Nine admits Hawk-Eye not foolproof

By Adam Cooper, Adam Cooper is a Roar Pro

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    Cricket should not let broadcasters help umpires on close LBW decisions because their technology is not foolproof, according to the executive producer of the Nine Network’s coverage in Australia.

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    While the next president of the International Cricket Council (ICC) this week warmed to using technology to help umpires make leg before decisions, Nine executive producer Graeme Koos admitted the Hawk-Eye computer program was not advanced enough.

    Hawk-Eye, which tracks the trajectory of the ball off the pitch, is a popular television gimmick used to illustrate whether the ball would have hit the stumps in close LBW decisions.

    The program is used to decide close line-calls in tennis, and ICC president-elect David Morgan said on Sunday he was keen for cricket to embrace technology to assist umpires make the right calls.

    Last week’s third Test between Australia and India in Perth was blighted by several doubtful leg before decisions where batsmen from both sides were given out to deliveries which looked like clearing the stumps.

    But Koos said Hawk-Eye was not foolproof, as umpires could not be certain that balls would do what the computer program hypothesised.

    “I don’t think it should necessarily be part of a cricket match,” he said.

    “I wouldn’t want to be hung by a jury on the evidence that comes out of Hawk-Eye.”

    Koos said the British company behind Hawk-Eye was constantly trying to improve its product, but admitted the program, like other computers, could break down, fail to give readings and provide inaccurate readings.

    He said Nine used the technology to enhance its cricket coverage, and that the ICC had to be certain of their aids before introducing any measures to have umpires refer leg before appeals to a third umpire for review.

    “If you ever wanted to start using it you’ve got to ensure it’s accurate and I don’t think you can say that about anything,” he said.

    The other pitfall behind any plans to have technology assisting umpires in LBW decisions would be an uneven playing field, as the ICC would have to ensure the same practices were used across the world.

    Koos said Nine’s Hot Spot technology was the only foolproof element of its coverage, as it could determine whether a ball had hit the bat or not through infra-red cameras which detected friction.

    But he admitted it was difficult to rule definitively on contentious catches – an issue which arose during the second Test in Sydney – because replays were often inconclusive.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (3)

    • Columnist

      January 24th 2008 @ 9:44am
      Spiro Zavos said | January 24th 2008 @ 9:44am | ! Report

      The Hawke Eye technology is clearly unsuitable for use in an official sense. Many of its ‘decisions’ are palpably wrong. I think it is also wrong that Channel 9 uses technology that is inaccurate. What is the point of using it when the broadcasters know that it cannot be trusted?
      The Hot Spot technology, though, is accurate, as Channel Nine suggests. So it should be used when there are disputes involving whether the ball touches or hits the bat in LBW appeals or for close-in catches.
      Now that this foolproof technology is avaliable, it should be used.

    • January 24th 2008 @ 10:52am
      Jerry said | January 24th 2008 @ 10:52am | ! Report

      Spiro – I’d like to see TV replays used to confirm where the ball pitched on LBW decisions. I’ve seen a fair few yorkers that struck the batsman outside the line or balls that pitched down leg given out, and the TV replay is pretty conclusive on this matter.

      I also don’t see why no-balls couldn’t be the domain of the 3rd umpire – there is a dedicated camera in place and it wouldn’t actually slow the game down at all. The3rd umpire would simply notify the man out in the middle when the ball was dead. It would mean that batsman wouldn’t get the call prior to the delivery as they do now, but realistically I don’t think batsman have sufficient time to hear the call, react and adjust to the fact that they can play any shot they wish. Often, I suspect, the umpire’s call may distract the batsman’s concentration and lead to a dud shot anyway.

    • January 24th 2008 @ 11:31am
      ulysses said | January 24th 2008 @ 11:31am | ! Report

      Spiro – how can you say hawkeye makes many palpably wrong decisions?

      Consider the scenarios:

      umpire and hawkeye agree on a decision; either out or not-out. To my recollection this is the majority of cases. Presumably that is not “palpably wrong” unless you think you can make a better judgement than both the umpire and hawkeye from just watching the ordinary tv coverage. Surely not.

      umpire gives it out – and hawkeye says it was not out. We actually saw a few of these in Perth (Rogers’ legside, Tendulkar’s and others too high etc). Looked like hawkeye was doing a pretty good job on those. Room for debate – but hardly palpably wrong.

      umpire says not out – and hawkeye says it was out. Do see a few of these – often with the hawkeye showing the edge of the ball to be clipping the edge of the stumps. Well within the benefit of the doubt to the batsman – open to debate – but again hardly palpably wrong.

      I am not saying hawkeye is infallible or should be used for lbw decisions. But to me it seems reasonably accurate – not even sure it doesn’t make fewer “howlers” then the umpires. Witness the examples above.

      What examples or logic were you pointing to for “palpably wrong” ?

      cheers; Ulysses.

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