October 12, 2006

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan and George Binoy at the 2006 Champions Trophy

Powar to the gizmos

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan
Ramesh Powar takes a look at the equipment, Jaipur, October 12, 2006
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As the Indians went through their paces at the Rajasthan Cricket Academyground, a couple of software engineers, stationed at one corner, went about setting up their equipment. From a distance it looked as if they were examining a drinks trolley but one needed to go closer to realise that this was serious business.

What they were actually trying to test was video-analysis equipment involving high-speed cameras. Designed by Play View, a company specialising in providing video tools in sport, and implemented by Eight Hills, a USA-based company, the machinery is one of the several infrastructural additions to the Rajasthan Cricket Academy, one that is expected to be one of the best in the country. The equipment allows one to capture footage and stores it in a database that allows for future analysis.

Indian team physio S Ramakrishnan beside the high-speed camera
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A Sony high-speed camera attached to the top of a movable structure can record Ramesh Powar's batting in the nets. Routing several such video footage to a software would enable detailed analysis of Powar's batting. The software allows for tagging and filters - one can get a list of all Powar's cover-drives over the last 20 matches - and promises to be a valuable tool for coaches in the days ahead. More importantly, it allows him to see it instantly.

S Ramakrishnan, the video analyst of the Indian side, felt that such technology would be an ideal tool for players to improve themselves. "Such a system is good for the players to get instant feedback. They don't have to wait till they get to the hotel, instead they can analyse what they are doing wrong then and there."

Of course, all associations may not be able to afford the equipment - each camera costs approximately Rs 150,000 (US$3300 approx) - but it's no doubt, especially in the era of the super-coach, that it's going to be the way forward.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is a former assistant editor at Cricinfo

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