In recent years, cricket has been influenced by technology in a big way. Hawk-Eye, Decision Review System (DRS), Snickometer and Hot Spot are just some of the innovations that have helped improve the accuracy of decision-making in cricket.
One such recent innovation in cricket is the flashing stumps and bails. The LED-enabled wickets, powered by low-voltage batteries, help umpires during a close runout or a stumping call besides also helping the broadcasters make the game more appealing visually.
There is a microprocessor that is attached to each bail that detects the separation between the bails and stumps. The bails illuminate within one-thousandth of a second.
However, technology has its price and such devices don’t always come cheap. And when Arshdeep Singh broke the stumps in an Indian T20 League match 2023 between Punjab Kings and Mumbai Indians with his lethal deliveries not once but twice, the price of stumps used in Indian T20 League, reportedly around Rs 30 lakhs per set, became the talk of the town.
Why are stumps in Indian T20 League so expensive?
Earlier, It was difficult even for a third umpire to tell if the bails were completely dislodged or not from a normal set of stumps during a close runout or stumping call.
While Rs 30 lakh may seem like a lot of money for three sticks or a set of stumps with bails, the fact that it helps in making accurate decisions in cricket makes it valuable for the cash-rich leagues and international cricket tournaments around the world.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), however, doesn’t buy the stumps all the time. They reportedly have a contract with the Australian company - Zing International Pte Ltd - and lease the wickets for the Indian T20 League and international matches hosted by India.
The flashing stumps and bails were introduced in Indian T20 League for the first time in 2016.
For Indian T20 League 2022, BCCI signed a contract with Zing International Pte Ltd for Rs 2.184 crore. In all, 74 matches were played that season and the cost of stumps for each match came at around Rs 2.95 lakh. The LED bails used in Indian T20 League could separately cost around Rs 50,000.
The International Cricket Council (ICC), meanwhile, used the flashing stumps and bails for the first time in 2014 during the ICC T20 World Cup in Bangladesh after testing it in Australia’s Big Bash League. Since then, it has been an integral part of cricket tournaments around the world.
The cost of LED-enabled stumps, however, differs depending on brands, design, and other factors. Bails used in domestic leagues could cost around Rs 4,000.
All in all, there’s no escaping the fact that technology and innovations come at a price. However, as long as they aid in correct decision-making and further development of the game in the right direction, there can be no denying that it is a price worth paying.
Photo credit: Alamy