Cricket, that slow steeped in tradition game, is probably one of the most enthusiastic users of modern technology in any of today’s popular sports. International Cricket willingly adopted and introduced the ‘Third Umpire’, his role is to assist and supplement the two umpires who are positioned on the pitch. All the umpires are fully qualified and use wireless technology to consult with each other, The Third Umpire sits off the pitch with access to TV, which replays certain situations that can develop during the game. The kind of decisions he assists in are, catches which are in dispute and boundary decisions, he is also asked to make decisions on ‘run outs’, this he will do without needing to consult the other two umpires.
These ‘tech’ systems were first tested in 2008 in a Test Series between Sri Lanka and India. Players are allowed to challenge the on field umpire’s decisions and it is then referred to the Third Umpire known as the TV Official. Teams are limited to three unsuccessful appeals per innings, only the batsman who is directly affected by the umpire’s decision or the captain of the fielding side can make the challenge. The challenge is made by making a ‘T’ sign with both forearms at shoulder height. The Third umpire uses the ‘hot spot’ and slow motion replays, viewed at different angles, to make his decision.
The major problem associated with the use of this technology is the pressure it creates for umpires and the time the whole process can take. It has also been noted that players can and do make silly challenges towards the end of the innings. There are other technologies available that would help in cricket but to date the authorities have yet to integrate them into the sport. The ‘Hawk Eye’ system was invented for Cricket in 2001, it shows the path of the cricket ball and is widely used by TV Cricket commentators all over the globe although it has yet to be officially approved. Snick O Meter, which is a highly sensitive microphone, located in one of the stumps, can pick up the sound when the ball nicks the bat, it is used by the TV companies to show the audience at home whether the ball hit the bat or not, the authorities have yet to authorise this tech for use in the game. It’s not possible to ‘put the genie back in the bottle’ and most sports fans and players welcome these new systems which help to eliminate the guesswork from difficult decisions.
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