Cricket: Sparks fly over claim of Hot Spot cheating

By Derek Pringle

Hot Spot could be turning into hot water for some after lawyers representing the England and Wales Cricket Board demanded an apology and explanation from Australia's Channel Nine following reports that Kevin Pietersen used silicone tape to fool the technology in the last Ashes test.

Earlier, Pietersen had angrily denied the reports, tweeting: "Horrible journalism yet again. My name brought up in Hot Spot crisis suggesting I use silicone to prevent nicks showing. Such hurtful lies."

Hot Spot has been under siege since failing to confirm several faint edges during the Ashes series, one of them by Pietersen in England's second innings at Old Trafford.

Pietersen was given out but sought a review of the decision, which was not overturned after audio from the stump microphone, but not Hot Spot, confirmed the edge.

"I'm never afraid of getting out," Pietersen added. "If I nick it, I'll walk. To suggest I cheat by covering my bat in silicone infuriates me. How stupid would I be to try to hide a nick when it could save me from an lbw appeal, like in the first innings when Hot Spot showed I'd nicked it."

Pietersen's fury, while understandable, is slightly misplaced and not just because a batsman could circumvent his last point by putting any magic tape - should it exist - on the outside edge but not the inside, the one that usually thwarts an lbw. Besides, tape is allowed for protection and repair to a bat and no specific type is banned.

But even if Pietersen had used tape to subvert Hot Spot, it would be unlikely to work as Channel Nine has suggested.

Thermodynamics expert Bill Baxter said certain tapes may enable the heat involved during contact between bat and ball to dissipate more quickly but the spot would still be picked up by the infra-red cameras.

Pietersen, with Alastair Cook, Jonny Bairstow and Stuart Broad, spent time in the nets at Durham yesterday.

Only Broad's bat appeared to have a shiny coating that covered both blade and edges, but that appeared to be there to facilitate adverts.

Pietersen's denial was backed by another England player, Graham Onions.

"The accusation is crazy," said Onions. "Obviously people use tape to heal cracks and to keep their favourite bats going as long as possible, but nothing that would cover up any potential nicks. The accusation is ridiculous."

Australian captain Michael Clarke echoed those sentiments, saying: "I think I would know. I'm a bat nerd, I pick up everyone's bats. I go through everyone's cricket bats. I find the accusation quite funny ... 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."

After complaints to the International Cricket Council from both sides during the series over decisions involving Hot Spot, the ICC has sent its general manager of cricket, Geoff Allardice, to explain Hot Spot's role in the Decision Review System to the managements of both Ashes teams.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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