International Cricket Council (ICC) officials are investigating whether players in the Ashes series in England have been placing silicone-based tape on their bats to avoid nicks being detected by 'hot spot' technology, an Australian TV station said on Wednesday.
Channel Nine said the International Cricket Council (ICC) general manager of cricket operations Geoff Allardice was in Durham, where the fourth Test begins on Friday, to investigate the matter.
Nine did not provide sources and gave no details of whether the Australian or England batsmen were believed to be using the silicone-based tape.
Controversy has raged over the effectiveness of the Decision Review System during the five-match series, in which England retained the Ashes after winning the first two games and drawing the third.
'Hot spot' technology uses an infra-red imaging system to determine whether a batsman has made contact with a ball -- with a visible mark often detected on the bat where the ball has hit.
Channel Nine said there was concern regarding the dismissal of England batsman Kevin Pietersen in the second innings of the third Test, when a noise was heard indicating a nick but no hot spot was detected on the bat.
Cricket Australia said it had no immediate comment on the Channel Nine report.
"Until such time as we have clarification from the ICC and further details, then we are not in a position to make any further comment," a spokesman told AFP.
But Pietersen has denied that he has ever applied tape in order to deceive umpires.
Pietersen tweeted: "Horrible journalism yet again! My name brought up in hotspot crisis suggesting I use silicon to prevent nicks showing! Such hurtful lies.
"I am never afraid of getting out! If I nick it, I'll walk. To suggest I cheat by covering my bat with silicon infuriates me.
"How stupid would I be to try & hide a nick when it could save me on an LBW appeal, like in 1st innings where hotspot showed I nicked it," he said on the micro-blogging site.
Australian Test captain Michael Clarke also denied that his team-mates are trying to cheat Hot Spot technology and is bemused by allegations that batsmen are putting a special coating on their bats to beat the technology.
According to news.com.au, the Australian captain insists that he has never heard a conversation involving players, bat manufactures, or anyone else, which addressed trying to beat Hot Spot in any way.
Clarke said that he found the accusation quite funny and he could not talk for everybody but there was not a person in the Australian change rooms, who was a cheat, adding that it was not the way the country played cricket.