photo © 2009 Szilard Mihaly | more info (via: Wylio)
Cricket has romanced with technology quite a bit. It introduced the third umpire system, stump microphones to pick up the chatter of the players and hawk eye to help in LBW decisions. Cricket still has its problems and there are people who are for and against using technology to clear that problems.
Run out decisions which were a major headache earlier were solved by referring to third umpire who uses a video replay to make that decision. This typically takes quite a few minutes for the communication to go back and forth. This was sought out as an opportunity by Tariq Mahmood from National University of Computer And engineering sciences in Karachi.
A system called A-Eye is introduced to quicken the run out decisions. The system has a low-cost video sitting on the field and an open source software Aforge.net scans the video feeds for moving objects.
A-Eye automatically identifies the position of the crease and the wicket, and tracks the motion of the bat. If the system detects any movement of the wicket while the bat is outside the crease, it deems the batsman to be run out.
The system is tested and proves to be 3% less accurate than a human umpire. 3% would mean Sachin Tendulkar staying back or leaving on a score of 95 with India still needing 45 runs to win. The system spits out the decision in less than a second where the umpire would take a minute. Mahmood will continue testing this out in local clubs and then submit it to International cricket council.
Any movement of the wicket is a dangerous term to be used when introduce a system like this. The wicket can be moved not by just ball but with a hand accidentally or incidentally. Will A-Eye pronounce the batsman out in that case? A question which has to be answered.
In cricket there are only eleven wickets to fall for each side. That would be 22 wickets in a day if it is one day international. All 22 wickets fall rarely on a single day and not all the wickets will be run outs. So the wait is hardly less than 10 minutes. T20 cricket is about fast but it should not come at the expense of a team losing because of technology.
Yet another thing to be careful about is the camera positioning on the field. It definitely cannot be placed in the stumps. Or can it be? If it has to be place anywhere else then it would be obstructing the play.