Innovation in Cricket – Snickometer Patent

This post was first published on 24th February, 2011.
Cricket is said to be deeply rooted in tradition and considered to be a gentleman’s game. The game has undergone much transformation because of the innovation being implied into it. Innovation has touched the game in every field-the way game is played (20-20, ODI, Test), shape and size of bats, innovative batting and bowling techniques (the class of some individual genius like paddle sweep of Sachin Tendulkar, doosra of Saqlin Mustaq, Marillier shot of Douglas Marillier and so on) and so on.
As innovative minds put their heads into the game, technology became an important division of the game. Different technologies are being used today in cricket to ensure fair play and maximum entertainment. Snickometer is one of such technologies.
Snickometer is one tool which is being primarily used to check if the ball had any contact with bat. It was introduced by Channel 4 of UK in 1995. It is used by commentators to evaluate the validity of field umpire’s decision. Further, this kind of action reply technology is of commercial importance for broadcasting companies as it greatly enhances the viewer’s entertainment and interest in the cricket match.
Snickometer was invented by Allan Plaskett. He was granted a patent (GB2358755A) for “Method of and system for analysing events”. It is used to graphically analyze sound and video, and show whether a fine noise, or snick, occurs as ball passes bat. The television signal which is to be analyzed is recorded and stored as video part and audio part. Audio part of the recorded signal is converted into a graphical format representing the waveform of the audio signal and the video part is displayed in graphical format of selected frames. The graphical representation of the audio signal is presented with the selected frames of the video signal in a combined graphical format display, allowing the audio and video events recorded in the television signal to be compared and matched. When the ball hits the bat, it creates a short sharp on sound form whereas in other cases it creates fatter shape on sound form.

A famous decision in which Andrew Symonds playing Sydney test 2007-08 Border-Gavaskar trophy was ruled not out by field umpire was evaluated to be a wrong decision by Snickometer. Australia went on to win their 16th consecutive test because of the same.
Another decision in which Mahela Jayawardane batting against Canada in WC 2011 was given not out by umpires. Canada players believed that Mahela had nicked the ball. As there are no Snickometers and no hotspots being used in WC, Mahela survived. Things could have been different if Snickometer would have been used.
It is time for innovative technology to enter the game in a more complete manner to ensure fair play.
Authored by Sanjiv Sharan

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