Data has transcended a number of industries, helping companies, athletes and even politicians perform better.
Cricket, England’s national sport and India’s most popular pastime, has become one of the word’s most lucrative games. The Indian Premier League is now valued at $7.2 billion, making it one of the most profitable leagues in the world.
It’s also one of the most data-rich sports in the world, with Hawk-Eye a longstanding partner. Used mainly to officiate LBW violations, cricket was one of the first sports to adopt technology to help officiate matches.
When England’s cricket team crashed out of this year’s World Cup in Australia, they were accused of being lacklustre and not up to the level of previous teams which had gone through to the final.
England’s Head Coach Peter Moores caused a social media backlash when he reflected on his side’s defeat by saying, ‘We will have a look at the data’. Although I am sure some would see Moores’ comments as justifiable or even positive, many believed that he should spend less time looking at his computer and more time actually coaching his players.
The English cricket team’s first foray into data was in 2005 when they beat Australia to reclaim the Ashes. Reflecting on that victory, Damian Smith, the head of IT at the England and Wales Cricket Board joked, ‘I rather tenuously claim to have won the Ashes in 2005’.
Now, the English Cricket Board (ECB) uses data to analyse almost every aspect of the game, whether that be looking at the angle at which a ball is bowled or the consistency of a batsman’s shots.
Smith, who joined the ECB a couple of years ago after stints in banking and defence, sees the importance of data continuing to rise and whilst he doesn’t think that we’ll get to a stage where data is picking teams for coaches, he sees it impacting the sport in a positive manner.
The use of data and analytics in cricket demonstrates the amount of traction the technology has. As an extension of this, it’s predicted that amateur teams could start to look into analytics as well, allowing players at the grassroots level to get used to analytics before they hit the big-time.
With this in mind, it seems that there really is no limit to the impact that analytics could have.