Steven Smith dropped the catch of KL Rahul when the latter was on 46 Getty Images

KL Rahul was given a reprieve when he top-edged one and Steven Smith dropped a skier behind the wicketkeeper. Smith was not amused. It was clear that it was not the Sun staring down his face, but the presence of the Spidercam and its wires in the vicinity that distracted him. Are Spidercams worth it? Nishad Pai Vaidya has more…

When KL Rahul top-edged shortly before lunch, the ball soared high over Brad Haddin and swirled high in the air. Steven Smith moved to his left from first slip and tried to position himself underneath the ball. Looking straight into the sun, Smith seemed to have lost the ball and did not look stable as it came down. Normally a safe fielder, Smith grassed it to hand Rahul another lifeline.

As he lay on the ground, Smith pointed towards the sky. It was not the Sun that had distracted him: it was the Spidercam. He was distracted by the Spidercam being in the vicinity of the ball s trajectory. One of the wires seems to have been in his way and he could not judge the ball to perfection.

The question we should ask is: what risks does a Spidercam pose on a cricket field? With the ball flying in the air, what are the chances of it being in the way? Cricket authorities may assess the concept in the light of the latest incident. Yes, the Sun was directly in his eyes, but a fielder of Smith s calibre would normally take that catch.

With the Spidercam being suspended in the air, with the support of a few wires tied to various corners of the ground, the equipment is free to move anywhere. It does offer great panoramic shots and adds a new angle to broadcast. However, there is always a risk of it being close to a ball or a fielder. Sydney Morning Herald reported Darren Lehmann saying, “I think it gives great vision for the people at home and the entertainment throughout the day. We have just got to make sure it’s positioned right and on that particular occasion it was probably in the wrong spot.”

Lehmann has hit the nail on the head when he speaks about the entertainment value. It comes across as a voice of reason. The second part of his quote is also compelling when he says that it has to be positioned well. However, given the unpredictable nature of the game, it is tough to judge the exact position. A batsman may play any shot in the air and it could well head towards the camera. Also, one cannot restrict its movement as its value would reduce and broadcasters may consider giving it up altogether. Wherever it is over the field of play, it is at risk of being hit by the ball any time.

In the past, we have seen the ball hit the Spidercam. This happened during a Champions League T20 2012 match in South Africa when Dinesh Karthik hit the ball straight onto the camera. The ball was called dead as a result. Of course the difference here is that there was an impact and the ball fell to ground.




In this context, one may also recall an incident during the ICC Super Series 2005, when Michael Hussey hit the ball on the roof at the Docklands Stadium. The ball hit the roof and fell to the ground as the umpire called it a dead.




In such cases, we have seen the ball being called dead. One can interpret it according to the law that states that an umpire can call a ball dead when he interprets it to be settled. Smith was simply unlucky that the ball was close to the camera. It would have been a better outcome had it hit the camera, for he would not have had a dropped chance against his name.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)