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IPL and Hawk-Eye join hands to end debate over above-waist no-balls

Hawk-Eye has in its database the toe-to-waist measurement of all IPL batters, and the height of the ball is matched to that for each review

Nagraj Gollapudi
27-Mar-2024
The third umpire has no role during the review, with measurements worked out by an automated system  •  BCCI

The third umpire has no role during the review, with measurements worked out by an automated system  •  BCCI

To remove the subjective element involved in adjudicating above-waist no-balls, the IPL, in coordination with Hawk-Eye, has introduced technology to measure the height of the ball as it passes the batter at the popping crease. That is then matched against the toe-to-waist height of the batter when in an upright position - recorded in advance. If the height of the ball is higher than where the batter's waist is recorded to be, then it is declared a no-ball. Otherwise it's a fair delivery.
On Wednesday, Mumbai Indians fast bowler Gerald Coetzee became the first to fall foul of this new system when his first delivery of the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad - the sixth of the innings - to Abhishek Sharma was deemed a no-ball.
While the on-field umpire immediately signalled it, the Mumbai Indians players, including captain Hardik Pandya and his predecessor Rohit Sharma, asked why it was not called a wide when the ball was nearly outside the mark.
Coetzee had delivered a high full-toss that was also way outside off stump. It was measured at 1.44 metres, 0.42 centimetres above Abhishek's waist height of 1.02 metres. Both readings were showed on the left panel of the TV screen after Hardik reviewed the no-ball call. The no-ball call was upheld.
ESPNcricinfo has learned that Hawk-Eye has measured the waist height for every player this IPL, a piece of information that is available in their database. The third umpire has no role to play during the review, with measurements being worked out by an automated system installed by Hawk-Eye. It has also been learned that Hawk-Eye had been conducting trials for the past two years, and gave a presentation to the IPL with their improved graphics after the 2023 season.
The new system is expected to put an end to controversial decisions involved in adjudicating waist-high no-balls, like in previous IPL editions.
One such decision was taken by the third umpire in the 2023 IPL, which took place in Hyderabad, incidentally, in SRH's match against Lucknow Super Giants.
In the penultimate over of the SRH innings, Avesh Khan, who was then with LSG, delivered what looked to the naked eye like an above-waist full toss to Abdul Samad.
The on-field decision was a no-ball. However, the third umpire deliberated for long as he studied the ball-tracking technology, and overturned the on-field call. The third umpire took into consideration the fact that Samad was crouching a bit when the ball passed him at the popping crease, and that at full height, the ball would have been below his waist.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo