A Closer Look at the Technology That is Used in Cricket

Technology is taking over, so it comes as no surprise to see it being used in a range of different sports. Technology can be used to help eliminate human error that might have gone on to have a drastic impact on the result. If you are new to cricket, you might want to find out more about the Decision Review System (DRS). We will explain all there is to know below.

A Quick Look at the DRS System

In cricket, the DRS was introduced in order to give batsmen and the fielding captain a chance to review what they believe to be errors by the umpires.

When a review is used, the third umpire is called into action. He will review footage to check whether a no-ball was bowled, whether the ball hit the edge of the bat, whether the ball would go on to hit the stumps, and whether it pitched in line. After taking everything into consideration, he must then decide whether the on-field umpire made the correct decision or not.

The number of reviews available to a team will vary depending on the format that is being played. In test cricket, each team gets two reviews, which are reset after every 80 overs. When it comes to limited overs cricket, each team gets one review per innings.

So What Technology is Used for DRS?

Below we are going to try and explain to you the different technology that has been used to help make the DRS successful.

Snickometer

The technology used for the snickometer was created by Allan Plaskett in 1990. It combines visual and sound evidence to determine whether the batsman has hit the ball or not. It is particularly useful when it comes to bat-pads, LBW appeals, and caught behinds.

One of the stumps has a microphone that picks up sound, filters it out, sends it to an oscilloscope, which then tracks the sound waves. While all of that is happening, the cameras record the footage and replay the action in slow motion.

If the ball has hit the bat, there will be a sharp spike when the ball passes by the bat. If the ball touches a glove, there will be a flatter spike. If the ball has not touched anything on its way past the batsman, the line will remain completely flat. The umpire then uses what he sees to decide whether the on-field umpire has made the correct decision.

Ultra Edge

This is similar to the snickometer as it also makes use of a stump mic and camera footage, but it is deemed to be more accurate because the technology that is used is better.

Like with the snickometer, if the ball touches the bat or the glove on the way past the batsman, a discernible line will appear on the graph. The third umpire will be able to slow everything down in order to see whether the sound occurred when the ball passed the bat or the glove or whether it hit a pad or a piece of clothing.

Hot Spot

This piece of technology was invented by Nicholas Bion and was used for the very first time in Australia. Two cameras are placed on opposite sides of the field that record the action and provide infra-red images.

The idea behind this piece of technology is that when the ball hits the bat friction occurs, which increases the temperature where the ball hit. The place of impact then appears as a bright white spot when viewed in infra-red.

Hot Spot is better than Snicko as the former gives a clear indication that the ball has hit the bat. With Snicko, a spike on the graph could be caused by the batsman hitting the ground, his shoe, or his pad.

The downside to this technology though is that it is very expensive, making it very difficult to use it in all cricket matches. In fact, may cricket boards do not use this technology due to how expensive it is.

Hawk-Eye

This piece of technology was created by Dr. paul Hawkins and is used in other sports such as tennis and football. In cricket, Hawk-eye is used to determine whether the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps.

Six cameras are needed, with three placed at both ends of ground. These cameras record every single delivery and the visuals that they record are sent to the computers that are attached to them. The technology can then be used to see whether the ball was going on to hit the stumps and whether it pitched in line.

Technology is Not Yet Perfect

The technology being used helps make sure that fewer human errors are made, but the technology is not 100% perfect. This is why if the technology shows that less than half of the ball is going to hit the stumps or pitched in line, then the decision will remain with the on-field umpire. If he originally gave the batsman out, the decision will stand, and if he originally gave the batsman not out the decision will also stand. This is known as “Umpire’s Call” and the team that reviewed will not lose one of their reviews. There will always be disputable calls in sports, but technology is helping to eliminate obvious umpire howlers.