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Thursday, January 8, 2015

KL Rahul & Virat Kohli hit tons ..... Steve Smith blames spider cam !!

At Sydney, the faith imposed on young Rahul was vindicated as he scored a century in his second Test.   He was lucky but one should not take away credit from his application and achievement.  India went to tea at 234 for two with Rahul unbeaten on 106 and Kohli passing fifty for the fifth time in the series on 67 to trail Australia by 338 runs.  Aussies claim to be one of the best fielding sides, but Rahul got chances on  41, 42 and 46 ~ and the last of them was in news  with Australia skipper Steve Smith appearing to blame the spidercam camera hovering above the ground for putting down the skied catch.

The spirit of business tycoon Kerry Packer, famous for World Series Cricket, coloured clothing, and contracting players away from National side lingers.  The technology put up by Channel Nine was blamed by the Australian captain for the messed chance.  In earlier days of televised coverage, Cameras could portray dull images of players and cannot zero in on the action exactly – many a times, the camera would go to the wrong side missing the entire action, especially for miscued hits.  When Indians captained by Bedi toured Australia in 1977, the ultra slow motions showed the World the way ball spun across the seam, the bowling actions and fielders running yards to take mishits. 

I had earlier posted on this captivating technology at Chepauk – used during IPL.   At  Chepauk spectators wondered the drone like object hovering over the space – it was a camera connected to 4 ropes on different sides – it can bend lower, reach closer to the batsman or reach any part of the ground.  Spider camera is an  aerial device that is suspended with the help of cables tied to the floodlight pillars, the spider cam is meant to enhance the television viewing experience for those who prefer watching the match in the comforts of their homes. The idea is to keep moving the camera continuously to cover all angles and capture every vital moment in the game, thereby making the live telecast of a match much more interesting.   In IPL,  one saw their favourite player in close up even capturing his muttering or the chewing of the gum.  All by the sky camera called ‘spider camera’.   In a match between Mumbai Indians and Pune Warriors at the Wankhede, Sachin Tendulkar signalled for the camera to be moved away because it got too close a couple of times while he was batting – it was a distraction.   Mumbai Indians allrounder Kieron Pollard reckoned the camera was a hindrance even for fielders.

The Spidercam operates with four motorized winches positioned at each corner at the base of the covered area, each of which controls a Kevlar cable connected to a gyro-stabilized camera-carrier, or dolly. By controlling the winding and unwinding of the cables, the system allows the dolly to reach any position in the three dimensional space.

At Sydney, runs trickled for India as Rohit Sharma and Rahul battled along and then Virat Kohli stepped in after Rohit got out.  Only 51 runs came off 30 overs in the third day's slow-moving morning session in Sydney for the loss of Rohit Sharma's wicket. India went to lunch at 122 for two  trailing  Australia by 450 runs.    When Kohli was beaten by Nathan Lyon's flight and the ball fizzed past wicketkeeper Brad Haddin with Rahul charging down the pitch for a run, Smith glared at Haddin with arms outstretched shouting at the lost botched chance.   Then Rahul mistimed a pull, Smith got under and missed.  Smith was seen to mouth an expletive to team-mates, which suggested he was distracted by the cables connecting the spidercam aerial TV camera.

Earlier  Rahul appeared to have another chance when a ball from Lyon spun across touched his gloves, hit the thighpad.  Haddin was not seen appealing and to others  Richard Kettleborough was unmoved.  Infrared TV replays showed the ball may have brushed the glove and off the thigh guard to Burns, who did not refer the catch to the third umpire.

Australia Press reports that  Channel Nine head of sport Steve Crawley immediately sent his engineers to find out what had happened and established that the ball had not hit either the camera or the wire, but that a wire was in Smith's line of sight. The wires are covered in mesh so they don't glint in the sun, but Smith was looking into the sun as he hovered underneath the ball, which was top-edged by Rahul off the bowling of Shane Watson. 

CA and Nine made a joint statement after meeting to discuss the incident. "We (CA & Nine) have spoken about the matter involving Spidercam and the dropped catch before lunch and it's clear the ball did not hit the camera or its supporting wires," the statement said.  "As it stands, if any player has a concern about the placement of Spidercam they can ask the umpires for it to be moved. "Spidercam technology has been used in Nine's international cricket coverage for many years and is used in other major sporting events such as the SuperBowl, NRL and AFL grand finals."

With regards – S. Sampathkumar                                                                          8th Jan 2015.

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