SA software tracks umpires

28 July 2005

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is using South African-developed software to monitor decisions made by international umpires.

According to the Council, more than 3 500 umpiring decisions are made in test matches and one-day international (ODI) series each year. About 90% on average are correct.

However, since on-field decisions are based on an umpire’s judgement, controversial calls will feature in all matches.

In an effort to ensure that umpiring standards are upheld and that decisions during a match are consistent and accurate, the ICC makes use of a sophisticated video-based umpire assessment system known as Umpirestat, devised by SA’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

All international cricket matches in which elite umpires are involved are recorded on video tape, which is subsequently sent to the ICC along with the referee and captains’ reports on the umpires’ performance. Umpirestat then permits a frame-by-frame analysis of all the calls made during a match

According to Dr Tony Kirkbride, manager of the CSIR’s Sports Technology Centre, an analyst extracts the video clips of all decisions, including any controversial calls, made by the umpires. These decisions can then be reviewed by the assessor or individual umpire.

The ICC reviews the video clips to determine the accuracy of the umpires’ decisions and provides them with a comprehensive report.

These assessments provide the basis on which the ICC’s Umpires and Referees Manager is able to discuss any areas of concern with the umpires directly and provide feedback underpinned with video footage.

The CSIR developed the software from Crickstat, a programme its devised to analyse cricket matches.

The ICC currently assesses umpires on five areas: correct decisions, coping with pressure, player management, communication, and application of regulations.

Umpirestat underpins this process by providing accurate and objective data on decisions.

Source: Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

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