It’s said with great success comes great responsibility. That statement can prove how technology is not about electricity and transportation anymore. It now acts as the harbinger of change to build a sustainable solution. It is why tech companies in sports have shifted their focus from broadcasting and increasing the reach of games to something more comprehensive. Earlier, the approach was to bring in more players, teams, audiences, etc.; but now tech companies want to use innovative solutions. The onset of the 21st century marked the beginning of a digital era, and like every industry or organisation, the sports field is also changing. It’s not surprising that around 150 years back, the first radio broadcast happened in 1922 for a cricket match that has become one of the most viewed sports in the world. Technology has digitised every sport, not only cricket. It’s no surprise that things like- booking match tickets online, watching live matches, getting online coaching classes and buying cricket equipment online has become the new trends today. The current focus of technology in cricket is to enhance fan engagement by enabling a better experience with more credibility, connectivity, and enjoyment of the game for the audience. Here’s a list of innovative tech solutions that help amplify the fan experience!
Before we start, let us understand the crux of how cricket uses technology. For example, your parents or grandparents must know how wrong umpire decisions attracted criticism from fans and players. One error from the umpire’s side can change the outcome of a cricket match. To minimise the scope of errors in decision-making, a decision review system(DRS) was brought in. DRS filled the void that conventional methods could never fill. DRS works with the help of technologies like:
Snicko or Edge detection
It uses sound frequencies to detect if the ball touched the bat before the fielding team caught it.
BBG sports introduced this technology to cricket in the 2006 Ashes series using only two infrared cameras. The mechanism here is simple when the ball hits any batsman’s equipment. It generates localised heat in that area because of friction between the object and the region. This area will then be displayed as a white spot on infrared images, which helps the third umpire decide.
It is commonly referred to as hawk-eye innovation as it uses six cameras placed at different locations in the ground to cover the trajectory path of the ball. With the visualisations recovered from this technique, the umpire takes LBW decisions, and it also helps in presenting ball pitch maps and wagon wheel information.
Zing Bails 2013 introduced LED bails to cricket. The design was such that bails would glow when dislodged from the stumps. The bails have an in-build microprocessor that detects the time contact is lost between the bails and the stumps. It helps umpires take run-out decisions very quickly, and the presence of LEDs also adds a surprise element for the audience in night matches.
Apart from these, other technologies make cricket games an enjoyable and connectable game like bird’s-eye view, flying cameras, player and game graphics, etc. all these add a fun quotient to viewers through the creative presentation and analysis of data. Many companies are working to bring innovation to the cricket field and make the cricket experience better. For instance, power shot analysis offers real-time feedback on a batsman’s performance with metrics like impact location, bat speed, the power behind the shot, etc. therefore, technology has transformed cricket as a game for players, umpires, audiences, and fans.
There is also a change in the buying pattern of cricket players who now go for customised cricket equipment to improve their game. Custom made cricket bats allow a player to play his/her game more efficiently.