DRS system took a big blow following an unexpected failure of the Hawk-Eye technology during Australia’s sensational win over South Africa last Sunday.
The video clippings of the controversial moment reveal a massive failure from the Hawk-Eye ball-tracking path-predictor.
AB de Villiers was clean bowled by Aussie speedster Josh Hazlewood during Australia’s 36-run win in St Kitts, but the Hawk-Eye ball-tracker somehow predicted a completely different result.
Hawk-Eye generally uses six high-speed cameras which capture 340 frames per second to track and predict the trajectory of the cricket ball in flight.
The technology predicted Hazlewood’s ball would have jumped up too high and passed over the stumps.
It’s especially damning footage for Hawk-Eye, considering video replays are there to show de Villiers didn’t get any bat on the ball or impact the flight of the Duke ball.
The incident has yet again raised some serious questions about the ongoing use of the Hawk-Eye technology, with the organization behind the technology has always clarified the technology is only accurate to within 5mm as it is currently used in international cricket matches.
The system’s particular weakness is one of the main reason the ICC mandates that more than half the ball has to hit the stumps for an umpire’s not-out decision to be overturned — to some extent hiding Hawk-Eye’s margin for error.
Meanwhile, Hawk-Eye founder Dr. Paul Hawkins recently defended the technology, claiming inaccuracies like the system’s apparent failure during Hazlewood’s delivery don’t just happen regularly.
In a quick response to a renowned cricket website’s article criticizing the technology, Dr. Hawkins said the technology has so far only resulted four inaccurate predictions since an upgraded version of the technology was implemented eight years ago.
He conceded testing has shown there are some scenarios where the technology has a margin of error of up to 1cm.
“Some people will not be able to understand how it works, and there is not much I can do about that,” Hawkins wrote in an official response last year.
“Those that site examples where they feel it was wrong, we are able to show conclusively that we were right in all instances apart from in four occasions over seven years of DRS where we have held our hands up and said we were wrong (over 99.5%).”
When asked about an incident same as the one where the DRS inaccurately predicted Hazlewood’s delivery travelling over the stumps, Hawkins said: “I can guarantee what you describe did not happen”.
“Is it possible that the batsman was not clean bowled, but instead played on to his stumps. There have been many examples of this — where we show it missing because we predict a path assuming the batsman had not hit the ball.”
But interestingly Hawk-Eye system seems to have the full support of the ICCr, with the “50 per cent of the ball” rule expected to be scrapped this year after Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene, who now sits on the ICC’s cricket committee, recently informed a change to the rule will likely be recommended shortly.
“We’ve decided that the 50 percent rule should be reduced to 25 per cent,” Jayawardene said.
“Even the MCC rule book says if it hits any part of the wicket it should be given out, so you are going away from all that with the 50 percent rule.”
Meanwhile, one of cricket’s other key DRS technologies, Hot Spot, has also been heavily questioned recently after claims of silicone tape being wrapped around bats can trick the Hot Spot readings.
It’s now up to ICC, whether to ban the use of silicone tape at international level or not.
Warren Brennan, the inventor of Hot Spot, had earlier urged ICC to ban the use of silicone tape, which is used by batsmen to protect their bats.
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