by Logan Hornby
Over the years Technology has changed the viewing experience for supporters and the playing experience for players by introducing the role of the third umpire, which was first introduced in 1992. The largest technological advancement that has been introduced in the modern era, was the introduction of DRS (Decision review system). This has enabled a fraction of the pressure to be relieved from the umpire’s shoulders.
The decision review system was introduced in order to keep up with the changing and demanding LBW rule. Without the advancements in technology, it became almost impossible for an umpire to confidently give out, or not give out, reasoning on the split-second judgment needed during a game. The introduction of a third empire gave them a fall-back option if there was ever uncertainties behind, or supporting, a decision.
As the years went by disputes on the pitch and off the pitch, surrounding decisions continued. To combat this the decision review system was introduced in 2008, which allowed each side to use a ‘review’. Teams could use these reviews to contest umpire decisions. In the current format in test cricket, each team is allowed two unsuccessful reviews per inning.
The captain of the team reviewing has 10 seconds to decide if they disagree with the on-field umpire. This has decreased the pressure from previously a seemingly impossible job of umpiring a flawless 5-day game of cricket, allowing the umpire to make a small number of incorrect decisions which don’t have a significant outcome on the result of the game; thus creating a fairer playing field for teams across the professional sport.
When a decision is reviewed the third umpire uses a range of technology available to him to come to a now near perfect decision. The technology involved in this has been changed and adapted to help perfect the decision system. It has allowed decisions to be reviewed quickly and efficiently giving the correct outcome, this has led to a more enjoyable cricket experience for everyone involved.
The technology involved consist of Slow-motion Hawkeye, Snickometer and Hotspot. Firstly, the most basic technology will be used as the umpire looks to television replays in slow motion. Usually, as well as this, the umpire will use more advanced methods of technology for harder decisions, such as infra-red cameras to help determine where the balls first point of contact is, usually to determine if the ball has hit the bat or pad. Once this has been decided the umpires then go on to further investigate with edge detection, using directional microphones to pick up faint sounds, to determine whether a batsman has touched the ball or not, a small spike on the graph shows a clear touch on the ball has been made. Finally, the last technology they use to make decisions is ball tracking, which uses multiple cameras around the ground to help plot the path of the ball, allowing an umpire to see if the ball would have hit the stumps if the ball didn’t hit the stumps.
In conclusion, the job of an umpire is still extremely difficult. However, the advancements in technology have allowed for some of the pressure to be alleviated slightly and for outcomes to be determined and supported easier. Ultimately resulting in a fairer better game for both players and supporters.