In the game of cricket
it is often very difficult for umpire
s to judge whether or not a fast moving cricket ball, often travelling in excess of 90 mph
, glanced off the batsmans bat before passing to the waiting gloves of the wicketkeeper
. This difficulty often led to players being given out
when they were not, or staying in when they should have been out, caught behind
Created by Alan Plaskett, the snickometer attempts to enable cricket commentators to say one way or another whether the umpires decision is right or wrong . Essentially it is a highly sensitive microphone that is placed in the batsmans' off stump and connected to an oscilloscope that measures the sound waves of an oncoming ball. When the ball nicks the bat, the oscilliscope trace goes wild, and by analysing the video stream in extreme slow motion alongside this graph, you can see whether of not the noise picked up by the microphone coincides with the ball passing the bat.
Snickometer technology was first used in 1999 by Channel 4 in the UK where it was hugely popular with cricket fans, was transferred to India, and then onto Kerry Packer's Channel 9 in Australia, where it does seem to be causing a few more problems, with more an more umpires becoming annoyed with what they see as a technology which makes their already hard jobs even more difficult. One of the other downsides to the equipment is that, if it is accidentally left on, it can pick up the 'sledging' comments made by fielders and wicketkeepers in an attempt to put the batsman off his shot.