(iStock)
(iStock)

Opinion | Cricket’s charm

Already, a host of sensors are being used in the game, but the SmartBall promises to take electronic decision-making to another level

Cricket is a gentleman’s game. Think of the dignified figure of an umpire letting a bowler run his way up and pitch a ball at a batsman. Now imagine if this gentleman’s role is given to a computer chip, one planted in the core of the ball sent whizzing through the air. Australia’s sports equipment maker Kookaburra has joined hands with SportCor, a technology firm, to develop what it calls a SmartBall, a chip-loaded one, that can transmit all sorts of data live, from the speed of its motion and revolutions, pre-bounce and after, to the slightest snick. Sound analysis will no longer be needed for tricky decisions, let alone an umpire’s judgement.

Already, a host of sensors are being used in the game, but the SmartBall promises to take electronic decision-making to another level. It would even know if a ball scooped off the grass for a catch had touched the ground or not. But would the game retain its charm if on-field umpires are turned redundant? That’s not clear. Their quirks and follies are as much part of the game as the strategies of teams or vagaries of the weather. No doubt, technology would ensure accuracy, but it could also take some of the fun out of cricket.

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