Pink ball cleared for DRS use

pink ball

Let us go pink!

Ball tracking technology using the pink ball has gone underway successfully in the Sheffield Shield fixture between South Australia and New South Wales at Adelaide Oval. Previously, there were fears about the pink ball and its use in the Decicion Review System, but those fears seem to have been calmed now.

“Animation Research” is the kiwi based company which is to manage the Eagle eye ball tracker during the Australia New Zealand series. The company has revealed that it was able to track the pink ball without a single problem throughout the game. The results are believed to be highly in contrast to the tests that were carried out in New Zealand, which raised concerns.

The tests carried out in New Zealand suggested that the newly introduced technology was favorable only some times, not all. But after the recently concluded rehearsals in Adelaide, the head of Animation Research, Ian Taylor has said that the pink ball showed great results. Taylor also revealed that the better results were also partially a result of the well grassed pitch color of the Oval.

“We had a lot of concerns after doing testing down here [in New Zealand] but actually under the conditions that were there and the pitch that was laid it was really encouraging. It was always about whether we could actually track it. What we’d been concerned about in the testing we’d done was we were having a lot of trouble tracking it, but with the right pitch and square it went really well.

It was never just about the pink ball, it was about a whole combination of elements. The pitch was designed for the pink ball so that it maintained its colour much better. It definitely worked – we’d had no trouble tracking a pink ball in our testing, but once it lost colour it was very difficult. But on the pitch they’ll be playing on in Adelaide it stayed pink. We were there for all four days, day and night, and everybody came out very positive. It’s a huge relief.

Most of these things, when you bring something new in you’d expect to be able to test it over a much longer period of time. But it was always a case where if we could see it and track it, we had years of algorithms that help to track it – but if you can’t see it then you’re going to have trouble tracking it.

There were no games for us, so we had gone out and set up an operation here in a stadium so we could test it under lights and we didn’t have much luck at all once the lights went on and the ball was worn. We were bowling it on a plastic, rollout pitch on a rugby field, so that ripped the ball to bits.

They said to us these are the conditions you’ll be working under, so come on up and try it. So we took the whole kit and it made a hell of a difference. We didn’t have any trouble tracking it and in the daytime you actually see it better than the red ball.”

The parties responsible for managing the decision review system are not the ICCs or the local boards, but the broadcasters. That has led to inconsistency of this technology, and understandably, BCCI has not approved off its use in Indian cricket. There has been alot of debate on who would be the ultimate paying party for managing the DRS. Many experts, commentators and organizers believe that the ICC should be doing it.

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