DURHAM, England (AP) — England and Australia players rejected claims Wednesday that bats may have been tampered with during the Ashes series to avoid detection by infrared cameras, while cricket chiefs sought to assure them about the quality of the technology.
The International Cricket Council has sent a senior official to Durham ahead of the fourth test to address player concerns about the Decision Review System after several contentious calls during the Ashes.
The ICC said, however, it is not investigating the claims by Australian broadcaster Channel Nine that silicon tape might have been attached to the edges of bats "to fool" the DRS. The system uses Hot Spot's thermal-imaging cameras to enable the third umpire to review on-field decisions at the request of either the on-field umpires or the teams on the field.
Allegations that players have tried to dupe the DRS have enraged both teams. Australia batsman Steve Smith said the players put fiberglass tape on the front of bats "purely for protection" to make them last longer.
"I've never seen silicon tape at all, not even heard of it before," Smith said ahead of the fourth test. "I don't even know what it looks like." England batsman Kevin Pietersen dismissed the silicon claims as "hurtful lies."
In one of several contentious DRS decisions, Pietersen was given out caught-behind during the third test even though Hot Spot indicated he had not hit the ball. "I am never afraid of getting out! If I nick it, I'll walk," Pietersen wrote on Twitter. "To suggest I cheat by covering my bat with silicon infuriates me. How stupid would I be to try & hide a nick when it could save me on an LBW appeal, like in 1st innings where hotspot showed I nicked it."
Australia captain Michael Clarke insisted that no one in his squad is cheating. "That's not the way we play cricket," Clarke was quoted as saying by Australian media. "I know no one is going to the extreme of saying, 'Put this on your bat because it will help you beat Hot Spot'.
"I didn't know there was such a thing you could do to hide nicking the ball on Hot Spot. I wouldn't think it would make any difference." The ICC said that no investigation had been launched into "alleged attempts by any player to 'cheat' the effectiveness of the Hot Spot technology."
But ICC director of operations Geoff Allardice is flying into England ahead of the fourth test starting Friday to speak to the teams and coaches about wider concerns about how DRS is implemented. "Geoff Allardice is meeting with both teams and umpires to see how we can best use the DRS and the available technology going forward in the next two test matches," ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said.
England retained the Ashes after the third test was abandoned as a draw on Monday, leaving the hosts with a 2-0 lead with two tests remaining in the series.