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EXPLAINED: Another Ultra Edge Gaffe Begs the Question - Why is it Failing Consistently?

By: Cricketnext Staff

Last Updated: May 20, 2022, 09:35 IST

Screengrab on Matthew Wade's controversial dismissal. The Ultra Edge here show no spike, even though there was clear deviation in the trajectory of the ball close to the bat

Screengrab on Matthew Wade's controversial dismissal. The Ultra Edge here show no spike, even though there was clear deviation in the trajectory of the ball close to the bat

Gujarat Titans' batter Matthew Wade was left furious as Ultra Edge played it role, quite wrongly, in his dismissal.

On Thursday night another bizarre incident caught fan’s eye. In fact, it caught the eye of every cricket tragic. Gujarat Titans’ Matthew Wade was adjudged out LBW despite the batter nicking the ball. However, the ultra edge didn’t pick it at all. Result: Wade was given the marching orders. So frustrated was the Aussie that he started throwing things the moment he entered the dressing room. But this is not the first time that state-of-the-art technology has let down the players. Even earlier Rohit Sharma was also adjudged out against Kolkata Knight Riders.


We take a look at what is Ultra edge exactly and why is it failing. Can there be any solutions?

What is Ultra Edge?

Ultra Edge, which is a part of DRS, plays a big role in verifying if the batter had nicked the ball. In that case, it is assumed that the trajectory of the ball might have changed before hitting the pads which means ‘Not Out’ in case of an LBW appeal. The technology primarily relies on the stump mic for any possible sound; therefore, it is the one thing that will make or break a batter’s fortunes in case of a close bat-pad situation.

How is Ultra Edge Different from Snicko?

To be very frank, there is not much difference. Ultra Edge is an advanced version of Snickometer which is used for edge detection. This technology was first used in 1999 by UK’s Channel 4. The Snickometer was invented by British computer scientist Allan Plaskett.

Doubts Over Ultra Edge?

Just like any other technology, Ultra Edge is not foolproof. Since it relies solely on stump mics, the room for error is much more. For instance, there can be multiple noises simultaneously. For example, a ball can hit the pad even as the bat is hitting the ground—two noises at a single instance. At such a situation, the Ultra Edge can either show a spike moments before an actual nick, enough to misguide the third umpire.  There were instances when no spike was picked at all, thanks to a faulty stump mic.

Recent Instances of it failing:

 –Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma was given out against Kolkata Knight Riders for just 2. The batter had edged it before it got deflected off his pads and went to the wicket-keeper. On-field umpire gave it not out, but Ultra edge showed spike even before the ball had come close to the bat. The decision was reversed.

Delhi Capitals batter Mitchell Marsh walked off the field on his own against Lucknow Supergiants as he thought he had nicked the ball before it carried to the wicket-keeper. As Marsh perished after scoring a brisk 20-ball 37, replays showed that the batter had indeed nicked it. But Ultra Edge showed otherwise.

In another incident involving RCB and PBKS, Punjab batter Jonny Bairstow hogged the limelight after Ultra Edge played its part in saving the batter. It was Mohammed Siraj and the whole RCB unit who had appealed to the umpire after they thought the ball had hit his pads. But the Ultra Edge showed spikes which misguided the TV umpire to think that the ball might have kissed his bat. Instead it was the spike which came from his bat hitting the ground; RCB fans were left furious.

Can Hotspot Play a Role?

Hot Spot is part of a ball-tracking technology which uses Infra-Red (IR) camera systems to detect the heat signatures caused by ball impact. It is used to determine whether a batter should be given out or not. It can detect whether the ball struck the player, its equipment or the ground. A Hotspot can be very effective solution as not only it cancels the noise factor, it also reduced the probability of multiple events. If the ball hits the pad then there will be just one heat signature. If it hits the pad and the bat, there will be multiple signatures, but heat intensity can be the clear difference. However, it is also not foolproof as it can also miss out on some faint edges which has minimal to no heat signatures.
Why Hot-Spot is not available across the world in all matches?

Logistics. Using Hotspot requires multiple cameras. Using it in a huge tournament like IPL, which happens across multiple locations, you need state of the art logistical support which cost money.

Reactions to Wade Incident

After the game ended, Wade’s skipper Hardik Pandya played down the incident, saying most of the time technology had overturned decisions.

“I think it was slightly there (spike) in UltraEdge. From the big screen, it was not visible, but you can’t fault it. If technology is not helping, then I don’t know who’s going to help. Obviously, it’s nothing personal from anybody, but technology sometimes helps, sometimes it does not. This time, it did not help but most of the time it has worked and kind of overturned decisions. Most of the times, the right decision has been taken.”

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first published:May 20, 2022, 08:50 IST
last updated:May 20, 2022, 09:35 IST