A cricket ball embedded with a microchip stands to revolutionise cricket – and it is being developed in Victoria by renowned sports equipment innovator Kookaburra.
Kookaburra’s SmartBall has been in development with technology partner SportCor for the past two years and was revealed to the cricket world at a special launch in London on Saturday night.
The Moorabbin-based Kookaburra pioneered white and pink balls for use around the world and believes SmartBall has a future in Test cricket and top T20 leagues.
The key to SmartBall is a microchip embedded in the core which provides advanced, real-time data for players, coaches and viewers. The ball calculates speed at three points – release, pre-bounce and post-bounce.
A bowler will be able to release a delivery and then immediately look to his or her smartwatch and check the speed or degree of turn.
Data could be used just as readily by broadcasters or relayed direct to fans. Future capabilities include information on whether the bat has nicked a ball, whether the ball has hit the grass on low catches and improved tracking for DRS (decision review system).
The Kookaburra SmartBall joins other Victorian innovations in sports technology, including Catapult’s wearable performance trackers and Champion Data’s live performance-based stats. Australia’s sports technology exports were valued at $500 million in 2018, with around two-thirds generated by Victorian businesses.
The Andrews Labor Government has led trade missions to significant sport markets such as India and China to promote the state’s capabilities in sports technology, innovation and major events.
Established in 1890 and still family-owned, Kookaburra specialises in cricket and field hockey equipment and employs more than 200 people around the world including 80 who make balls at Moorabbin.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula
“Kookaburra is a terrific Victorian company with a record of world-leading innovation and SmartBall is a stunning example of its commitment to staying ahead of the pack.”
“Victoria is the home of innovation and that means we are creating the jobs of the future right now.” Quotes attributable to Kookaburra managing director Brett Elliot
“Kookaburra has been at the forefront of innovation in cricket, from the first ever white balls used under lights in World Series Cricket, through to the pink balls now used for day/night Tests.”
“The logical next step is to combine the data and analytics side of cricket that is becoming so critical to players, coaches and fans, with our traditional style of hand-making cricket balls.”