By Somali K Chakrabarti
On 13 February, the opening of the 2015, ICC World Cup Cricket tournament, one of the world’s most viewed sporting events, was celebrated with a Google Doodle. The tournament has come up a long way from the time when the first Cricket World Cup was played in England in 1975. And how!
Back in the seventies and early eighties, when all the matches were played during the day, people would gather around the Television or radio sets to watch the match, or at least to listen to the commentary. The games were slow paced and the hangover of the 5-day Test Matches could be seen in the World Cup too. Players dressed in traditional white uniforms played 60 overs per team, with red balls.
The scene has drastically changed from then. Once the gentleman’s game, is now mixed with fun and brouhaha, to appeal to a broader set of audience. The viewership has increased by leaps and bounds with global media coverage. The changing format of the game from longer version to the shorter version (20-20) has influenced the style of playing in the World Cup, and the game, today, though still with 50 overs per team, is much more competitive.
Technology has touched upon all aspects of the game starting with the time of the day when the matches are played, the media coverage, cutting edge graphics for the viewers, to the equipment and gears of the players, to how they train and plan out the strategy for their game, to the decisions that umpires make.
High power illuminating systems have made it possible for matches to be played both during the day and night to maximize viewership and pull in crowds to the matches. Even in inclement weather the pitch can be made ready for play to resume in a short span of time.
During the 1983 Prudential World Cup, cricket fans in India had to be contended listening to the commentary on radio and only the final match was telecast in India. Advances in technology has knocked down these barriers, as all matches are broadcast live on different news channels, and can be seen by a broad set of audience worldwide, either on the television or on the computer screens / laptops/ tablets, with live updates available on mobiles and smart devices.
Players go through rigorous athletic training with sophisticated equipment like fitness equipment, fast bowling machines, batting practice Equipment, fielding equipment etc to improve their overall fitness, speed and accuracy of bowling and reflexes, while batting, running and fielding.
Players play wearing breathable fabric, designed to enhance performance, and safety equipment to take care of any injuries.
Players, with the use of technology, study the players on the opposite side to analyse their strengths and weakness to pick strategies for their own game. Pakistani bowlers, for instance, would study an Indian batsman, to see his comfort against pace bowling or spin bowling and identify his weakness against short pitch, good length and over pitched bowling.
The Decision Review System (DRS), comprising of a set of technologies and protocols was adopted in cricket in 2008, to make decisions less prone to human error. Though the use of DRS has been the subject of contention, umpires now use the technology to review specific actions (like close run – outs, catches) before they reach a decision. Players can get an umpire’s decision reviewed.
Whereas earlier during the 80s and 90s, commentators would look through a bunch of files to see a players records, with the history of shots available online, it is now easier for the commentators to compare the odds that a batsman has against the bowlers. Cutting edge graphics, cameras placed inside the stump or mounted on helmets, and LED lights flashing through stumps when disturbed have made the matches much interesting for the viewers on Television.
So, as the World Cup is televised in over 200 countries to over to over 2.2 billion television viewers, it leaves little space for doubts about how big a boon Technology has been for the World Cup Cricket.
*** This post is part of Blogger Dream Team ***
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