Ashes cricket 2021: Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley apologises for Gabba power outage

Cricket Australia’s chief executive has apologised to the nation’s cricket fans for a disastrous disruption to today’s Ashes coverage.

In January 2019, the Sydney Thunder were robbed of a crucial Big Bash League victory when a power failure in Brisbane’s east caused half of the Gabba to turn dark.

The match was abandoned, and the men in green subsequently missed out on a spot in the BBL finals series.

Almost three years later, the Queensland capital has once again been struck by a technical failure, but arguably at a worse time.

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Day four of the first Ashes Test was thrown into chaos when generators went down at the Gabba, leaving broadcasters without live footage for approximately 20 minutes.

DRS technology was also unavailable for that period, meaning the on-field umpires were on their own for a handful of overs.

Channel 7 and Fox Cricket were forced to show replays of earlier action as the off-field issues were resolved — for nearly half an hour, cricket fans around the nation relied solely on ESPNcricinfo ball-by-ball analysis and radio commentary for updates from the Gabba.

“There has been a power issue affecting the broadcast compound at the Gabba, resulting in the world feed going down and all resulting technology not working,” Cricket Australia said in a statement.

“The issue is being worked on with the aim to get everything working as soon as possible.”

No wickets fell during the power outage, which thankfully did not coincide with Nathan Lyon’s long-awaited 400th Test wicket.

There were some amusing scenes amid the confusion — at one stage, an advertisement for Channel 7 reality program SAS Australia appeared on Fox Cricket’s broadcast, before quickly cutting to a bemused Brett Lee and Shane Warne.

Foxtel was forced to switch to its aerial camera for several minutes before the only camera option left was a shot of three commentators inside the Fox Cricket studio.

Channel 7 was also undone by the same technical failure, unable to access the majority of camera angles used by the world feed.

Seven has since clarified the network was able to continue broadcasting the contest following the initial outage by relying on the four additional cameras it had available at the venue that were independent of the world feed breakdown.

As reported by News Corp, the Queensland Government’s Covid-19 restrictions limited broadcasters to sending just 25 per cent of their usual on-ground crew to Brisbane — there are fewer technical staff in Brisbane than have ever been seen for a Test match before.

English cricket reporter Chris Stocks said it was “hugely embarrassing for Cricket Australia”.

“Decision to play this Test on this date somewhere where the world’s media and many TV tech staff were shut-out is a disgrace. It’s a farce,” he posted on Twitter.

On Saturday afternoon, Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley apologised to the nation’s cricket fans for the disruption.

“I was getting live updates every minute,” he told ABC Radio.

“I just want to apologise to all the fans out there. One of the generators in the outside broadcast compound (went down). I just want to say thank you to everyone working extremely hard to get that back up.

“Again, I can only just say we are sorry to all the fans.”

Earlier in the Test, it was revealed the Snicko and front-foot no-ball technology were unavailable for the marquee event due to Covid-19 complications.

Australia took a 1-0 lead in the Ashes after securing a nine-wicket victory on Saturday afternoon.

England lost 8/74 in a cataclysmic collapse on day four, setting the hosts a target of 20 for victory.

The second Test gets underway at Adelaide Oval on Thursday.

— with Tyson Otto

Read related topics:BrisbaneSydney

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