Jack Leach’s no-ball to Steve Smith may well have been the tipping point in the 2019 Ashes series.
The off spinner gave Smith a reprieve on 118 in Manchester, overstepping the line as Smith edged the left-hander to slip.
Smith would go on to surpass 200, consequently taking the fourth Test and series away from England.
But imagine a scenario, where Smith isn’t called back to the crease and he arrives to the pavilion to learn that he had been dismissed by a no-ball.
Like this scenario, umpires in the modern game are relying upon technology to remove the ambiguity around no-balls in key moment of the match.
However, former Australian bowler Peter George believes he has created a way to solve cricket’s front-foot no ball conundrum.
George, who played one Test for Australia in India in 2010 has invented a device named MyCall; a front foot no-ball detector he’s labelled as the next generation of umpire assistance technology.
“It was December 2013 and I was at Adelaide watching Ryan Harris take the last wicket for Australia to go 2-0 up in the Ashes series.
“I’m jumping and celebrating that we’ve won an Ashes game and then we had to cut celebrations to check for a no-ball and it killed the moment for me.
“I had an instant where I thought; surely there’s a better way. Surely there’s a way of automatically doing this (calling no-balls) for the umpires.”
With a background in mechanical engineering, George is currently raising capital to develop MyCall so that it can be used in games.
He recently utilised the ACA’s Education Grants to pitch his brainchild to a room full of investors at the Australia SportsTech Conference in Melbourne.
Its purpose is simple.
The umpire will be under no obligation to watch the bowler’s front foot as they stride through the delivery crease. They can now dedicate their entire attention on the striker’s end and rely on technology to adjudicate front-foot no-balls.
Two devices on the side of the crease interact with a chip on the back of the bowler’s foot. If the bowler oversteps the mark, an umpire will get a notification to signal a no-ball.
A chip in the bowler's shoe and devices to the side of the crease communicate to alert the umpire if a no-ball has been bowled
And, it tells you to the exact measurement where the bowler’s foot landed on the crease.
“A key benefit is the fact that umpires can concentrate on the other end,” George said.
“If the umpires are concentrating at the other end, they make better decisions and there is less need for the DRS.
“And the follow up benefits to that are around fan engagement, without having to stop celebrating to check for a no-ball.
“It’s all about improving the flow of the game.”
“We saw in the IPL this year, that a missed no-ball on the final delivery literally effected the outcome for the game.
“As fans, we can see that the technology is there and there needs to be a better solution to detecting no-balls, and that’s what My Call is.”
It’s benefits also extend to aspiring and professional cricketers alike.
The data recorded measures impact force on the front foot. Something which can only be assessed through force plate technology in a lab environment.
It also provides intensity output data, which can be used for training programs, injury management and risk injury management.
“Because of that little device on the back of the shoe, we can pull out really specific data around the impact experienced by a fast bowler.
“There is 10-15 times of your body weight travelling through your delivery stride when you land.
"Being able to measure this impact across every delivery will allow players to better understand and manage their workloads and improve injury management, rehab and performance feedback."
George says that he expects to see a pilot program being run early next year with a view to having MyCall ready for commercial use late in 2020.
For more information head to MyCallNoBall.com and to find out how you could help MyCall become the most relied upon technology in world cricket, please reach out to Pete at firstname.lastname@example.org.