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Sunday, June 9, 2019

Zing bails fail, do not fall ! ~ even when bowled !!

At the time of posting this @ 9.35 pm – David Warner just got out holding out to Bhuvneswar Kumar off Chahal in somewhat uncharacteristic 56 off 84 balls chasing 353 !  .. .. how much is 5 out of 14 = 35.714285714286%  i.e., the frequency of occurrence !!

Energy, enthusiasm, or liveliness =  ‘Zing’.  In 1980s – on Poonamalle High Road, after Arun Hotel, before DG Vaishnav college, as one crossed Govt Sidha hospital, was ‘Goldspot’ factory -  ‘goldspot – the zing thing’ – was the catchy tune advertisement.   Regular Cricket views know it too well – when the delivery or throw or the keeper’s glouse hits the stumps – and when the bails goes off, they flash aluminous red. They are not ordinary wooden bails but ‘zing bails’.    Traditionally stumps and bails are made from wood, but the new flashing wickets are made from a composite plastic, which are embedded with LED lights.The use of flashing wickets in international matches has been in vogue for more than 5 years now.   A bail is only completely dislodged when both spigots have separated from their stump grooves. A microprocessor in each Zing detects when BOTH spigots have become dislodged from the stump grooves. The Zing illuminates within 1/1000th of a second.

Cricket has always embraced technology .. .. .. .. .. technology too can fail !  ~ what happened in IPL quite a few times has happened in World Cup 2019 too.  In IPL, MS Dhoni inside-edged a Jofra Archer shorter one that rolled on to the stumps. Dhoni was on 0 and went on to make a match-winning 75* off 46 balls.

·         June 9, 2017, will be remembered in cricketing circles for years to come as the day when Asian minnows Afghanistan and Bangladesh pulled off sensational upsets over their more pedigreed opponents in the form of West Indies and New Zealand respectively in the 50-over format.  Afghanistan’s 63-run victory over West Indies was, the match at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, St Lucia,  the game was played with no bails on the stumps at both ends as strong winds made it virtually impossible for the bails to be in place.

·         Some web searches reveal that the first laws of the game  were laid down in 1744, but  the wicket consisted of two stumps with a solitary bail atop.   Have heard of an interesting anecdote, when   WG Grace was  clean bowled,  not the bails, the stump uprooted, he quipped  'they've come here to see me bat, not you umpire.' Grace, with two public benefits as an amateur that made him the richest professional cricketer in history, was an eminent Victorian and an enormous cheat.

Now getting back to that ‘zing bails’ – they do not only provide excitement but also added precision, especially for Stumpings and run-0uts.  The rules of cricket say that a batsman is out if they are beyond their batting crease when the stumps are "broken" - that is, when the bails are knocked off the stumps. Both ends of the bail have to come apart from the stumps. However, it can be hard for an umpire to detect this in real time.  The new equipment, known as the Zing wicket system, the stumps and bails will flash the moment contact is broken. It was developed by Bronte Eckermann, a former Australian grade cricketer who was inspired by one of his daughter's toys, which was roughly the size of a cricket bail and contained LED lights

It has become one of the talking points of the World Cup: the story of the immovable bails![you plant the wickers (stumps) hard but do not cement the bails !]  -  Five times now the ball as clipped, or even clunked, the stumps only for the zing bails to stay in their groove. It follows similar incidents at this year's IPL and had been seen as far back as the 2015 World Cup. The ICC say that the weight of the zing bails, which have flashing lights built into them, is not an issue with them coming in at somewhere between the weight of traditional bails and the heavy versions umpires carry for windy days.

Watching Cricket, one always thought the likes of Mitchell Starc, Jasprit Bumrah, Oshane Thomas, Jefra Archer, Lockie Ferguson, Kagiso Rabada, and some more are bowling so fast, that the bails could fall on their own with the balls whizzhing past the stumps and perhaps there is no need to hit them even !!  ~ but factually they are not falling even when getting hit is the moot Q .. how long are we going to continue with this sad spectacle – today David Warner inner edged Bumrah to his stumps when on ‘0’ but went on to make 56 !!     Ball innocuously rolling out slowly, and bails not getting dislodged is understandable but when some one is bowled but yet continues to play and makes run, just because bails have not fallen off – needs either change in equipment or change in rules or both !

In this World cup, Adil Rashid was aghast when Quinton de Kock, tried reverse sweep from outside leg  - zing bails did not come off, ball went for 4 ! Boult express to Karunaratne brushed the stumps, zing bails did not come off.   Mitchell Starc had the same agony, Chris Gayle being the batsman, Mohammad Saifuddin survived against Ben Stokes and today .. ..  David Warner dragged back a Bumrah delivery8 onto the stumps, but the bails refused  to budge. The balls hit the base of leg stump courtesy a deflection off the boot, but Warner could continue playing ! 

Before concluding, Australian opener David Warner is meticulously preparing for the tougher battles ahead in the World Cup by using a new device on his bat a sensor that stores important data like backlift angle and maximum bat speed. ICC had approved the usage of bat sensor back in 2017 but none of the international batsmen have used it in matches. A Bengaluru based company has introduced its version of sensor cap named 'Bat Sense' which Warner has been using in practice to collate data to counter the likes of Bumrah. The sensor chip is fixed on the top of the bat handle. Till the time batsman is batting, the data generated on the chip gets stored in a mobile app through 'cloud storage'. The technical data consists of aspects such as power index, maximum bat speed, rotational angle of the wrists, backlift angle, bat start angle (whether the bat is coming straight or from first slip angle).

Warner's bat sensor has revealed some interesting insights about how he is doing. His bat speed is believed to be 79 kmph. The data collected could prove to be useful for professional players as they will have a reference point.  Though it comes from an Indian Company – it appears that none of Indian players are using the bat sensor !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9th June 2019.

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