A new variety of cricket ball, with an embedded microchip, could be the latest in the line of technological innovations used in the sport at the top level.
Dubbed the ‘SmartBall’, the high-tech innovation could be added to the list of attractions in the upcoming Big Bash League, according to AAP.
The ball is equipped with a tracker that immediately provides data on the delivery, including speed metrics at the release point, pre-bounce and post-bounce, while also calculating the revolutions of the ball at the aforementioned points.
England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler gave his thumbs-up to the technology, calling the replica “exactly the same” as a conventional ball.
“Absolutely [should be used for Tests],” he said, at the product launch inside the Lord’s indoor nets, alongside Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne and ex-quick Michael Kasprowicz. “It is fantastic to see the data in real time. It just gives you facts straightaway.”
“I think in the future it’ll be a great coaching tool and for viewership of the game as well, it’s amazing to see that instant feedback. It seems to behave exactly the same as a regular ball.”
Ball manufacturers Kookaburra, partnering with SportsCor, are also testing the revolutionary product, pushing the case for its usage at the international level.
Marnus Labuschagne and Jos Buttler try their hand at the Smart Ball – a design developers are hoping will be used in domestic T20 comps within the coming months! pic.twitter.com/oyUhHkrefn
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) August 10, 2019
The device could further help in umpiring decisions, specifically the Decision Review System [DRS], helping to determine the impact points of the ball in dubious cases of leg-before or bat-pad.
The Big Bash has been the pioneer of quirky advancements in the sport, having previously introduced the now-ubiquitous zing bails and helmet cameras for players and umpires. The latest advancement could further enhance the T20 league’s stocks, with instant ball data likely to be a great broadcasting tool for viewers.
Brisbane Heat’s Labuschagne, who made his Test for Australia last year, echoed Buttler’s sentiments.“It’s great technology. I remember when I was a kid, I had those old school speed balls. It was great. As a kid, you run in, you want to see how fast you’re bowling. This sort of feedback is amazing to have for professional cricketers.”