CSIR develops new cricket analysis tool

17 August 2010

An innovative technology demonstrator designed and developed by two researchers at South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is set to become a must-have weapon in every cricket coach’s arsenal.

The analysis application, which records all delivery specific data and video footage of a game, will enable teams, coaches and match analysts to track and analyse matches objectively and help them with their planning strategy to plot the demise of opposing teams.

The product has its roots in a similar product called Crickstat – developed by the CSIR with former Proteas coach, the late Bob Woolmer, and currently used by many domestic and international teams – but is technologically far more advanced than its predecessor.

“This is a very objective analysis tool,” Matt Vassard, co-developer along with Gert Wessels, said in a statement last week. “With this application, coaches will be able to scrutinise every little detail of the game.

“However, one must remember that the software simply provides an enabling tool, and the responsibility to conceive game strategies remains that of a coach.”

Vassard is a software developer at the CSIR Consulting and Analytical Services, while Wessels is with the CSIR Modelling and Digital Science. The project is collaboration between the two units.

Microsoft technology demonstrator

The technology uses Microsoft.Net as a foundation, a middleware created by Microsoft to be platform-independent. Simply put, it can be run on any modern Microsoft operating system.

Because of its unique use of Microsoft technologies, the system has been earmarked for demonstration at Microsoft South Africa developer conferences around the country.

“Microsoft wants to use this as a demonstrator for its technologies,” said Vassard, adding: “This application is cutting-edge in that it is built and based on Microsoft’s latest and most advanced technologies.”

This cricket application exploits a technology framework developed by the CSIR, which aims to assist research units in their commercial endeavours. “What we want to do is package common functionality into simpler, more generic components for re-use in new CSIR software applications,” said Wessels.

Future benefits

The researchers hope that this approach will benefit future CSIR projects, Wessels said, adding that they were trying to funnel knowledge generated by the research units into user-friendly software applications.

“If this succeeds, it will take the burden of software development away from engineers and scientists, allowing them to focus on their research objectives,” he said. “Having an internal development capability, we believe that it will get software developers more in tune with what engineers and scientists want.”

Wessels said that in South Africa, development houses were oriented towards business and financial systems. “Few focus on developing specialised scientific software applications, and that is why we want to create this reusable software platform.”

The CSIR Sports Technology Centre will be marketing the new application to its existing customers, and hopes to expand the customer base globally.

SAinfo reporter

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