The proposed use of video analysis and video scorecards for the forthcoming USA junior cricket tour of Gujarat got me thinking about the main technology players in cricket analysis.
Technology is being used in performance analysis and in analysis of skill and technique i.e. fundamental analysis. Coaches use video analysis as a backbone for skill analysis and biomechanics, which is the understanding of performance through modeling,
simulation and measurement.
Coaches and support staff use performance analysis software to assist with game preparation and strategy. This type of analysis includes opposition analysis, SWOT analysis, etc. This was mostly statistics-based in the past but has now evolved due to the availability of instant digital video recall (notational analysis).
Here are some some of the technology platforms that are currently in use:
Hawk-Eye Cricket System: Developed originally by Roke Manor Research Limited of Hampshire, UK, in 2001, it was spun off as a separate company, Hawk-Eye Innovations Ltd as a joint venture with Sunset+Vine. Initially, the technology's major use was in adjudicating LBW decisions.
The Hawk-Eye Cricket System incorporates interactive video replay, high speed cameras for biomechanical
analysis and a whole host of other special features. Underlying the technology is the basic concept of triangulation using visual images and timing data.
During the last six years Hawk-Eye has developed strong relationships
with the coaching staff of all the major cricket nations, with the
likes of England, Australia, South Africa, and India all using Hawk-Eye
data. Through continual interaction with the finest minds in World
Cricket Hawk-Eye has been able to refine its technology, producing a
system that stands alone as being the most complete cricket coaching
system available on the market today.
The pure tracking system is combined with a data repository and archiving capabilities so that it is possible to extract and
analyze trends and statistics about individual players, games or ball
to ball comparisons etc.
MCC Indoor School uses Hawk-Eye Performance Analysis suite.
Sports Mechanics India: Sports Mechanics Twenty20 Pro offers ball by ball reporting with video playback (powered by Silicon Coach), Flash based 3D wagon wheel with performance indicators, opposition analysis which can be used by coaches for game planning. Sports Mentor fosters interactions between coach, players and the playing fraternity.
Having worked with over 5,000 cricketers at National Cricket Academy and MRF Pace Academy, Ramky (Subramanian Ramakrishnan) was invited by John Wright to assist him with planning and preparation. He also features in John Wright's book. Ramky was also widely credited by players on the Indian team for improved performances. Sehwag even went as far as attributing his Multan 300 to Ramky's analysis.
Besides the Twenty20 Pro, the company also offers Howzat for umpire evaluation.
Today, Sports Mechanics' client list includes ICC, ACC, BCCI, and cricket boards of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Bermuda, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Canada, Kenya and Scotland. Prominent academies that use the software include MAC Spin Foundation, MRF Pace Academy and World Cricket Academy.
Offlode - SAS Enterprise Miner: Since 2004, Offlode, a Wellington-based consultancy, has helped New Zealand Cricket turn match data into powerful ammunition, using software from SAS. The big push came in after the arrival of Dr. Peter Mayell, who is Cricket Technology Manager at NZC’s High Performance Centre in Christchurch. As with any modelling, the bigger the history that goes in, the more
valuable is the reporting that comes out, and while NZC had collected
Over time, the database was enriched with other important data
such as pitch condition, venue, and players’ strengths and weaknesses for ODI cricket. The ultimate is detailed time-of-day and time-of-year data for
individual grounds, fine tuned with real-time details such as humidity
and light; which of the 50 overs is currently being bowled; and the
records of the players of both sides involved at that time.
Predictive analysis is SAS' biggest strength. Different models apply for when you are batting first and when you are
bowling. In each case, the system predicts an outcome based on the
point-in-time situation and all the variables, and the coaches use this
prediction to determine the best course of action. The software also is useful in assessing “player contribution," examining each player’s performance against expectation. By 2009, the software was adapted for Twenty20 situations.
22 Yardz and SKRUTiN- SportingMindz: SportingMindz has a strong product for technique analysis which is used by Karnataka, Andhra, Hyderabad, Delhi, Orissa and Singapore cricket associations/boards. 22 Yardz and SKRUTiN are the company's flagship products for performance analysis. SKRUTiN is the motion analysis suite with capabilities that include video annotation, split-screen and overlay functionality.
22 Yardz is the match analysis suite with statistics and video analysis integrated for player analysis. 22 Yardz is also used by the Royal Challengers Bangalore - one of the first to embrace performance analysis in Twenty20 cricket. The company also offers 3rdEye - an umpire evaluator making it a strong competitor to Hawk-Eye and Sports Mechanics.
Tata Consultancy Services: In April 2009, TCS was picked by Rajasthan Royals as its technology partner making TCS the first IT major to get into performance analysis. Speaking about TCS' involvement, Jayant Pendharkar, Global Marketing, said: "The new partnership will help enhance the teams' performance using
technological solutions that will provide players analysis and their
health and fitness conditions, and technology such as RFID will be used
to track and analyze bowlers' performance and condition."
"All the statistical data and analysis of the players and game will be
supported by graphics and visuals for better understanding and
improving the performance."
Further details of TCS' involvement are eagerly awaited in the cricket circles.