London: The ball-tracking technology, Virtual Eye, currently being used in the Ashes series, is not reliable and can have an impending impact on the outcome of the much hyped tournament, feels Paul Hawkins who is the founder of Hawk-Eye.
“A wrong decision could completely change the course of the Ashes,” warned Hawkins.
Hawkins said he believes there is a high percentage of inaccuracy in the Virtual Eye.
“Hawk-Eye is accurate to an average of five millimeters (0.2 inches) for an lbw appeal. This figure could go up to 15mm depending on other factors, such as how far the batsman has advanced from the crease,” maintained Hawkins.
“Evidence suggests that in case of Virtual Eye the figure goes to 45mm (1.8 inches),” he added, pointing out to an unsuccessful lbw appeal by Graeme Swann against Marcus North in the second Test.
Managing director of Virtual Eye, Ian Taylor, while admitting the involvement of human error in this case defended the operator saying he still went through with the graphic because it did not affect the outcome of the appeal, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.
North was hit outside the line of off stump and could not be given out lbw.
Showing enough trust on Virtual Eye, Taylor said, “We are quite conscious that something we do might decide the Ashes, and we are completely confident that our technology will give the right decision.”
Hawkins, meanwhile raised his concern regarding the fact that the channel owners rather than the cricket’s governing body (ICC) was taking the call on which equipment to use, although the technology in place has an impact on the on-field umpires’ decisions.
Pointing out at the price concerns involved in the usage of a particular technology, he said, “The ICC have only done about half a day’s testing, certainly nothing as rigorous as the ITF (International Tennis Federation) have done with our tennis system.
“They need to establish one set of criteria. You have to look at graphics and price but accuracy and reliability are more important if the product is to be used officially,” Hawkins insisted.
The New Zealand-based company behind Virtual Eye, Animation Research Limited is much more cheaper than its British counterpart.