Zing bails, spidercams and more: Innovations at the IPL
Innovation in the game, technical or otherwise, adds value to the sport more often than not and provides layers to the game which make it tactically richer or increase its fairness.
Here are some innovations at the IPL which have added to its fun and excitement:
Decision Review System (DRS)
After a long period of being circumspect, the Decision Review System (DRS) was finally introduced at the Indian Premier League in 2018. It allows both teams one review each which could be used to challenge the decision of the on-field umpires.
The move was given a go ahead, especially after a number of umpiring errors in the tournament. Given that a big number of umpires at the IPL are Indian, who have limited exposure at the international level, there are bound to be more mistakes as compared to elite umpires and hence, the review system helps to make cricket at the IPL fairer.
Zing bails have their most utility in run-out and stumping calls, when a decision is referred to the third umpire. The moment the ball, or the hand with the ball in it, touches either the stumps of the bails, the zing bails light up, making it easier for the third umpire to decide the exact point at which the bails were dislodged and whether the bat was inside the crease at that relative moment or not.
As cricket goes to the next level, broadcast is all about making it much more interactive and enjoyable for the spectators watching at home. A spidercam goes a long way in ensuring that, providing the viewers with the best possible angles for them to feel closer to the action.
Be it following the batsmen from close quarters as they enter the ground and leave it or tracking a fielder, spidercams add to the entire visual experience of watching a cricket match.
Strategic time out
Strategic timeout is a two and half minute tactical break that each team can take in an IPL innings. While a bowling side can choose to use a timeout between the 6th and the 9th over, the batting side can take it at any time between the 13th and the 16th over. This adds up to a total of four timeouts in an IPL match – two in each innings.
It not only allows teams to take stock of the situation, which is otherwise not possible due to the dynamic nature of the game, but is also a commercially sound idea, for the advertisers to cash-in in the middle of the match.