How Data Analytics is Changing the Unpredictable Game of Cricket

What do you think? How do cricket gurus and experts predict – who the top teams are? which batsman has the better strike rate? which bowler has the best economy rate?

The answers to all the above questions and many more are generated with the help of Big Data Analytics in Cricket, which is now termed as “Criclytics”.

Criclytics’ is a brilliant blend of cricket and big data analytics empowering us to make accurate predictions for a game that is known to be unpredictable.

Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world with a fan base of 2.5 billion. In cricket, one has access to detailed data with results of every ball that has been thrown and every shot that has been played. This very detailed data is leveraged to plan game strategies and evaluate players efficiently so that they can stay ahead of the competition.

 Under the International Cricket Council (ICC), there are 10 full-time member countries, 57 affiliate member countries, and 38 associate member countries, which adds up to 105 member countries. We cannot imagine the amount of data that will be generated every day for 365 days with the ball-by-ball information of 5,31,253 cricket players in close to 5,40,290 cricket matches at 11,960 cricket grounds across the world.

The quantum of data at our disposal is growing significantly. By quantifying the precisions of game such as bowling actions, batting stances, delivery placements on the pitch, etc., we have all the ingredients needed to deploy data analytics in full form.

Analytics can drive revenues and change the game, and IPL (Indian Premier League) is a living example. In IPL, data analytics plays a huge role in devising strategies for every player and team. During the players auction, team owners use analytical insights to choose combination of their teams like players weakness and strength, batsman metrics against spinners & fast bowlers, home conditions, etc.

KKR used an analytical tool in IPL 2014 to choose the best players and the right bid price in the players auction, derive post game analytics and drive fan engagement. Similarly, ICC used 40 years of historical world cup data to give out the best cricket predictions and enhance the experience of the viewers at World Cup Cricket 2015.

Analytics is also important for stadium managers and broadcasters. Data analytics helps stadium managers to optimize resource allocation by tracking the correlation between audience attendance and team profiles, team popularity and seasonality. These insights further help managers to provide the stadium audience with a better cricket match viewing experience.

Commentators now have access to vast historical data such as player selection, team decisions, pitch analysis, player relationships, etc. and these insights are further used by them to engage the audience before, during and after the match, which adds into garnering audience interest and keeps them entertained.

Providers have come with advanced and refined methods to capture this enormous load of data. CCTV cameras, ultra HD drones, sensors, wearables, etc. keep track of each and every aspect of the stadium, pitch conditions, cricket player’s performance, trainings, calorie intake, fan interactions and many more in an effort for improved performance on the pitch. 

A very recent example is 2017 Champions Trophy.

The Champions trophy witnessed advanced pitch analysis and bat swings profiling which was first in the history of cricket.

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The Intel Falcon 8 Drone equipped with HD and infrared cameras performed advanced pitch analysis before every match. It was specially designed to offer rich visual data on pitch conditions such as grass cover, grass health and topology. Commentators used this data to analyse the pitch during live broadcasts of the match.

sensor bat.jpg

A special coin size bat sensor was developed by Intel to measure data in real-time for every stroke a batsman play. With this technology, parameters like back-lift, bat speed and follow-through can be tracked for every cricket stroke. Several batsmen used these bat sensors in the games at the 2017 Champions Trophy, enabling new insights on stroke play.

There are no limits to the possibilities of the benefits of Big Data in the world of cricket. Now is the age of data analytics which is reshaping the overall cricket experience, driving fan engagement and triggering technology providers to create interesting suite of products which can make the game of cricket bigger beyond imagination in this multi-screen era.

To know more about use of Analytics in Sports, check out ProBaseline’s Sports Analytics course here


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