The Decision Review System (DRS) was introduced in cricket to assist the umpires in making accurate decisions. However, the technology is not known to be 100 per cent accurate and the same has become a matter of controversy time and again. On several occasions, DRS has come up with a decision that has baffled the cricket fraternity.
For the unversed, the International Cricket Council first officially launched DRS on 24 November 2009, during the first Test between New Zealand and Pakistan at the University Oval in Dunedin. At first, ICC made DRS mandatory in all international matches but later made its use optional as the technology didn’t guarantee 100 % accuracy.
Hence, DRS would only be used if both teams agree as far as bilateral series are concerned. In ICC events, however, DRS has been mandatory since the 2011 World Cup in India. Meanwhile, Ultra-Edge and HotSpot are two of the most commonly-used technologies to review decisions by the third umpire.
While Ultra-Edge is being used to verify the ball touching the bat and works more like a Snickometer, HotSpot is based on infra-red technology. Now, the cricket world has been debating which of the two technologies is more reliable, although neither promises 100 per cent accuracy.
How do Ultra-Edge and HotSpot work?
Speaking of how the two systems work, Ultra-Edge is assisted by the stump microphone. This technology helps in discerning between the sounds created by the bat, pads, and clothing during the run of play. Umpires refer to Ultra-Edge to decide the close calls in LBWs and bat-pad situations.
On the other hand, Hot Spot is a sort of imaging system used to determine whether the ball has struck the batter’s bat or pad. It requires two infrared cameras on opposite sides of the ground above the field of play that are continuously recording an image.
Based on what the two systems offer, HotSpot is better than Ultra-Edge as differentiating between sounds can be tough for technology especially when the ball hits the bat and pad simultaneously. On the other hand, Hotspot makes it clear whether the ball has hit the bat or not as it leaves a clear mark. Hence, accurate results are more likely to come if umpires use Hotspot over Ultra-Edge. But then again, there will be a small margin of error in whichever technology we use.