IPL unveils Smart Replay System to improve review accuracy

Anticipation is brewing amongst the cricketing fraternity as the seventeenth edition of the IPL draws nearer, promising to reignite the passion for the 20-over format. Amidst all that is doing the rounds regarding the tournament for injuries, players backing out, stars arriving at practice camps, and much more, there has been a noteworthy development that is certain to enhance the excitement of the buildup of the marquee league.

According to a report from ESPNcricinfo, from the 17th IPL season onwards, the tournament is set to launch a new technology, the Smart Replay System, in a bid to improve accuracy and speed in decision-making, making it more prompt than before. The revamped setup will feature the TV umpire and Hawk-Eye operators sharing a workspace, facilitating smoother collaboration. The technology will be enabled by having more split screens, better frame rates, as well as less rigid processes in play.

Until IPL 2023, Hawk-Eye cameras were chiefly used for ball-tracking and the Ultra Edge technology. Besides assessing LBW calls and edges, the broadcaster mainly employed their camera footage for on-field referrals, encompassing stumpings, run-outs, catches, and overthrows.

It is understood that the Smart Replay System will allow the TV umpire to have enhanced access to more visuals than he previously had access to, including split-screen images. With the upgraded system, a split-screen will present the umpire with the timing of when the ball was caught or released, synchronized with footage depicting whether the foot touched or didn’t touch the rope.

The cricketing fraternity would be aware of the contentious overthrow incident that occurred in the 2019 ODI World Cup final. The innovative Smart Replay System will be applied to the freak and quite rare cases of overthrows as well. If there’s an overthrow leading to a boundary, a split screen will now be able to reveal whether the batter had completed a run or not when the fielder threw the ball. The Hawk-Eye operators will now be able to provide the TV umpire with images showing the precise time of the throw, coupled with the position of the batter at that particular juncture.

The Smart Replay System will be used for assessing stumpings as well as close calls in connection with catches
For stumpings, the new system will provide the TV umpire with tri-vision, combining footage from side-on and front-on cameras in a single frame. This would mean that the umpires would be getting a much more refined selection of footage to make their decision.

As far as catches taken close to the turf are concerned, under the freshly conceptualized mechanism, the Hawk-Eye will straightaway showcase a single frame comprising images obtained from both frontal and lateral vantage points.

IPL 2024 is set to commence on March 22 with the opening clash between the five-time champions, the Chennai Super Kings, and the star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore, with the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium set to host the highly-anticipated spectacle.