Analytics in Cricket

Cricket and data analytics

Sports is an area where analytics market is witnessing a huge growth. Cricket is a sport where data science, machine learning and AI finds major applications. In a sport like cricket with many countries, clubs and players, the amount of data generated is huge. The game already relies on mathematical formulations such as Duckworth–Lewis (D/L) method for calculating or resetting the target score for the team batting second, when the game is interrupted due to bad weather or any other situations. Machine learning techniques such as neural networks and support vector machines could increase the accuracy of the target score.

Major instances

Spektacom Technologies is a start-up company by Anil Kumble, former captain of the Indian cricket team. In October 2018, the company revealed a new product – Power Bat. Power Bat is a sticker which could be stuck on any bat. Power Bat provides data about a player’s performance based on ball’s speed, impact, and twist. While hardware part was developed by Spektacom, software including analytics was designed and developed by Microsoft. Azure Sphere, an operating system by Microsoft for IoT applications, process the captured data from the bat and analyses it to give insights. The output could be viewed through a mobile phone also.

Microsoft has also built a machine learning platform for predicting target scores in cricket when there is a weather interruption.  The platform provides insights by considering several attributes such as cricket grounds, game conditions and weather.

In September 2018, Cricket Australia, the governing body of professional and amateur cricket in Australia, partnered with a video analytics start-up known as Gameface for tracking ball’s trajectory and speed and to provide predictive recommendations for performance across several aspects of the game.

Conclusion

Sports analytics and smart stadium is expected to aid the adoption of analytics in Cricket. Currently the AI and ML applications in cricket are in nascent stages, unlike football which uses data science and AI extensively. The future of analytics in cricket is bright since it could alter the game play and could help coaches and managers to take decisions quicker. Future would witness start-ups and giants like IBM and Microsoft joining hands with cricket boards and associations for a smarter game of cricket.

-Arjun Das,
Senior Research Analyst -ICT,
Infoholic Research