Kensington Oval could be changing with the use of technology

Chief Executive Officer of KOMI, Ben Toppin

Domestic cricket at Kensington Oval could be changing with the use of technology.

Chief Executive Officer of KOMI, Ben Toppin, told Barbados TODAY that among the initiatives they were exploring was the possibility of specialised point of view cameras on batsmen and even umpires to give spectators a new “look” at the game.

“I have not pushed it because one, it is not sanctioned for international cricket at this point in time, and secondly, I don’t want to be taking the feed when the umpire comes off the field. I am still researching on the right equipment that will allow us to stream that video, so we see what the umpire sees…, but so we have the option, if it is something clear cut, of sending clear footage of what the umpire sees and maybe what the batsman sees. We are seeing something, but maybe he is seeing something else. We may see that ball rising towards the batsman.

“You are probably not going to get a sanction for that in international cricket anytime soon, but it has always been my view that any match at Kensington, wherever possible, we should have footage of everything and because we don’t have the capital to invest in the large cameras and so on, that should not stop us from recording the actual activities of the batsmen,” he said, adding it could help coaches and batsmen in improving the game as well.

He said he remembered Alan Stanford-supported games putting mics on fielders and he wanted to take that concept further to find a way to bring the spectator even closer to the game.

“The other consideration is that there is a reason we hold the board static when the bowler is running in. You don’t want anything that is going to distract the man at slip. So we might want to cut it at some point in time, but we will work it out. The details of how to show the spectators what the batsmen see without distracting the game. We may put it on a delay, so that just after he hits the ball, they see what he saw.

The point is that we should be in a position, and technology can help us with that, to see everything the batsman sees in a domestic game and capture everything the empire sees.”

Toppin said though that he was still exploring “the right components that will enable us to transmit to the screen in a cost effective manner”, maintaining that it was doable.

He said already there were countries coming to Barbados to see about how officials managed the big screen during major cricket tournaments, adding that this was all part of the spectator enjoyment KOMI was trying to enhance.

Most of the spectators at Twenty20 games, he said, were not necessarily die-hard cricket fans, but families who came for the atmosphere and the entertainment.

As such he argued that anything that could make the spectator feel more involved, including seeing themselves on the big screen, could help to grow the game and entertain the crowds that attended. He recalled taking the Barbados big screen system to Antigua to show how it worked there, and even getting enquiries from Trinidad about the system.

“What they have to understand is that our system is not a cricket system, that is not what was purchased. We would have integrated other elements into it, to make it what it is.

That screen is very, very important to the spectator experience. So we had to modify it – start with a basic system and modify it to be a little more in keeping with what you would find at a modern facility, be it cricket or anything else.”(LB)


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