We have seen technology in all its multi-faceted forms in cricket. Whether it is the stump microphone which allows the viewers to hear sledging going on in the middle or heat-trapping cameras used for identifying snicks, called Hotspot.
But now, the intervention of technology in cricket is going to reach an even higher level with the Australian ball manufacturing company Kookaburra all set to unveil a new type of cricket balls which will have microchips embedded in them. These will not only help in understanding the flight and trajectory of the ball better, but also help out umpires in tricky situations such as figuring out whether the batsman got an edge on the ball or whether a catch was taken cleanly or not.
These new type of balls may have their first outing during the Big Bash League in near future. If passed by the relevant authorities, these new specimens of high-technology would revolutionise decision-making process by the umpires. The evidence collected through these technological aids would be so minute and accurate that no room would be left for any doubt.
However, that isn't the only big advantage of having micro-chips on the ball. It may also provide such insights as would help the players recognise their game better and improve it. The only problem, when it comes to making such balls common at the international level, would be the fact that only Kookaburra is currently in the process of making them. For such balls to become international, companies like SG and Dukes also need to embed microchips in their products.
But then, there might be copyright issues that could play spoilsport. This unique cricket equipment has been developed by Kookaburra along with a company called SportsCor – former Aussie fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz is currently its chairman.
With every new kind of ball, all sorts of issues come up that need to be sorted. When the pink cricket ball was being introduced for day-night tests, there were several concerns and later, complaints which had to be looked in to. The manufacturers have to make sure that not only are their new products sustainable but also do not adversely affect the quality of the game. The pink balls were initially criticised for swinging too much but have now been considerably improved.
Hence, before balls with embedded chips become the norm in international cricket, they will have to undergo numerous trials and tests. Only when everyone is convinced that the chips are not causing any unwarranted changes in the behaviour of the ball, will it be accepted at the top level.