Sydney, Jan 17 (IANS) Now cricket fans can enjoy the game through the eyes of the umpires. Specially designed sunglasses for umpires will now act as cameras and will be used Wednesday night at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) for Fox Sports coverage of the Big Bash Twenty20.
The specially designed sunglasses are worth $100 and were invented by Brisbane-based Patrick Gerry. The glasses were trialled in Brisbane lower-grade cricket for 12 months and were also used secretly on a trial basis during some of the Big Bash matches.
The glasses are fitted with a micro high-definition camera about the size of a pea that is wired to a bigger battery, a transmitter and an aerial, which is kept in a pouch on the umpire’s belt. Eventually it will go wireless.
Fox Sports has spent more than $100,000 on improving the camera quality for the sunglasses and are also investing a huge amount on the world-first technology, including trials with a 75cm remote-controlled helicopter carrying a tiny camera. The chopper-cam will hover above the players and transmit live pictures but insurance and health and safety issues have delayed its launch.
But Fox Sports officials feel that the sunglass cameras will change the way the game is viewed all over the world.
The new sunglass cameras will allow the TV viewers get the best possible angle for LBW appeals and run outs. Sound is also available but umpires have requested the network’s officials for the microphones to be muted for live play.
Fox Sports chief executive Patrick Delaney and new director of sport Gary Burns are at the helm of this innovative drive.
“We’re here to create entertainment that’s worth paying for. They’ve got to see the ball and Shane Warne’s hands as he delivers it,” Delaney was quoted as saying by The Herald Sun.
Burns said Cricket Australia (CA) will use some of the footage for reviews and appeals in the future.
“It’s brilliant stuff. Our viewers are going to love it. We’ve already got some great shots from the testing with (Perth Scorchers) Brad Hogg appealing and pleading with the umpire. It’s taking our viewers closer to the action than ever before,” he said.