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Scientists crack LBW quandary

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    Scientists crack LBW quandary

    Scientists crack LBW quandary

    The German company Siemens claims to have invented a machine that will provide accurate leg before wicket decisions in cricket - the bane of umpires' lives and a source of endless controversy, The Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

    Scientists at Siemens' English research works have adapted military missile-tracking technology to the task of predicting the path of a cricket ball, and umpires have been offered the chance to use the technology from next season, although the English cricket authorities remain suspicious.

    Siemens claims the invention would remove the sort of controversy that surrounded Brian Lara's LBW dismissal as the West Indies suffered defeat against England on Monday.

    The West Indies star batsman was given out to a ball that pitched marginally outside the leg stump - and was thus not out, although the ball would clearly have gone on to hit the stumps as television camera replays showed. He was on 47 and batting confidently at the time. Hawk-eye software from Siemens processes information from cameras stationed around the wicket to track the ball as it leaves the bowler's hand. In the case of an LBW decision, it can calculate to within 5 millimetres whether the ball would have hit the stumps.

    The software, unveiled on Tuesday at Siemens' Roke Manor research facility near Southampton, came from work for the ministry of defence on missile trajectories.

    Cricket-mad engineers spotted the technology's sporting potential and adapted it accordingly. If used by the "third umpire'' - who monitors the action via video replay from the stands - contentious decisions could be avoided.

    Sunset, the company that produces the cricket programming for the British Broadcasting Corporation - and introduced innovations such as the "snickometer'' which detects the noise of the ball hitting the bat - plans to use the technology in its coverage next year. But the England and Wales Cricket Board said there were no plans to introduce it. Alan Fordham, operations officer, said: "With LBWs you can't say for sure whether the ball would have hit the stumps.''

    All this may be true, but machines can never replace a human touch while deciding LBW.

    The critical thing here is that missile tracking technology can never guess the swing/reverse-swing and seamers/cutters which are planned by the bowlers. E.g. if a bowler bowls a full-toss and it hits the batsman on the toe with swing, how can you tell where it will go after it had pitched, on the leg stump?

    Anyway, I guess ICC's idea to use the TV technology, more "conventional" now, where the TV replays show a bar connecting two wickets along with a snickometer and slow-motion trajectory of the ball, is more useful.

    However, unless the third umpire is given the power to alert the ground umpire for an erroneous decision, there will be no improvement. For now, it is only one way traffic and only when ground umpire asks the 3rd umpire, then the 3rd umpire can adjudicate. This is unfortunate. Clear examples were in the final test of Pak-WI in WI this year.

    Its better if we take the element of wrong decision from the game, unfortunately, it seems its all part and parcel of this wonderful game....

    Life is too short to waste
    Enjoy... and be Happy


      I personally feel to many machines will take away the beauty of cricket.
      Like the Snick-o-meter used in AUS.
      Come on umpires are human and can make mistakes that is the beauty of cricket.
      If we have machines doing all the umpiring, why don't computers just calculate who wins on the over all performance of the teams???
      It will be all perfect in logic, but will it be cricket????

      You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!