Technology in Cricket
In collaboration with Cricket Ireland
The world of sport is constantly evolving through the presence of technology. Cricket is no different.
Over the past number of years, we have seen many different changes to the game of cricket both on and off the field. These changes have enabled player enhancement, better decision making and a fairer end result. However, do you know how these technologies have been enabled? Cricket Ireland have been delighted to have Hanley Energy as their Technology Partner for the last five years and as their full women’s team sponsor for the last four years. Hanley Energy plays an integral role in the development of technology in sport, but you might wonder how?
In the last decade, technology in cricket has become more and more prevalent. The main difference is that of the decision review system (DRS), which has been implemented at international level. This system allows each team to challenge the umpire’s views on a decision – and allow technology to decide whether the decision is correct or not. Despite there being a bit of initial resistance to this technology when it was introduced back in 2009, it is now a regular fixture across all men’s international games and some women’s international games.
Former Irish Cricket Captain, Alan Lewis said:
“Overall in cricket, it has been a fantastic addition to the game. The technology to show direct hit run-outs to be out, when to the naked eye – they did not look out. The players have become used to the technology and know how it will work for them and against them when making their reviews. In my playing days, it was a case of taking the rough with the smooth with umpire decisions. Now, players can have that option to review if they want to.”
The technology comprises features such as hawk-eye, hotspot and snicko to allow us view the sounds off the bat and observe the ball tracking of each delivery. This has been groundbreaking for the game as it has allowed players and teams to get the reprieve they may deserve for an incorrect decision.
ITW Consulting is a broadcaster for Cricket Ireland. They said:
“Technology has gone from being a curiosity to an integral part of the game. This has helped the viewer experience also. The viewer receives richer graphics, more angles and a customisation to watch bite size highlights, milestones or big plays whenever they want.”
Hanley Energy is Cricket Ireland’s Technology Partner and they have been growing from strength to strength over the last decade. Hanley Energy serves hyper-scale data centres worldwide and through the uptake on digitalisation throughout every sector – the demand for cloud computing has grown. This has allowed Hanley Energy to grow their business, where they provide the energy for data centres to allow quick and reliable technology to take place. This can be seen globally in many different spheres including sport. How we see the technology of hawk-eye or hotspot on a cricket pitch can often be narrowed down to a data centre which Hanley Energy are providing the energy for. The technology needed for players to observe matches back and analyse their own games is also powered from these same data centres.
Laura Delany, current captain of the Irish Women’s International team commented on the beneficial nature of new technology in the game:
“Sometimes you can think that you’re doing something in your head and then you look back on it – and it is completely different to what you thought. To be able to compare and contrast between training and match situations is crucial. Having the ability of a speed gun (to measure the pace of each ball) at training, is imperative for us to improve our batting before facing better standards of teams.”
The DRS system has proved to be an excellent addition to the game and similar in a lot of ways to the Television Match Official (TMO) in rugby or Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in football. Both these systems strive for the correct decisions to be made and therefore for the sport to run in the most fluid way possible. However, the multiple angles that these decisions are made with, are provided through the use of data centres – allowing for the correct decisions to be made and thus the sport becoming a fairer environment to play in.
New technology in the game has also been a massive factor in player improvement – something that is echoed by the current international players. Harry Tector, current Ireland batsman said: “I think it’s so important when it comes to training. When I’m working on something very technical in training – I will get someone to video it and I will sit down and analyse with coaches. I like to use all the technology we have available when I have the chance.”
Laura Delany added:
“We spent April, May and June analysing all the teams we are going to be playing in our tour to Sri Lanka. Each week we would have a video footage session. It was great to have the time and resources to go through the strengths and weaknesses for every team and to look at how we can adapt our game. It allows for more focused training sessions and enhances player improvement as a result.”
In reflection to his own days, Alan Lewis commented that:
“I would have loved to have played with the technology around these days. I was a highly analytical player and it would have been brilliant to have that access!”
In the current times we live in, spectators are not allowed to attend matches in Ireland – for any sport. This was the case throughout the summer when the Irish international team played games away to England and when the domestic Interprovincial series was being played in Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Derry. With the lack of supporters allowed, there has been an increased clamour into the needs of live streaming games going forward. Cricket Ireland have been aware of this matter.
ITW Consulting is a provider of streaming services and they said: “The live broadcast is still a big deal, but even then, not everyone watches the entire broadcast of sporting events these days. The future belongs to the concept of hybridization. Sports branding is consumed two ways – on ground branding that appears on TV during the telecast of the event and on-air branding that appears as a part of the event telecast. The overall broadcast is imperative to modern day streaming and modern day cricket.”
COVID 19 has brought about changes to the world of cricket and sport. However, luckily in Ireland, the international players have been allowed to proceed as elite athletes. Harry Tector said:
“We are still able to be in the gym and training everyday. Training has been going really well – thankfully we haven’t been too affected by the virus.”
These thoughts were echoed by Laura Delany, who said:
“We have been fortunate to remain training but it is all one to one at the moment. We can still make great use of the technology and the great facilities we have.”
With the current restrictions on attending matches in Ireland being so strict – the increased amount of technology to stream games is bigger than it has ever been. “We have already seen innovations especially in the digital medium, and it’s likely that sports consumption is going to skew even more digital now,” said ITW Consulting. This will add to the amount of technology required within the game – and thus, making Hanley Energy a more sought after business and brand.
Hanley Energy is aware of the changes in the world and are seeking to be one step ahead of the game with their advancements. They commented:
“We are under no illusion that what we design and build today, will undergo advancements in technology over the next 5 years. It’s vital to recognise this, reinvest in our people and technology and to stay ahead of the demand curve.”
Hanley Energy have been a proud supporter of Irish Cricket and have grown in size and stature during that time. They have headquarters in Ireland with three state of the art manufacturing sites, spanning 60,000 Square feet. Innovation is central to everything that the company does. They also have a dedicated, future-spaced facility named the ‘Global Competence Centre’ near Dublin. This is where they can build and test new products and technology before releasing them to the market.
– written by Andrew Blair White