The Asia Cup is upon us once again and the whole nation is gripped with cricket mania. Five teams from the continent are taking part in this year’s tournament which is being held in Bangladesh for the third consecutive time.
Over the last couple of years, cricket has incorporated new technologies to minimize umpiring errors and improve quality of coverage. These new technologies are used in varying degrees and their implementation is often subject to financial constraints of the individual cricket boards. The most up-to-date technologies are usually reserved for ICC tournaments although we get to see some of them used in other less-hyped tournaments.
Here’s a small review of the latest technologies that are being used in cricket.
Commonly known as Sniko, the technology is used in televising Cricket to graphically analyse sound and video and show the noise frequency to find out whether the ball touched the bat before going to the fielder. If there is a sound of leather on willow, which is usually a short sharp sound in synchrony with the ball passing the bat, then the ball has touched the bat. Other sounds such as the ball hitting the batsman’s pads, or the bat hitting the pitch, and so on, tend to have a fatter shape on the sound waveform. However, this technology is used when the ground umpires refers to the third umpire.
The Snicko was not considered accurate enough, hence the Hot Spot was introduced to supplant the older technology. It is an infra-red imaging system used to determine where the ball has struck before going to the fielder. The infra-red image shows a bright spot where contact friction from the ball has raised the temperature. The Hot Spot is very useful when judging LBWs. Often, small inside edges can skip the viewing and hearing faculties of the umpire and that’s when Hot Spot can be of real use.
This technology is widely used in popular sports like Cricket, Tennis, Soccer and Hurling for visually tracking the ball and displays a record of its projected path through movie image. The technology works via six or seven powerful cameras, normally positioned on the underside of the stadium roof, which track the ball from different angles. The video from the six cameras is then triangulated and combined to create a three-dimensional representation of the trajectory of the ball.
The SpiderCam enables film and television cameras to move both vertically and horizontally over a fixed area, typically the playing field of a sporting event such as a cricket pitch. The SpiderCam operates with four motorised winches positioned at each corner at the base of the covered area, each of which controls a Kevlar cable connected to a gyro-stabilised camera-carrier.
The Speed Gun is used to measure the speed of the ball from one end of the pitch to the other. The technology allows calculating the speed of bowler’s delivery. Implemented first in 1999, the speed gun gets mounted on a pole and is positioned next to the sight screen. The device relays a beam from the radar head to detect movement across the entire length of the pitch.
Using LED technology, the Bail glows once the ball struck the wicket/bail or the wicketkeeper whips off the bails. The bails pack a microprocessor and sensor in each bail along with a low voltage battery to determine if the wicket is broken in one thousand fraction of a second.