Technology has long ago taken over cricket and although skills still play a major role in how the game run, technology has enhanced it. It has made the game more attractive and available for enthusiastic fans. The next step for technological evolution in cricket is perhaps the smart ball, which Australian ball manufacturer Kookaburra is currently working on. The report claims that the ball will be known as Kookaburra’s Smart Ball and has been in development for the last two years. SmartBall, New Microchipped Cricket Ball to Assist Umpiring and Decision Review System (DRS) Process in Future.
“Kookaburra has been at the forefront of innovation in cricket, from the first-ever white balls used under lights in World Series Cricket, through to the pink balls now used for day/night Tests,” Kookaburra managing director Brett Elliot was quoted as saying at the launching event of Kookaburra. “The logical next step is to combine the data and analytics side of cricket that is becoming so critical to players, coaches and fans, with our traditional style of hand-making cricket balls.”
Smart Micro-Chipped Cricket Ball
The red Kookaburra ball will look, feel and move as any normal cricket ball with a microchip installed in the ball’s innermost layer. Like any other cricket ball, the Kookaburra micro-chipped ball will be a small round object in shape with rubber and layer added over a spherical shape.
Kookaburra Introduces New Smart Ball
The Kookaburra SmartBall is here.
It looks, feels and moves the same way as a regular Kookaburra cricket ball, but collects and communicates instant statistical data on revolutions, speed.
— Kookaburra Cricket (@KookaburraCkt) August 12, 2019
Chips inserted inside the red ball can transmit information to a smartwatch, phone or any other app. Fans will, therefore, be given more information about delivery and its trajectory immediately after the delivery is bowled. From the normal speed of the ball to the speed at the time of release or the degree it turned, dipped, swung and bounced. That will be more information than the regular details that can be ascertained.
The trajectory of the ball will help the umpires while using the decision review system (DRS) by showing if the ball had exactly hit the bat or the grass. It will also help the umpires in deciding a catch that may be too low or too close to decide.
The benefits of the ball is, however, just one side to it and it is expected to face several challenges once it is put to use. The longevity of the ball is already being questioned as is the longevity of the chip. Whether the ball can endure the unlimited bashing it will get at the hands of the batsmen and still continue to perform is a big question for the manufacturers to answer. The cost of the ball will also raise concerns over its use.
Kookaburra has targetted the next edition of the Big Bash League to bring the ball into the market which might change cricket forever and for the better. The ball is expected to be initially tested in the various T20 league before being introduced in ODI cricket.