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Technology and its Part with Cricket

8 March 2012 No Comment

Cricket has been often referred to as ‘a Gentleman’s Game’ for a very long time. But not everything in cricket is gentle these days. It has become more fierce, aggressive, competitive and unfriendly game. The gentle and friendly matches played long ago are all gone. These are days of clashes among titans, prove-a-point games, tight and pressure games, money making games and a lot of other factors that have made the game wilder than ever.

Another major change in the game is the involvement of technology. Technology has made the game more accurate and has saved it from getting even wilder. These are not the days where the whole game depended on the on-field umpire’s decisions. The umpire himself is assisted by a set of technologies that has made his life easier.

Here let us review on few technologies in cricket that are constantly being used in every matches played today. Let’s kick off with the most frequently used ones.

The stump vision camera and microphone

stump vision camera and microphone

The stump vision camera was one of the very first technologies seen in the game of cricket. Introduced in the 90s, a camera and an audio recording system were attached to the stumps and were connected to the computers and TVs through underground wiring. The stump vision camera is capable of capturing all the cricket actions happening at the batsman’s end at very close angles. It helps you hear the sound of the stump timber and the bails falling down. It sometimes allows you to hear the conversation going on between the keeper and the fielders or when a batsman shouts to his partner.

This technology is a great innovation for the game of cricket.

Snicko-Meter

Snicko Meter

With the number of cricket spectators increasing day-by-day, it is very difficult to hear anything on the ground other than the noise of the crowd. This makes it very difficult for communications and decision making. An umpire is never sure of whether a batsman has nicked the ball and is often confused with the faintest of edges.

The Snicko-Meter helps him in graphically analyzing video and sound also shows him whether there has been a fine noise as the ball passes the bat.

Hawk-Eye

hawk eye

This is a technology used in both cricket and tennis. It is a complex computer system that tracks the trajectory of the ball and gives a record of its most likely statistical path as a moving object. It generates a graphical image of the path of the ball and the playing field, assisting in providing information to judges, coaching staff and television viewers in real times.

hawk eye 2

In cricket, this technology is used in analyzing LBW (leg before wicket) decisions. It could also be used to represent delivery patterns of a bowler’s behavior like the turn or swing information and the line and length information of the ball, variations in bouncers, slow deliveries and leg-cutters, accurate spots where the ball was pitched and other things like balls in which the batsmen have scored runs etc.

Hot-Spot

cricket hot spot

The Hotspot technology is used to determine whether the ball had hit the batsman’s pad or something else. It can be considered to be the video format of the snicko meter. This technology functions by infra-red imaging system which sends the image to a computer on any bat or snick involvement. It gives a 100% accurate information on whether the ball had hit the bat or not. This technology is also used to determine exactly where the ball had hit the bat.

Technological changes cricket

Cricket has also seen a number of changes over the years. The development in technology has also made it more accurate and straight. Now consider these developments:

The Third Umpire

Third umpire

The third umpire supplements the role of the two standing umpires on a cricket ground. He is equally qualified and makes use of many technologies to advice and assist the two standing umpires. The third umpire has got the luxury of TV replays to decide on different situations (like whether or not a catch was taken cleanly, run-out decisions etc.). He is on wireless communication with the standing umpires most of the time.

Umpire Referral system

This is yet another system in cricket that is being trialed to make the game error-free. According to this system, the players are welcomed to challenge the decision of the on-field umpire and refer them again with the TV umpire. The third umpire or the TV umpire in turn makes use of all the above mentioned technology to ensure that the decision is correct.

Cricket - Fifth Test - Day Four - England v West Indies - Queen's Park Oval

However this system is not without its drawbacks as the whole process takes a long time and effects the duration of a cricket match (especially as players use them by the end of the innings). And at the end of the day certain decisions go wrong again inspite of being referred to this final umpire.

This can be excused as the technology is still at its infant stage.

Other Technologies

Though not exclusively for cricket, there are so many other technologies being used in the game today. Here are few examples:

(a) The light meter determines the light changes in a day game. This helps the umpires to decide whether the play has to continue or not.

(b) The computer graphics are used to determine different statistics of the batsman and the bowler. It gives lots of exciting information to the viewers and this is attributed to the computer technology used today.

(c) The super slow motion cameras are available even in our mobile phones today. But they are extremely useful in cricket too. They are used to make an exact review on how all the highlighted actions took place.

(d) The speed gun helps in measuring the bowling speeds. Sometimes they are also used to measure the response time for a batsman. They help us in comparing the different speeds at which bowlers deliver the ball.

(e) Heart Beat Monitor also known as the Gator Monitor tracks the heart rate of cricketers. Viewers can see the heart rate of fast bowlers as they ferociously run in to bowl.

(f) Real time commentary by on-field players: This technology allows players and umpires to comment while they are on the field. The technology was used when the 20-20 game was played and it allows players to interact more with commentators adding more fun to the game.

(g) Dart Fish: Very similar to the Hawk Eye technology, the Dart Fish technology tracks a bowler’s trajectory and offers a clear picture on the path of the ball after leaving the bowler’s arm.

Technology Suggestions that have been in place

front foot no ball

For a very long time there has been a suggestion to refer each ball for a front-foot no ball with the help of technology. This will make the on-field umpire’s job a little easier. This technology could be something like a small beeping sound when a bowler’s foot crosses the popping crease. The concept is simply great because the umpire has the luxury of simply looking at the batsman’s end, instead of checking the bowler’s crease for each delivery.

These technologies are more or less like double-edged swords. Though they have bought in number of interesting changes and luxuries to the game, they are still being criticized by many. Some of them are not accurate and so they do not seem to make justice to their presence in the game. Moreover cricket is a very traditional game and any changes brought about to the game are not accepted easily. They are all being criticized on their very first appearance.

However, one can safely assume that as people start realizing the value of these technologies and once the drawbacks are rectified in the future, the game will be completely taken over by machines as far as decision making is concerned. It will be cleaner and will have no room for curses and criticisms anymore. The game would retain its status as a ‘GENTLEMAN’S GAME”.

Author Bio:

Sanjay Bojan, an internet analyst, is keen in observing broadband providers in UK. Also he enjoys to compare broadband service and their marketing strategies followed in different countries across the globe.

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