates, including Stuart Broad, who himself has also been involved in an umpiring drama this series.

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Pietersen launched an angry defence on Twitter on Wednesday night, describing suggestions he had cheated as ''lies''.

The ICC sent its director of cricket operations, Geoff Allardice, to Durham this week to meet both sides in an effort to clarify confusion over DRS, which has marred cricket's showpiece Test series.

Sent packing:  Peter Siddle of Australia sends Englishman Kevin Pietersen a message.

Sent packing: Peter Siddle of Australia sends Englishman Kevin Pietersen a message. Photo: Getty Images

The Pietersen incident was the latest involving DRS which has left players and fans mystified. Earlier in the Test, Australian first drop Usman Khawaja failed to have a caught behind decision corrected by the video umpire during the first innings despite video and Hot Spot technologies failing to detect an edge. There are no suggestions Khawaja has acted improperly.

Australian captain Michael Clarke said he had no knowledge of his players using the tape.

''If that's the case, then we're talking about cheating and I can guarantee there is not one person in the Australian change room that will cheat,'' Clarke said. ''It's hard for me to talk for other players but I've never heard any conversation about that in the Australian change room and I can guarantee you my bat manufacturer [doesn't do that].

Controversial: Kevin Pietersen leaves the field after his contentious dismissal on the final day of the third Test in Manchester.

Controversial: Kevin Pietersen leaves the field after his contentious dismissal on the final day of the third Test in Manchester. Photo: AFP

Clarke said many batsmen had casing over their bats, often made of fibre-glass, to protect it but that he had never heard of anyone applying silicone tape to evade HotSpot. "Because the bats are so nicely pressed and a little bit soft, generally you put an Extratec cover over the top of the bat which protects the bat, makes it last longer.''

There have been suggestions in the past that players apply substances such as Vaseline on the edges of their bat in a bid to avoid any edges being detected by Hot Spot. Former Indian batsman VVS Laxman was embroiled in a controversy two years ago in a Test against India after he survived a referral for caught behind, prompting former England captain Michael Vaughan to tweet: ''Has Vaseline on the outside edge saved the day for Laxman?''

An official from a bat manufacturer, who did not wish to be quoted, said he would be stunned if players were using substances on their bat. But former NSW player Dominic Thornely  tweeted to Brett Lee: ''fact bat makers have developed a cover on the edges of bats that negate the heat marks on the bat! #hotspotgoodnight.''

How it works

* Silicone tape contains a thin layer of adhesive gel that fuses with the surface of an object - such as a cricket bat.

* By attaching transparent silicone tape to the edge of a bat's blade, the outer willow surface of the bat would become much more smooth.

* The ''heat'' identified by an infrared camera like Hotspot is generated by friction. The ball strikes the bat at speed and grates along the surface of the wood.

* In theory, a bat treated with silicone tape would have a much smoother surface area than a standard bat, so less friction would be generated by a snick, and therefore less heat would be detected.

Poll: Are batsmen who use tape on their bats to beat Hot Spot technology cheating? Yes

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