Hawk-Eye officials have admitted that their review technology made an error in a decision to give Pakistan opener Shan Masood out in the second Test against New Zealand in Dubai last month. At a meeting held at the ICC office in Dubai last week, Hawk-Eye is understood to have conceded to Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq and team manager Moin Khan that the projection used by their technology for the lbw decision was incorrect.
Masood, a left-handed batsman, was dismissed in the second innings in the 30th over of the Test’s final day when left-arm pacer Trent Boult bowled a swinging yorker from over the wicket to hit the batsman’s left heel in front of leg stump to be given out by umpire Paul Reiffel. Masood consulted his partner Younis Khan and decided to review the decision. After several slow-motion replays, Hawk-Eye’s projected path surprisingly showed the ball cutting in to hit leg stump after pitching in front of it, instead of going ahead with the angle. Since it was am inswinging delivery, and not a slower one, bowled full, the ball was unlikely to take that path.
Pakistan had later asked the ICC if they could meet the Hawk-Eye officials to discuss the decision and inconsistency in the technology. The ICC had also been alerted by its own officials and, during last week’s meeting – first reported by the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National – Hawk-Eye acknowledged the projection broadcast was incorrect. However, they also said that had the projection been right, the ball would have still clipped the leg stump, instead of hitting it properly as shown during the match, and Reiffel’s decision would have been upheld.
Hawk-Eye officials explained that the particular instance brought together a unique set of circumstances that led to an operator making an input error, leading to what was shown on the TV. Misbah and Moin were told that the reduced number of cameras (four were used compared to six) and that Masood’s bat and the square-leg umpire obscured a crucial couple of frames in the ball’s flight, which played a hand in getting the projection wrong.
Pakistan had been unhappy with Hawk-Eye in the past as well, when Sachin Tendulkar was given lbw off Saeed Ajmal in the 2011 World Cup semi-final and the Hawk-Eye projection surprised everyone by showing it was missing the leg stump. However, in that case, Hawk-Eye had issued a public statement in defence of their technology.