Friday, March 13, 2015

Technology a big boost for Cricket

From many years technology has been an integral part of Cricket. First instance when we saw technology being used in Cricket was way back in 1992 when 3rd umpire was given the responsibility to decide run out decisions based on Television replays. No doubt that over the years popularity of Cricket on TV has resulted in introduction of new technologies. We fans have also played an important role in increasing viewership rate of Cricket on TV.

Now talking about technology used in Cricket world cups. Before 2011 world cup only run out decisions were referred to 3rd umpire even though technology such as snicko meter and hawk eye were there from early 2000's and Decision Review System was being used in many bilateral tournaments. Hot Spot has also been there since 2006. Main reason for not using wide range of technology in 2003 and 2007 world cup was the doubt on authenticity of these new methods. We know that nothing is perfect in this world and technology used in Cricket might be imperfect but it eliminates error in a big way.

Hawkeye has made LBW decision making very easy. It tells us about the path and direction of the ball after it strikes the pads. There is a controversy on whether it keeps in mind the original bounce & spin or not which is different at different venues but then again using Hawkeye helps in avoiding howlers. For eg - If a ball is going down the leg side by a long way and umpire gives it out because he saw the follow through of the batsman ending on middle stump. This is a big mistake but Hawkeye corrects this immediately.

Snicko meter which is being used in 2015 world cup has already made big headlines as we have seen many decisions being over turned. Snicko meter helps the 3rd umpire in recognizing whether the ball has hit the bat or not. In the past we have seen many edges not being recognized due to crowd voice or a confusion on whether the ball hit the pad , sleeve or any protective guard. Many batsmen got advantage of this & they remained not out but now they are easily given out. Correct decisions in major tournament like world cup changes fortunes of many teams which is good for Cricket. We get to see the deserving team win and there is no blame on umpires.

Hot spot is another technology but a bit costly to use. Broadcasters are hesitant to use this but it is another gem of a technique to find out if a batsman has edged the ball or not. On TV we get to see X ray type of pictures which shows a yellow spot if the ball has struck the bat. It is amazing because it helps in detecting even the tiniest of edges. Hot spot is not being used in 2015 world cup but sooner it will be introduced in upcoming world cups because it has been successful till now in many test series held in Australia and England.

In 2014 T20 world cup we saw lights getting illuminated in stumps as soon as the ball hit or the wicket keeper touched it. We have come to the same point where it all started as we are now giving extra help for run out decisions being made from TV replays which were introduced in 1992. After 1992 there was always a confusion on whether the bails were out of the groove or not when the bat came inside the crease. Now with stumps getting illuminated we have a clear cut opinion on run outs.

Technology will keep improving and we would surely get to see some more innovations in Cricket soon. There will be some errors as well but we should be rest assured that technology is helping this game and leaving no stone unturned in making it bigger. In other sports such as Hockey , Tennis and Football technology is used regularly. Similarly there should be no hesitancy or worry in using it in Cricket. With every new technology being used we are taking a step forward. Cricket is now not only a game but oxygen for many fans. Fans get very attached and want to see correct decisions being made. Players also want the same.

As they say its never over in Cricket till the last ball is bowled and I would like to say for technology that its use is never over till the right decision is made.