Over the years as cricket grew into a high-stakes sport, technology continued to evolve and assist the neutral authorities overseeing the matches. Here are some of the tech innovations that not only helped transform the game completely but also made cricket more entertaining for the audience:
Milestone: Stump mic
Much before stump cameras came, stump mikes have been adding to the thrill of accessing the banter at the heart of all the action — the centre of the field. They were introduced in the late 1970s by Kerry Packer, the owner of Channel 9 that covered cricket in Australia. Packer wanted fans to hear the sounds of the game.
While the ball-tracking technology supports numerous sports, Hawk-Eye’s cricket technology has been used by host broadcasters at major Test, ODI and Twenty20 matches around the world since 2001. It was first used by Channel 4 during a Test match between England and Pakistan at Lord’s Cricket Ground, on May 2001. In 2008, it was approved for use by the ICC and added as part of the Decision Review System.
Milestone: Third Umpire
It was the advent of television and slow-motion replay that exposed the various mistakes of on-field umpires. In 1992, for the first time, world cricket witnessed an off-field Third Umpire or TV umpire, who could be consulted only for the disputed decisions: runouts, stumpings and boundaries. South African Karl Liebenberg was the first Third Umpire officiated in the South Africa vs India Test at Kingsmead, Durban.
Milestone: LED stumps and bails
Flashing stumps and bails are the latest additions to the game aimed at eliminating errors around touch and go cases during runouts and stumpings. Made by South Australian manufacturer Zing International, the system was first used in the 2012 edition of the Australian Big Bash League. In 2014, the ICC used it for the first time during the semi-finals and the final of the Under-19 Cricket World Cup in the UAE.
Milestone: Decision Review System (DRS)
The review system was first used by the International Cricket Council in 2008 in the India versus Sri Lanka Test match for reviewing controversial decisions of on-field umpires in declaring a batsman as ‘out’ or ‘not out’. After its success, in November 2009, the ICC officially launched it during the Test match between New Zealand and Pakistan in Dunedin.
Milestone: Hot Spot
Hot Spot is an infrared imaging system used in cricket to determine whether the ball has struck the batsman, bat or pad. It made its debut in the first Test match of the Ashes at The Gabba, on November 2006. In 2012, Melbourne-based BBG Sport introduced a new generation of Hot Spot using high-performance thermal imaging cameras. The technology is accurate but not widely used because it’s expensive — its fourcamera system costs around £7,500 every day.