Technology On The Cricket Pitch
“Yes, Hawk-Eye confirms that the ball is just missing the off stump, so the umpire was right in giving the Not Out decision,” said Ravi Shastri, ex-cricketer and well known television commentator, while commenting on a cricket match for a national TV audience Microsoft MCTS Training.

Hawk-Eye, the computer system used to track the path of the cricket ball, was first introduced in 2001. It uses computer software to combine the view from six or more cameras to construct a three dimensional representation of the cricket ball’s path. So when the ball hits the batsman’s pads, it predicts how the ball would have continued to travel had it not hit the pads. Today, it is used to enhance the viewing experience for television audiences. While the umpire’s decision is final, commentators use Hawk-Eye’s prediction to evaluate LBW decisions and provide technical analysis.

Bowling analysis

Increasingly, the virtual strip pops up on the television screen, to show the ball’s motion and a ball pitch map. A computer rendering of the pitch is made where every ball is mapped from the real field to the computer rendered field. It now becomes possible to compare every ball with other balls in the over and in the match. Bowler-level statistics can then be aggregated to show where a bowler has been pitching the ball. Similarly, for the batsman, an aggregated view of his shots, the wagon wheel, is shown.

Most of the technology in cricket has been introduced by broadcasters to enhance the viewing pleasure for television audiences Microsoft MCITP Certification.

The speed gun

Statistics like bowling speed, measured using a speed gun, are of great interest to viewers. A speed gun uses radar technology to measure how radio waves are reflected by the ball, as it travels through the air after leaving the bowler’s hand; and the speed is immediately displayed on our TV screens.

The eyes and ears of the stump!

The ‘Stump Vision’ camera was another innovative use of technology that made its entry in the late 1990s. A small camera is fitted on the stump, connected using an underground wire, to give a stump-level view of the playing field.

{quotes}The snick-o-meter is used to determine whether the ball had hit the bat, in contentious caught-behind decisions.{/quotes} A stump mike picks up all the sounds in the vicinity. Audio processing software is used to analyse the sounds that this mike picks up. Ambient noise (like crowd noise) is cancelled out from the sound picked up by this mike, to highlight relevant sounds like faint nicks of the ball on the bat.

These are technologies that we have all become familiar with. And television broadcasters are looking at yet newer technologies that can enhance the kind of technical analysis provided to the viewers.

Imperfect technology

Like all computer technology, the aids used in cricket too can make mistakes. Hawk-Eye, for all the numerous cameras it uses, can still be incorrect. Pitches have uneven bounce, the amount of spin imparted to the ball cannot be measured by cameras, there is ball movement through the air; so even though Hawk-Eye tracks the ball through the 18 or so yards before it hits the batsman’s pads, it can still make errors in predicting the trajectory through the remaining distance before hitting the stumps.

Similarly, the snick-o-meter can pick up sounds other than the ball hitting the bat– like the boot movement (of the batsman or keeper), pads rubbing etc. Even the speed gun is not totally accurate. For example, the ball speed when it reaches the batsman can be different from when the ball was dispatched by the bowler.