Technology in Cricket: 21st-century Innovations in a 16th-century Sport

 

technology in cricket

 

Cricket is a simple game, like most things in life. 

But, every time the bowler releases the ball, there are multitudes of random possibilities that can occur. 

Some that will bring cheers of victory, the others a pall of gloom. 

It is for this reason that India lives and breathes cricket. 

Records of the game can be found in historical manuscripts from the late 16th century. From its humble origins, the game has now spread across the world. The International Cricket Council, today, has 12 full member countries and 94 associate member countries. 

The 12 full member countries have full voting rights and compete against each other in test matches, One Day Internationals (ODI), and Twenty20 matches. 

The rules of cricket are straightforward. And it has been the case for a long time. 

The adjudicating body on the field is the umpires. Umpires have the final say on the pitch when the game is being played. Umpiring is a tedious job with a huge room for human error that demands great concentration and precision. 

Recent technological advancements help umpires make accurate decisions on-field by reducing the uncertainty from the list of factors they must take into consideration. 

These are some of the technologies that help the third umpire.

 

Hawk-Eye Technology: Eye in the Sky 

 

Visualise this: The bowler releases the ball from his hand. The batsman defends and misses the ball. The ball slips through the bat and hits the pads of the batsman and the bowling team yells for an LBW (leg before wicket). The umpire, even with his decades of experience cannot judge if the ball missed the off-stump or hit the wickets. He motions for assistance from the third-umpire. 

The viewers at home watch a replay of the video that plots the trajectory of the ball from the movement it left the bowler's hand to the moment it barely hit the wicket. The eyes of everyone on the field, in the stadium, and at home are on the screen. 

An umpire reviews the video feed from the various cameras placed around the field. The umpire finds in favor of the bowling team and relays his report to the on-field umpire. There is jubilation on and off the pitch and the game of cricket continues.  

But, how did the audience, the umpire, and the commentators view the future path of the ball? 

This is the magic of Hawk-eye technology, a part of the Decision Review System (DRS) employed in every international cricket match. The DRS is a part of the technology that assists the third-umpire in cricket. 

The Hawk-eye technology used in cricket employs six different cameras positioned across the field to record the bowling speed, the line and length, and the swing information. The system also takes into account the shot speed and the intended shot trajectory. The software stitches these individual data points together and renders a final image that follows the ball after it has struck the batsman. 

The Hawk-eye technology is not without fault and has a 3.6-millimeter margin of error, which puritans believe should be much lower than the current technology. 

A controversial decision against India when they played South Africa in 2022 is one of the few instances where the eye-in-the-sky got it wrong. 

 

technology integration in cricket

 

Zing Wicket System: Bringing Zing to Cricket 

 

Have you ever noticed that when Dhoni stumps a batsman, the bails that fly off will be flashing in red? 

This relatively innocuous invention has transformed the way the third umpire utilises technology in cricket. 

The LED wickets, also known as the Zing wicket system, consists of a microprocessor within the bail that will light up in 1/1000th of a second when the bail gets dislodged from the stumps.

Before the introduction of the Zing wicket system umpires faced difficulties in assessing the validity of a run-out or a stumping claim. The clear indicators offered by the Zing bail system have improved the quality of decision-making by both on and off-field umpires. 

 

Ultra-Edge Technology: The Lines That Judge Victory or Defeat

 

A mainstay of any cricket match is the soundwave shown on-screen when the third umpires ascertain if the batsman touched the ball with their bat. This is the ultra-edge technology at play. 

The sound that the ball makes upon contact with the bat gets captured by a mic built into the stump. This sound is fed to an oscilloscope that translates the sound frequency into waves. 

When the bat strikes the ball, it produces a short burst of high-frequency sound. The third umpire uses ultra-edge technology to compare if this waveform matches the records of sample soundwaves. 

 

Hotspot Technology 

 

Technology in cricket is disproportionately used against the interests of the batsman and the hotspot technology is another example that follows the trend. 

Four infrared cameras placed on the pitch monitor the batsman. The cameras generate a heat map of the batsman to determine if the ball has made any contact with the bat, pads, or batsman. Contact is friction and it generates heat. 

This heat gets captured by the four cameras and gets relayed to the third umpire to help make a judgment on the veracity of the claims from the bowling side. 

 

PitchVision Technology 

 

Not every aspiring cricketer has access to world-class facilities and management staff who can spot their errors. And not every coach has access to a team of experts whose experience and knowledge improve the performance of the players. 

PitchVision has been designed and developed as a cost-effective solution to help teams around the world to train better athletes. 

PitchVision technology has two sets of cameras, one at either end of the crease to track the batsman and the bowler. It reads and relays information in real-time to a laptop or a mobile, allowing players to adjust and improve their strike rate or economy. PitchVision also has sensor-equipped pitches that can judge the deliveries and plot suggestions to improve the performance of the athlete.

 

Bat Sensors. Does Not Come with Echolocation 

 

Technology has also found its way into the cricket bat in the form of a sticker on the back of the bat or a sensor on top of it. AI in cricket has significantly improved the performance of players across the world. The sensors present on these bats record the angle of attack, the impact speed, bat speed, and the sweet spot, and generate a 360-degree 3D rendering of the shot taken. 

The sensor is connected, via Bluetooth, to a mobile application where players and the coaching staff will be able to view actionable reports about the strengths and weaknesses of the players. 

Novice players who do not have access to personal coaching can use these resources to work on their weaknesses and improve their strengths. The application of the bat sensor in their training regiment can significantly improve their chances of getting selected for a state team, IPL franchise team, or even the national team. 

 

Technology in Cricket 

 

The adoption of technology in cricket has increased over the last three decades. What was once limited to a wagon wheel that displayed a top-down view of shot placements, has now evolved to include applications that leverage the computing capabilities of cloud-based systems. 

From using cameras to judge the trajectory of a ball to using sensors on bats to improve performance, the technology used in cricket has seen widespread adoption by athletes and organisations alike. 

The technology used in the sport generates vast amounts of data. This data helps athletes improve their form and performance. Batsmen can use the data generated by a sensor on the bat to understand their angle of attack or help them improve their shot selection. Bowlers can use the data generated to fine-tune their bowling motion. Third umpires are using the technology deployed on the cricket fields to ensure a fair decision-making process. While teams and organisations can use the data to improve the dynamics of the entire team. 

Cricket teams hire data scientists and data analysts to help process this data and design better machine learning algorithms that will improve the competitive performance of the teams. 

Do patterns in numbers on-screen stand out to you while watching a cricket match? Are you someone who enjoys paying attention to details that are often overlooked? And, more importantly, do you love cricket? 

If yes, you must consider a career as a sports analyst. There are no prerequisites for becoming a sports analyst. 

Your academic background is irrelevant. Your age is not a barrier to entry. And, your lack of experience does not exclude you from becoming part of the workforce. 

To succeed as a data analyst or a data scientist, you only need one simple quality. Diligence. 

 

technology in cricket in 21st century

 

Skill-Lync will help you with the rest. 

Skill-Lync has designed a 24-month PG program in data analytics and data science for students like you. After enrolling in our program you will work on industry-recommended tools like Power BI, SQL, Tableau, Python, and MS Excel. 

MS Excel still remains the spreadsheet program of choice for recording and analysing data for sports teams around the world. Skill-Lync’s Post Graduate Program in Data Analytics and Data Science helps you train and develop your skillsets in MS Excel. You will learn how to use pivot tables and how to create reports using PowerQuery and VBA codes. 

If you have any queries that might arise while studying, our team of support engineers will be available to help you understand where you went wrong. 

The integration of technology and data in cricket is growing by leaps and bounds. IPL franchises and national teams around the world are seeking new talents as sports analysts to increase their success rates. 

With Skill-Lync you can work with your cricketing heroes while achieving your dream career in data science


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