Fox Spidercam operator pulled over after camera collided with South African star Anrich Nortje at the MCG…while the Proteas quickly revealed tourists were concerned the players’ safety was being put at risk even before the incident
The spidercam operator responsible for the collision between the camera and Anrich Nortje at the MCG has been suspended for the remainder of the Boxing Day Test.
The South African quick was sent crashing to the turf on the second day of play in Melbourne, when he was hit by a mobile camera after lunch as he walked towards the boundary.
The 29-year-old escaped any serious injury and was able to continue bowling after being hit in the left shoulder and elbow.
Antje Nortje fell to the ground after being hit in the back by a Spidercam on the second day
But while the Spidercam was back in action on the third day, its operator reportedly quit, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Nortje was struck as the camera, which weighs about 8kg and is zipped by a complex wires system, made a low sweep from a height of about two metres.
An agreement between the ICC, Fox Sports and Cricket Australia states that the Spidercam is not allowed to travel lower than 3.5 meters from the ground.
The camera can only be moved to a lower height when it is stationary above the players during interviews.
Camera staff were seen attending ‘Spidercam’ after the collision at the MCG
Fox immediately stopped using the camera for the day and has since issued an apology to Nortje and the South African team. When the camera was deployed on Wednesday, it was suspended about four meters above the ground.
The fast bowler revealed that the Proteas already had concerns that the camera – designed to bring spectators into the middle of the action – was putting player safety at risk.
‘I moved my head and then I saw the camera and I was a bit late. It was pretty quick,’ Nortje said of the incident.
‘One thing we’ve talked about is how low it is […] I don’t think it should be traveling head-height.’
The South African recovered quickly after being hit by Spidercam
Norje managed to remove Steve Smith, Travis Head and David Warner in Australia’s first dig
Australian Cricketers Association chief executive Todd Greenberg told SEN on Wednesday that he had sought an explanation from Fox Sports and Cricket Australia.
‘When he [Nortje] Go down I was really worried that he was actually hit in the side of the head, which he wasn’t, but he fell to his feet,’ he said.
‘That would be very disconcerting for a player on a field, where your only focus is on the ball and your job.
Pat Cummins (right) removes South Africa captain Dean Elgar (left) for a duck
‘It’s obviously a technical error, it’s obviously human error by the person running it, but that’s something we won’t see happen again.
‘That’s not good for the game or the players. […] Clearly this was a mistake that should not have happened and will not happen again.’
Nortje quickly recovered from the impact and ended Australia’s first innings with three wickets after dismissing Steve Smith, Travis Head and double-centurion David Warner.
But despite his efforts Australia declared 8-575, with a massive lead of 386 runs after the tourists skittled out for 189 in their first dig and lost skipper Dean Elgar for a third-ball duck in their second innings.