How Technology Has Changed the Image of Cricket for Fans

For a country where cricket is almost a religion and cricketers revered like demigods, almost everyone has strong opinions about everything associated with cricket including DRS (Decision Review System) and other technological innovations that are finding their way into the game.

Fans have seen it all; Hawk Eye, Hot Spot, Snicko Meter, Ball Tracking and others. What endeared fans to the game were the glorious uncertainties associated with it. Many feel technology has now made cricket completely predictable, others say it is good for the future of the game.

Purists and old timers squirm whenever any new technology is introduced into the decision making process. To them, the human element in umpiring, replete with errors and all, is sacrosanct to the game and must not be tinkered with. The young audience disagrees. They believe that the huge sums of money involved and the fierce competitiveness, with which the game is played, must leave no room for human errors.

Questions were asked of some fans across age groups and gender to know what they felt about the use of technology in cricket and here is what they have to say:

70 year old cricket follower 

The new system will reduce the relevance of on-field umpires. They won’t have any authority and will be reduced to counting the number of balls. Cricket is fast losing its old world charm of unpredictability and good old sportsmen spirit.

Businessman, also a cricket fanatic, follows the game on TV

Use of technology in cricket is inevitable and cannot be stalled for long. It is like stopping television replays. I am all for it because if technology can minimize errors why not go for it? Why ruin a good game due to bad decisions when you have ways to eliminate human errors.

22 year old university student who plays for his university

Technology is not foolproof. For example, the predictive curves that Hawkeye shows us is not completely accurate and is based on so many assumptions and variables. The Snicko Meter could be picking up the sound of the bat hitting the pad and not the ball. Mistakes are an inherent part of the game. They can’t be completely eliminated despite using the best technology available. Let the umpires be the best judge. It will be good for the game.

20 year old female student 

Umpires are after all humans. They can be incompetent or even be biased. They may have personal grudges against some players. Why let such things ruin the game when you have some amazing technology available. There are some shortcomings no doubt but they can be fine tuned. Why throw the baby out with the bathwater?

46 year old housewife who never misses a match on TV

I think technology is good for cricket because it has enhanced my viewing experience. When there were no replays, we were not able to see the finer aspects. I don’t think it harms the spirit of the game. Technology cannot spoil, only improve cricket.

Middle aged practising lawyer and cricket fan

Technology may reduce human error but it involves faith of a different kind. Fans’ minds are being conditioned to believe that the computer’s word is final though we all know how fallible it is. No one will ever know which way a ball, thwarted by a pad, would have finally travelled. The game has changed in deference to the needs of television and that’s what worries me. Technology should be desirable, not absolutely indispensable.

Our View

Some well defined rules demarcate winners and losers in any game. Cricket, as any other sport, demands complete fairness and riddance of all grey areas in decision making. The available technology must be deployed in a better way to make the game interesting, and prevent it from becoming more mechanical. With cricket set to widen its footprint across the globe, innovations to iron out its “glorious uncertainties” can go a long way in sustaining interest in the gentlemen’s game. However, any technological advancement in the game should not have the unfortunate side-effect of alienating the older generations of fans.

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