With more fans getting emotionally invested in cricket and wrong umpiring calls leading to severe backlashes from the crowd, it was a matter of time before cricket turned to technology in order to define the blurry margins.
To be fair, relying solely on the eyes of on-field umpires to read the trajectory of the ball impeccably and hear the slightest of knocks were unrealistic expectations to begin with, which ran for decades. Hence, the advent of third-umpire in 1992 wasn’t a gradual coincidence in cricket, but a desperate need of the hour. In 2023, for ODI World Cup Betting also, the accuracy helps.
This involved the use of multiple cameras watching the game from various angles with an extra umpire, other than the two on-field umpires, getting to see the instant recorded footage numerous times before making the correct decision. As a consequence, multiple wrong run-outs that were otherwise dismissed as close calls, started to get reversed, thus resulting in fair outcomes.
Top 5 Technological Improvements
With technology improving the game every match, cricket’s world body soon opened up to trying newer tools. Below we list the technologies that cricket uses today.
Even with third umpire’s intervention, close nicks were almost impossible to deduce that necessitated the invention of Snickometer. Introduced in 1999, this technology can successfully make out if the ball has nicked or brushed against the edge of a bat’s blade even at the slightest of touches.
- This technology was later evolved to become Ultra-Edge, where stump mics were used to catch sound of ball brushing against the bat.
- Whenever a ball hits the bat, pad or the gloves, it makes a sound of a certain frequency that is detected by this technology.
- Ultra-edge was a roaring success in cricket and is still used in international competitions like bilateral series and other ICC events.
The accuracy of LBW decisions was a raging debate in cricket for over a century before Dr. Paul Hawkins invented a technology that uses as many as six cameras to study the trajectory of a ball when it is in the air.
- With batters not allowed to prevent the ball from hitting the stumps using their pad, successfully concluding the line and length of the ball before its impact on the pads was a milestone achievement in cricket.
- Hawk-eye was popularly introduced in Tennis in 2000 to eliminate close calls, before Cricket adapted it a year later.
Going hand in hand with Hawk-eye is Hotspot that was introduced in 2006. This technology uses an infra-red imaging system to figure out the exact impact of the ball on the bat or pad.
- The process involves sensing and measuring the heat generated from the friction from the ball’s impact to give an impeccable outcome.
- Apart from concluding LBW decisions, this technology is also used to measure the accuracy of a hit by flashing on screen the bat’s area that is connected with the ball.
4. Ball Spin RPM
Though not used in most matches, the Ball Spin RPM (Revolution Per Minute) was introduced during the 2013 Ashes series that could count how many revolutions the ball made after it was released by the spinners. This technology used a high-speed camera to capture it.
5. Front-foot Technology
Yet another technology that went a long way to keep the game fair was the front-foot technology. This technology lets the third-umpires check the fair landing of a bowler’s front-foot for a fair delivery and communicate its legality with the field umpire after every ball.
Interestingly, technology in modern day cricket isn’t just limited to making correct decisions but has also enriched the experience for fans watching the game on TV. Innovations like the Spider cam or the Drone camera today allow viewers to have a 360 degree view of the match.
Batsman wearing helmet cams have been one of the latest inclusions that let viewers experience a batsman’s point-of-view against the world-class bowlers.
Apart from them, analysts and coaches have used technology to improve batting and bowling as well as read their opponents. Using real time cameras to provide instant feedback has improved training by 100x resulting in players to hone their skill in less than half the time it took two decades ago.
Former Indian bowler Anil Kumble founded Spektacom, which can track batsmen’s movements and store data like bat speed, power and position of impact for future use. Other than these, other technological innovations used in training purposes are pitch vision, bowling machine and others.