'Ashes' is known not only for its 'glorious uncertainities' but also for its controversies. The series has seen and survived it all, from excessive appealing to sledging, from umpiring errors to pitch vandalism, and more. After all, the famous 'body-line' series was played under the Ashes banner.
But technology had never been a point of contention in Ashes, or cricket in general, until the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) invaded the cricket pitch.
If umpires are in doubt they can fall back to technology, but if technology is in doubt then who takes the responsibility?
Three technologies are used by the DRS system to decide whether a batsman is out or not.
"Hover over" the image for details of technologies used in DRS
'Hotspot', one of the technologies used in the DRS system, has recently taken center-stage in the cricket-controversy-arena for two reasons.
One, sometimes even when the snick-o-meter clearly shows an edge, there are no hotspots found in the thermal image screen. Let's take an example from the recent Ashes series:
So, as seen in the video, sometimes hotspots are not definitive and lead to ambiguous decisions.
Two, the company which handles the 'hotspot' technology has recently blamed English batsman Kevin Pietersen, along with many others, of using silicone-based tape on the edges of their bats.
According to the company, this would avoid nicks being detected by the thermal imaging system.
The English batsmen have registered displeasure and have strongly disagreed to this notion.
Whether the company started this controversy to hide their technical shortcomings or the players actually managed to escape hotspot detection, using silicone based coating, is a wait and watch.
Today, Australia's local media reported the ICC has launched an investigation into Kevin Pietersen's involvement in the 'silicon taped bat' controversy. Pietersen furiously denied the reports through twitter.
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..— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) August 7, 2013
I am never afraid of getting out! If I nick it, I'll walk.. To suggest I cheat by covering my bat with silicon infuriates me..— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) August 7, 2013
If any problem with the tweets : search for kevin peitersen in twitter and these tweets are his latest ones today
Let's for a moment put DRS on hold and go down the memory lane to look at some of the controversies which arose out of an incident related to the cricket 'bat':
Dennis Lillie's Aluminum bat controversy is an unforgettable one considering the aggressive way in which Lillie confronted the situation. During an ashes Test at the WACA Ground in December 1979, Lillie played with an aluminum bat manufactured by a company owned by his friend. There were no rules against such usage at that time so no one could question him. The real trouble started when the opposition captain complained about the bat damaging the ball. When Lillie refused to budge it resulted in a controversy. So what happened finally? Well, take a look...-
WG Grace moment
The famous 'WG Grace' moment is something this list can't go without. Legend says that after Grace was clean bowled, which was confirmed when the umpire raised his finger, Grace said, 'Play on, they've come here to see me bat, not you umpire.' No one could talk against Grace at that time because he was hailed as God of Cricket and so he played on.
The Monster Bat Incident is a hilarious one that worths a mention in this list. In a local county match way back in 1771, an English player tried to use a bat that was as wide as the wicket. The batsmen would never get bowled as long as he had the bat in front of the wicket. The incident brought about the change in cricketing laws where the maximum width of the bat was set at four and a quarter inches. The rule remains intact till today.
Ponting using graphite bat
In late 2005, the MCC scrutinized Ricky Ponting's use of the Kahuna(a type of bat), after complaints that the bat provided unfair advantage to the batsman. In 2006, MCC went on to ban graphite-coated bats (including Kookaburra's Kahuna, Genesis Hurricane and the Beast) in International cricket.
Mark Waugh hit-wicket
On day 5 of a test match between South Africa and Australia there were only a few overs to go until the end of day. Australians were hanging by the thread to stay in the match with the last recognisable batsman Mark Waugh playing his heart out to save the innings. At this crucial juncture, Mark Waugh was given 'not out' even after he accidentally nicked the bails off the stumps using his bat. The South Africans pounced on the umpires and rioted against the decision for a whole 10 minutes.
If you remember some other controversial incident that comes to your mind that involves "bat", please feel free to comment.