Virtual Eye who are the DRS operators in Australia have admitted their mistake of goofing up the process in the second Test match in Sydney in an appeal against Steve Smith by Team India. India reviewed the decision after the onfield umpires had ruled Smith not out. In the replays, a fourth stump had surfaced ‘mysteriously’ on the screen. The operators have now admitted the mistake now after India have won a historic Test series against Australia.
In the 12th over of the Australian second innings in Sydney with Ravichandran Ashwin bowling to Steve Smith, the replays showed a mysterious fourth stump after India appealed against the Australian batsman. There was a huge uproar on Twitter as well with former Indian batsmen Aakash Chopra asking “Have we heard any clarification from the authorities responsible for this? The mysterious fourth stump making an appearance on replays?”
Virtual Eye Admits DRS Goof Up in Sydney Test
“We reported that immediately to the people we work with at the ICC because it was a mistake on our part — fortunately it did not affect the decision, the umpire was correct, but is should not have happened. We take full responsibility for that but the important thing was that the decision to stay with the umpires call was the correct one — the real ball track did show the ball missed,” Ian Taylor, the MD of Virtual Eye that operates DRS in Australia and New Zealand, told Cricbuzz.
The MD of Virtual Eye further explained why and how the goof-up happened.
“We tracked the ball normally in our tracking system and it showed it missing the stumps. For the DRS the next step is to play the ball track back, superimposed over the ‘end on’ broadcast TV camera when the 3rd umpire calls for it. At the start of play we calibrate the two TV cameras at each end of the pitch to ensure they are perfectly aligned when we play our ball track over the live camera. When we did that, before going to air, it was fine and the ball was clearly missing.
“Just before we were going to replay, the end-on camera lost focus for an instant and when that happens it loses its calibration and we have to recalibrate. It happens a few times during the day but this was the first time it had ever happened between the time we tracked the ball and the time we had to replay it.
“Our operator went through the recalibration programme to realign the camera — he thought he had successfully done that but as soon as he replayed the video with the track on it, he realised that it hadn’t recalibrated correctly because the ball was now clipping the stump rather than missing it.
Ian Taylor further admitted that it was not a technical glitch but a human error on their part. He said that there are over 2000 balls that they regularly track on any given Test match and that for once it happened while the replay was being shown on the big screen.
Former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Shane Warne, Ian Chappell have repeatedly questioned the conclusiveness of the DRS system after numerous errors by onfield umpires. They have also shown strong reservations against the onfield “Umpire’s Call’ which has had a decisive impact on games in the past as well.