Hawk-Eye Technology: What is it All About?

It’s pretty obvious that we are getting the otherwise viral cricket fever, all thanks to the Cricket World Cup 2011. Right from free apps for your smartphones to evolution of cricket games, we’ve done them because we’re getting into the cricket groove. And today, we’ll take a look into a certain technology that we’re so familiar with otherwise, because countless clips of cricket matches and some crucial decisions.

The most recent will definitely be Ian Bell’s LBW decision of the India VS England match. The home camp – including the fans, thought that it should have been out. Guess what, even Hawk-Eye said so. But anyways, keeping controversies aside, let’s see the different aspects of Hawk-Eye.

What is Hawk-Eye?
This question is strictly aimed at those born yesterday! Well not exactly, but there are scenarios where you’ve heard about it so much, but not really known what it actually meant. So do you know that Hawk-Eye has been bought by Sony and that it’s not officially used by the ICC? Yeah, it’s quite surprising, but that’s exactly what the official Hawk-Eye website says. Anyways, Hawk-Eye is a technology used in cricket which gives you a virtual understanding of the angle and distance of where a ball travels once it pitches. One very common use of Hawk-Eye are the LBW decisions,  where the viewers can see the virtual future path of the ball after it’s being pitched and in conclusion get an idea of whether the batsman should actually have been adjudged LBW or not.

How does it work?
The whole setup involves six high speed vision processing cameras along with two broadcast cameras. When a deliver is bowled, the position of the ball recorded in each camera is combined to form a “virtual” 3D positioning of the ball after its being delivered. The whole process of the delivery is broken into two parts, delivery to bounce and bounce to impact. Multiple frames of the ball position are measured and through this, you can calculate the direction, speed, swing and dip of that specific delivery.

That's how it functions

That's how it functions

 

 

Different Features of Hawk-Eye
Now that we’ve read about Hawk-Eye and its’ working, there are some other features that this technology brings along with the standard LBW appeals.

Wagon Wheels
So when you see Yusuf Pathan blast his way to a quick fire 50, it’s also exciting to see the various directions on which he must have sent every bowler packing! The Wagon Wheel gives you an idea of the different areas where the batsman has been targeting to score singles, doubles, boundaries or sixes. Plus, looking at the trajectories of the shots you easily know why Dhoni is one of the most feared batsman in cricket!

 

Now where did that six go?

Now where did that six go?

 

 

DeSpin
Only if we could see the angle of deviation of the ball of the century! Yeah we’re talking about Shane Warne’s leg-break delivery that left Mike Gatting spellbound! But let’s not deviate from the topic here, it’s still about a virtual system of checking the angle of turn or deviation of a ball after it has pitched. The blue trajectory shows the actual deliver had it not spun or seamed and the red trajectory shows the actual delivery.

Lemme despin that for you

Lemme despin that for you

 

 

Pitch Maps
This consists of a virtual map of the various areas of the pitch where the bowler has bowled a delivery. It shows you how consistent a bowler is, in terms of line and length. There’s a split-screen format where you can see a particular bowler bowling to left and right-handed batsman. Last but not the least, it also clearly indicates why although being extremely fast, Shoaib Akhtar might just not be the best choice for a bowler in comparison to Glenn McGrath!

 

Pitch it right!

Pitch it right!

 

Beehives
Somewhat similar to the Pitch Map, this one takes it from a batsman’s perspective. So, you can see which deliveries were scored for runs and which were just left for dot balls. I’d personally want to see a Beehive of Sachin playing Warne at Sharjah!

What a beehive

What a beehive

 

 

RailCam
Another feature of Hawk-Eye, which is aimed at bowlers. RailCam lets you see the difference in speed and bounce between the deliveries bowled either by the same bowler, or by different bowlers. While this also talks about a bowler’s line and length, you can see whether he has variations in his repertoire!

Zaheer, gotta do better

Zaheer, gotta do better

 

 

Ball Speeds
This is as simple as it gets. Ball Speeds lets you trace the different speeds of a ball after delivery. So you can see whether a batsman gets knocked out by a fast paced delivery, or fooled by a slower one.

Faster and faster

Faster and faster

 

 

Reaction Time
I’ve mostly seen this applied at the reaction time of a particular fielder, especially during an awesome catch. But, you can also see how quickly a bowler pitches the delivery. So guess how long does Yuvraj take to dive for that catch of the century?

Quick reaction this

Quick reaction this

 

 

So today, we finally read and got to know some more about the Hawk-Eye technology. What I do like about this is that some crucial decisions can go the right way. There are times when the human-eye can actually miss a certain detail and Hawk-Eye can help in such circumstances. An event like that of Ian Bell’s LBW decision was certainly unfortunate and maybe the officials should turn to such technologies rather than going with the umpire’s decision. What do you think?


Published Date: Mar 10, 2011 03:02 pm | Updated Date: Mar 10, 2011 03:02 pm