We all love watching & playing cricket! Don’t We?
But have we ever wondered that every cricket match ever played wouldn’t have been complete without the Umpires. The umpires play a very crucial role in the game as they decide so many things like valid/invalid deliveries, counting of balls bowled, counting the runs, taking decisions for the appeals and much more. It’s quite intriguing that what are the devices and latest technologies that aid the umpires in making the right decisions?
This article explains you about the devices that are used by the on field umpires and the technologies used by the third umpire for a conducting a fair game & correct decision making during a cricket match.
Devices used by the On-field Umpires
1. Cricket Umpire Counter: This is a device that the umpire uses for counting. The device can count Balls, Overs and Wickets. It is designed as per the palm of a hand and its quite handy. It can count up-to 99 overs. The umpire has to rotate the wheels on the counter to change the number and keep track of the balls, wickets and overs.
2. Walkie-Talkies: Walkie-Talkies are (Wireless Communication Devices) available with both the on field umpires to communicate with the third umpire in terms of consulting in difficult circumstances while making a decision. These are very necessary as the third umpire can convey important decisions regarding boundaries, no-balls, run-outs etc.
3. Marbles: Before the invention of the Cricket Umpire Counter, earlier the umpires used to have a set of 6 coins, stones or marbles that they used for counting the balls in an over. The traditional method is to move one stone from one hand to another after a ball has been bowled. When you have 6 stones in one hand that means the over has been completed.
4. Umpires Light Meter: The Megatron Umpires Lightmeter (ULM) is a compact accurate digital instrument originally designed to indicate lighting levels on the cricket field. The reading can be taken directly, or using the HOLD position on the ON/OFF switch. "Bad light" is usually offered to the batsman at a figure of about 3.5.
Technologies used in Media & Commentary Box:
- Hawk-Eye: This technology is used by third umpires only when the DRS is issued challenging the decision of the on field umpire. Hawk-Eye is a complex computerized system that determines the trajectory of the ball.
The Hawk-eye referral for LBW decision is based on three criteria:
- Where the ball pitched
- The location of impact with the leg of the batsman
- The projected path of the ball past the batsman
This is majorly used by the television networks to show the audience the trajectory of the ball in a much detailed manner
- Snick-o-meter: The Snick-o-meter is often used in a slow motion television replay by the third umpire to determine if the cricket ball touched the cricket bat on the way through to the wicketkeeper. There is a small mic inside one of the stumps which records minute sounds made by the collision of the bat with ball, or the ball with pad, or the ball with the ground. The decision can be made by analyzing the type of pattern produced by the snick-o-meter, if it’s a sharp and high spike in the pattern it indicated that the ball hit the bat, if there is a thick spike in the pattern it indicates that the ball might have hit the pad or the ground.
Note: The accuracy of the snick-o-meter is still under questioning. Hence the umpires do not get the benefit of snick-o-meter while making the decision and they have to rely on their own senses of hearing and sight to make the close calls.
- Hot-Spot: Hot-Spot is an infra-red imaging system. It requires two infrared cameras to be placed on opposite sides of the ground, and above the field of play. They continuously record images and help determine whether the ball made contact with the ball or not. It usually shows a bright white spot where the contact friction from the ball increases the temperature. Where referrals to an off-field third umpire are permitted, the technology is used to enhance the on-field umpire's decision-making accuracy. Where referrals are not permitted, the technology is used primarily as an analysis aid for televised coverage
- TV-Replays: The most important technology for the third umpire to make the correct decisions. The third umpire uses the instant TV-Replays to have a close looks on the run-outs, stumping, boundaries, catches that are very difficult to judge by the naked eye etc.
We have covered a few technologies in this article which related to the decision making. But there are more technologies relating to the camera angles such as Spider-Cam, Slow Motion & 360 Degree View etc., for the better viewing of the game for the cricket lovers. We will cover those technologies in the next version of the article.
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