Let us discuss in a bit more detail about the latest technologies that created a major impact on the game since their introduction.
The introduction of The Third Umpire
The introduction of Third Umpire is no doubt the most acceptable technology that has a major positive impact on the game. The third umpire in international cricket sits outside the ground in front of television sets and can make a proper judgment of decisions referred to him by the on field umpires. Initially the third umpire was used to call for correct decision in stumping and run outs only. But, now they can be called for other areas like checking no balls, checking disputes over boundaries and catches. This introduction has really reduced a lot of umpiring errors that bound to happen in naked eye. So, it has a lot of positive impact on the game by increasing the chance of fare decisions.
DRS or the Decision Review System
This is the next big technological advances that cricket saw after the introduction of third umpire. The Decision Review System allows the players to challenge the decision of the on field umpires (two in test matches and one on ODIs and T20s). Both the fielding team and the batsman can use the system when a batsman has been ruled out or not out by the on field umpires. The system then uses the technologies available through the broadcasting company to evaluate the decision. The third umpire monitors the decision. It was first introduced in 2008 in the series between India and Sri Lanka. This system is not full proof and not at all error free. India is strongly against the use of this system because of its error prone nature, especially regarding LBW decisions where the path of the ball is often not detected in the right manner. Moreover, it hampers the flow of the game and sometimes it takes too long to come to a decision as often the replays are not conclusive enough.
The Technologies usually used in DRS are:-
Hawk eye – A computer generated assumption of the path of the cricket ball after it gets released from the hand of the bowler. This technology is used to review the LBW decisions since 2001 by the commentators and now used in DRS.
Snick-o-Meter – This device is composed of an extremely sensitive microphone to catch the minute sound produced by the surroundings. It is located on the stumps and can be helpful in determining whether there is a nick or not for close catching incidents. It can be further used to detect the involvement of any bat in LBW decisions.
Hot Spot – A thermal imaging technology that can differentiate the heat difference. So, when the ball hits something, i.e. bat or pad, the heat generated because of the impact can be viewed through hot spot technology and therefore will give a clear idea about the impact. This helps in detecting nicks for close catching calls and LBW decisions similar to what Snick-o-Meter does.
All the above technologies are not foolproof and often generated controversies. But, overall they actually helped in minimizing the human errors that bound to happen.
Apart from helping in the reduction of umpiring errors technology also helped the spectators and players through intense statistical analysis of every situation in a cricket match. Ball-by ball analysis helps the spectator to understand the game better and also creates additional interest. The players get highly benefited as they can analysis their strong points and point of weakness and also that of the opposition players. So, overall technology is definitely a boon to modern cricket that enhanced the game in every sense.