In the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), a new Smart Replay System is set to revolutionize decision-making efficiency and streamline the process. This system will utilize eight high-speed cameras from Hawk-Eye placed strategically around the ground. Alongside the TV umpire, two Hawk-Eye operators will provide real-time images for swift analysis.

CSK vs RCB, Virat Kohli
CSK vs RCB

Unlike the previous setup, where the TV broadcast director acted as an intermediary between the Hawk-Eye operators and the third umpire, this new arrangement eliminates that role. Instead, the TV umpire will directly receive visuals from the operators, granting access to a wider range of images, including split-screen views.

This advancement allows for more comprehensive analysis, such as capturing crucial moments like an outfielder’s mid-air catch with simultaneous footage of their feet and hands—an aspect previously unavailable to broadcasters.

The Smart Replay System will equip umpires with enhanced clarity and multiple angles for assessing various scenarios, including caught behinds, leg-before-wicket decisions, stumpings, and low catches.

The BCCI recently organized a two-day workshop for a group of umpires, both Indian and overseas, who will be utilizing this system during the IPL. This initiative aligns with the board’s efforts to incorporate modern technology into cricket officiating.

A comparable referral system was also tested by the England and Wales Cricket Board during The Hundred competition.

How does the Smart Review System work?

Let’s simplify the understanding of this technology with an example.

Imagine a scenario where a fielder throws the ball toward the stumps, resulting in an overthrow and a boundary.

With the new Smart Replay System, we can determine if the batters crossed each other when the throw was made. How? The system employs high-speed cameras placed around the ground to capture images of the precise moment the fielder released the ball, along with the positions of the batters.

This information is then presented to the TV umpire, enabling more accurate decision-making. It’s akin to having a clearer picture of what occurred on the field, such as the 2019 World Cup final incident where the ball was deflected off Ben Stokes’ bat as he dived for a second run.

Previously, this level of analysis wasn’t possible because broadcast cameras couldn’t combine these images. However, with the Smart Replay System, it’s all about providing better visuals for fairer judgments.

Smart Replay System in DRS

For avid cricket followers, the initiation of every DRS review by the TV umpire with the phrase ‘TV Umpire to Director, we have a review for…’ is a familiar sight.

However, under the Smart Replay System, the director’s role becomes redundant. The TV umpire will receive direct visuals from the operator, eliminating the need for the director to transmit the replays.

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