Artificial Intelligence has become so ubiquitous that it has become indispensable even on the cricket field , writes Satyen K. Bordoloi

As fan hysteria reached a fever-pitch during the epic India-Pakistan cricket match yesterday, #Hotstar trended on Twitter. With the match poised to be one of the closest finishes between the arch-rivals, viewership counts on the official digital broadcaster reached 1.3 crore. Folks marvelled at the technology used to achieve this.

#Hotstar began trending yesterday and fans quickly started sharing screenshots with 1.3cr on top right of their screens

But cricket fans need not have taken screenshots of the 13 million at the corner of their screens. All they had to do was look at the field on their screens and realise a simple truth: if any of the hundreds of digital technologies assisting in the game had shut, the match would have been delayed or postponed. And that includes Artificial Intelligence.

Some of the technologies used in cricket are noticeable. Like the precise statistics on screen culled out by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Hawkeye ball tracking that uses a set of cameras put in specific locations to determine the trajectory of a ball to adjudicate LBW, Snickometer to graphically analyse sound and video to determine if a batsman has flicked a ball and Hot Spots that do the same via infrared imaging among others.

When fans trended #Hotstar, what they were lauding was an array of technological advancements: AI, Internet of Things (IoT), thousands of servers worldwide using cables networked over land, under seas and wireless networks of both satellites and local variety to send and receive gazillion terabytes of data bits to bring the match alive on 13 million devices on the globe without lags. This achievement underlined once again that all streaming services – Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. – unlike TV channels of the past, are first tech companies.

Among all these, the deep penetration of AI and the IoT into the game of cricket is still little known. You’ve heard of smart homes, smart cars and even smart cities connected with a networked grid. But ever heard of a smart-ball or smart-bat?

Smart Cricket Balls

The Kookaburra ball might have been the centre of controversy in recent years thanks to it losing shape sooner than other balls, but that hasn’t stopped the company from tying up with Australian sports tech firm Sportcor to create the ‘smart ball’.

As per this report, the smart ball has an “embedded chip with sensors to measure the speed, spin and power of the ball and relay it in real-time using a smartwatch, mobile or a computer via a special app.” This data is invaluable in analysing and thus improving performance. A bowler and a coach with such a smart ball can work wonders in training and thus ultimately on the field.

Kookaburra SmartBall (Image: Twitter)

This will also take away a lot of human intervention and thus heartbreak and accusations in selection. When an aspiring bowler is rejected by a talent-hunter she can provide data on why that decision was made.

Closer home we have Bengaluru-based sports technology start-up SeeHow with their own smart ball that has in it a microcontroller, wireless radio, inertial sensor, battery and memory to capture motion data. Data generated is instantly relayed to an app on a synced device. For advanced statistics, the data is fed into a machine learning engine on the cloud.

Both these, and other systems, have made sure that all the sensors are placed inside the ball in such a way that it does not impact the weight, design or seam position of the ball.

An IoT Cricket Bat

If a tiny ball can have IoT sensors, why not the mighty bat? But you wouldn’t expect a bowler to bring technology into a bat, would you? That is exactly what spin-legend Anil Kumble has done with his company Spektacom which plans to create an entire ecosystem of tech solutions for everyone involved in cricket from players and coaches to broadcasters and fans with smart products and technologies.

Anil Kumble explaining the Spektacom system in a video grab (Image: Spektacom)

Spektacon is delving into camera systems, sensor embedding, video analytics, AI, video modelling, augmented reality and more. They already have the Spektacom bat available to buy from Amazon.

Spektacom available on Amazon (Image: Spektacom)

But their best tech so far is their smart sticker that can be put on any bat to turn it into a PowerBat. The sensors in the sticker can send data real-time to a device and also provide advanced metrics and data visualization using AI to analyse literally every shot.

The Spektacom bat and its speciality (Image: Spektacom)

Spektacom has competition in the likes of StanceBeam Striker and SpeculurBatSense, both with sensors that fit on top of any cricket bat handle. It uses sensors inside to transmit data about swing analysis, shot efficiency, speed of bat, etc. All the above systems are already available to buy online.

AI in Analysis

There are applications that use AI to help players understand and better their games with personal statistics. These include Criclytics which can track players’ skill levels, calorie consumption, fitness levels, etc. CricScience on the other hand is geared more towards fans and advertisers and uses data analytics to project the team most likely to win a tournament. It can also help players come up with strategies to take a wicket, field placement against a particular batsman, etc.

ESPN has SuperStats that uses AI to analyse historical data to bring real-time context to something happening on the field. These are the kind of stats that commentators give during a match which all of us love.

There are tons of such AI and IoT apps and devices available both to players and fans to make cricket more enjoyable. However, this is just the starting tip of the tech in cricket iceberg. The further miniaturization of chips and sensors will lead us to devices and applications the likes of which we cannot even fathom today.

There’s nothing more physical than sports. It is a celebration of the endurance of the human body and mind. Yet, today, technology has so enmeshed with both, that we are reaching unscalable heights. And it is not impossible to think of a time when tech will ultimately have us reach the pinnacle of our human limits.

In case you missed:

Satyen is an award-winning scriptwriter, journalist based in Mumbai. He loves to let his pen roam the intersection of artificial intelligence, consciousness, and quantum mechanics. His written words have appeared in many Indian and foreign publications.


  1. I absolutely love your website.. Excellent colors & theme.
    Did you make this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting to create my own blog and want to find out where you
    got this from or what the theme is named.
    Many thanks!

  2. I believe what you said was very logical.
    However, think about this, suppose you were to create a killer headline?
    I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your website,
    but suppose you added something to maybe grab a person’s attention? I mean AI in Cricket
    – India vs Pak matches will get bigger, better, brighter – Sify is kinda boring.
    You ought to look at Yahoo’s home page and watch how they write news titles to grab
    viewers interested. You might try adding a video or a related
    picture or two to grab people interested about everything’ve
    got to say. Just my opinion, it would make your blog a
    little livelier.

  3. Wonderful blog! Do you have any helpful hints
    for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go
    for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely overwhelmed ..

    Any tips? Thanks a lot!

  4. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your post seem to be running off
    the screen in Opera. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with
    internet browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know.
    The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem fixed
    soon. Many thanks

Leave A Reply

© Copyright Sify Technologies Ltd, 1998-2022. All rights reserved