Smart ball unlikely to feature in this summer's Big Bash
Cricket Australia are encouraged by the development of the 'SmartBall', but believe more testing is required before it can be used in domestic tournaments
12 August 2019, 03:28 PM AEST
Cricket Australia have reacted with cautious optimism to the development of a ball with an embedded microchip, saying it would require extensive independent testing before it could be considered for use in any top-flight competition.
Last weekend, Australian ball manufacturer Kookaburra unveiled its 'SmartBall' that it claims can deliver instant statistics on speed – at release point, pre-bounce and post-bounce – that are more comprehensive and accurate than a normal radar.
It also measures revolutions at the same points, which is unprecedented in-game data for spinners.
Marnus Labuschagne and Jos Buttler try their hand at the Smart Ball - a design developers are hoping will be used in domestic T20 comps within the coming months! pic.twitter.com/oyUhHkrefn— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) August 10, 2019
Cricket Australia's Head of Cricket Operations Peter Roach said the organisation supported initiatives that could bring interest and excitement to the game, but any expectations that it could feature in this summer's KFC BBL may be premature.
"A cricket ball that can gather data about things such as speed, movement and power is an extremely exciting innovation that will bring benefits to fans, but also coaches and players," Roach told cricket.com.au.
"If this cricket ball is presented to us as a possible innovation to introduce into our competitions and matches, then our responsibility will be to ensure that the characteristics of how the cricket ball reacts in play will not be affected by the internal mechanisms required to support the technology.
The Kookaburra SmartBall is here. It looks, feels and moves the same way as a regular Kookaburra cricket ball, but collects and communicates instant statistical data on revolutions, speed. Want to change the way you play? Register your interest today: https://t.co/7RMWoXTmTJ pic.twitter.com/e8dgHThtEw— Kookaburra Cricket (@KookaburraCkt) August 12, 2019
"To that end we would work with the manufacturers of both the ball and the technology to ensure that independent testing can provide confidence to players and teams that the ball will feel and behave the same as a normal cricket ball."
SportCor, a firm chaired by former Australia fast bowler and CA director Michael Kasprowicz, teamed up with Kookaburra to make the innovation happen.
The companies are confident that the 'SmartBall' will be used in one of the world's many Twenty20 leagues in coming months, with longer-term ambitions to feature at the international level.
Future plans include making the ball able to assist the umpiring and Decision Review System (DRS) process by showing whether a ball has definitively hit the bat – or the grass, in the case of catches that are too close to call.
England star Jos Buttler, who is sponsored by Kookaburra, said he would like to see the technology used in Test cricket.
"It'll be a great coaching tool and for viewers as well, it's amazing to see that instant feedback," Buttler said at the launch event at Lord's last weekend, which was also attended by Australia's Marnus Labuschagne
"It seems to behave exactly the same as a regular ball."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia beat England by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: August 14-18,Lord's
Third Test: August 22-26, Headingley
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval