The Nine Network have admitted that its Spidercam overhead camera system played a part in Australian captain Steve Smith‘s dropped catch at the SCG today during the Sydney leg of the test series against India.
As reported by Fairfax, the incident occurred when batsman Lokesh Rahul edged a ball toward fielder Steve Smith just before lunch. Smith looked upwards while getting in position to catch the ball and appeared distracted before dropping the catch. Rahul went onto make another 64 runs before being getting out on 110 after achieving his maiden test century.
According to reports, after dropping the ball, Smith pointed skywards and appeared to say the words, “Fucking Wire”. He was referring to the wire from Nine’s floating Spidercam, a camera supported by various cables that sweeps above the field to provide viewers with various on field angles. Watch the incident in the video below.
Nine and Cricket Australia issued a joint statement and admitted that while the ball did not hit the camera or its supporting wires, Smith was “distracted” by the wires in his eye line. “Both CA and Nine will continue to work together on the use of SpiderCam in the broadcast coverage and will take on board any player feedback as necessary.” reads the statement.
Former Australian batsman Dean Jones told Fairfax he believed Smith should have taken the catch, regardless of the camera’s presence. “He had bad footwork from the get-go and he panicked,” Jones said. Coach Darren Lehmann said the Spidercam was likely in the wrong spot when Smith dropped the catch. “I’m sure CA and Channel Nine will work that out and get it better.”
According to the CA and Nine statement, Spidercam technology has been used in Nine’s international cricket coverage for many years and is also used in other major sporting events such as the SuperBowl, NRL and AFL Grand Finals. “As it stands, if any player has a concern about the placement of Spidercam they can ask the umpires for it to be moved,” they add.