Technology gives India the edge over Sri Lanka's bowlers

AttentionSome blog posts contain unedited fan-submitted content. Create an account to start your own blog.

Lasith Malinga's performances against India have been below par.I recall watching a documentary on Ajantha Mendis where Subramanian Ramakrishnan from Sports Mechanics India, a company that has assisted the Indian cricket board with video analysis technology, explained how the Indians managed to work out Sri Lanka's mystery spinner Mendis.

Ramakrishnan utilised video footage to demonstrate how they had identified and mapped Mendis's mannerism to each of his variations. India had spent hours analysing Mendis's every move from his behaviour at the start of his run-up to subtle changes in his bowling action. Imagine being able to pick Mendis's carrom ball at the start of his run up? Threat neutralised.

Sri Lanka's only remaining match-winner with the ball Lasith Malinga, one of the best ODI and T20 bowlers in the game currently, has been ineffective against India; have the Indians worked him out as well?

Could it be that India, like they did with Mendis, have identified a pattern or a change in action that helps them pick what length and speed Malinga is about to bowl? Perhaps not. Maybe it's a case of identifying the best scoring areas against him with the use of technology. It is true that a bowler with an action like Malinga's can be erratic and have the odd day off. But Malinga has earned a reputation of being accurate, miserly (he is often referred to as a death-over specialist) and a match-winner. Therefore, his poor showing against India has become extremely hard to digest for many Sri Lankans.

ODI and T20 cricket these days is immensely competitive, any team can literally win a match on their day. In what is a closely-fought sport today, teams with better resources are investing heavily in gaining a competitive edge through technology. Video analysis of the opposition's bowlers is just one tool out of many that is available to teams like Australia, England and India. These teams have gone from a single individual working as a video analyst to recruiting a number of individuals to form a team of video performance analysts in order to give their players an advantage on the field. But what appears to be the key to it all is having an individual behind the program, like Ramakrishnan, who understands the game and the team's needs to dissect the wealth of information technology provides.

Earlier this year, India introduced cognitive video-based coaching to their domestic coaching structure.

The technology allows coaches to instantly access replays of deliveries on a hand-held device such as an iPad to provide more informed advice to players during a practice session. It can provide replays of a delivery from several different cameras, and can be used to monitor six nets simultaneously.

According to former Indian fast bowler Javagal Srinath, who is now the secretary of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, "in 10 years coaching will be meaningless without technology like this."

The gap between international cricket and Sri Lanka's domestic cricket meanwhile continues to widen. It is no secret that Sri Lanka's domestic structure is weak and first-class cricketers from the island take longer to acclimatise at the highest level, when compared to nations with strong state and county competitions. With technology giving Sri Lanka's opposition an advantage and Sri Lanka's financially-crippled cricket board unable to invest in similiar technology, the next generation of players will more than likely be facing an uphill battle when their turn comes.

For many years prior to the '96 World Cup win, Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva formed the backbone of the team. The duo were often the top scorers in most matches, whilst the the rest of the batting showed promise but collapsed. When the likes of Sanath Jayasuriya, Hashan Tillakaratne, Roshan Mahanama and Asanka Gurusinha began contributing regularly and when Muittiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas were able to form a competent bowling attack, things began to change for the minnows. By the mid-90s, Sri Lanka had more than just a couple of players forming the backbone of the team and the transformation to World Cup champions was taking shape. But what's in store for Sri Lanka in the next decade when their mainstays retire?

Life after Muralitharan has been tough but it may only get harder. The likes of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Lasith Malinga – the backbone of the Sri Lankan team – may not have a Jayasuriya-like extended shelf life. Sri Lanka's next generation of players, who are faced with a board that continues to fall into massive debt, cannot expect their coaching standards to match those in India and Australia any time soon either. Future Sri Lankan cricketers will not only be battling their traditional demons – seamer-friendly conditions and highly-skilled opposition – they will also be pitted against opponents who, with the aid of technology, are better prepared than they are.

Comments

UppercuT's picture
Member since:
19 October 2011
Last activity:
8 hours 3 min

seriously good article and somthing SLC shud look into..

@hilal u ask the question whether the indians have figured out malinga?
i think they HAVE. reason for me saying this is the fact dat indian batsmen like kholi, raina & dhoni have PICKED the 'slower ball' of malinga in recent matches and furthermore hit it for six(even in last match raina did it)with an alarming consistency.
if u look closely malinga delivers the slower ball at slightly higher angle(hence the release point is higher) compared to his normal 'side arm' action(it s impossible bowl an off cutter with arm so low). so when batsman sees he releases the ball at a slightly higher point, they expect the slower ball.

in murali's case, it was different cus even batsman PICKED his variations, PLAYING those variations was a totally different matter since he spun it a lot. it was bit like malinga's reverse swinging yorker(pickin it and playing it two different things)but of late malinga's yorker doesnt seem so lethal as they use two cricket balls, less reverse swing in the yorker,easier to put bat to ball!!!

ps: think aussies used the technology to analyse R.Ashwin, and now they play him superbly getting 60-70 runs from him each time. especially david hussey really targeted him during cb series., think we shud do the same

(Last edited by UppercuT on July 23, 2012 - 03:52)
Marcian's picture
Member since:
8 December 2010
Last activity:
5 weeks 1 day

Good piece, Hilal. I definitely think that India has worked out Malinga and, to be brutally honest, he's a liability as a bowler against them on flat tracks.

And, it's not only technology which has helped to work out Malinga: Five seasons of IPL is probably a contributing factor (not the main and only reason) although Mahela denies the fact.

Hilal's picture
Member since:
20 November 2008
Last activity:
4 hours 21 min

Thanks for the comment, Uppercut_7.

India have also seen a lot of Malinga of late. They may just be getting accustomed to him.

Hilal's picture
Member since:
20 November 2008
Last activity:
4 hours 21 min

Thanks, Marcian.

This is an interesting video on how India is also using real-time technology during a match to pass on tips and strategies to the guys on the field.

http://vimeo.com/5714665

raggy's picture
Member since:
23 June 2012
Last activity:
1 year 37 weeks

wonder where was those technology when india were touring england and australia lol,so im not sure about the technology but i think india have mental edge over some of our senior players like sanga,mahela,malinga, they just dont believe they can beat Indians and dilshan keep throwing his wicket away when we play against india,, its funny to say but i think our senior players have some fear to indians like we used to have when we play against Australia,, with these so called senior players we lost like 6 back to back bilateral series to india and tri series,asia cups world cups to go with that, wonder why cant we try a new look team against india, no point of keeping senior players if they cant find a way to beat india,,,

kk_mix412's picture
Member since:
4 August 2012
Last activity:
39 weeks 2 hours

ok. pls tell srilanka board does not have the money to afford technical expenses for the team? ha ha

sachi's picture

If SLC has the money they should spend on a quality english language class for our friend kk_mix412 in London because he keeps on embarrassing himself whenever he try to insult someone with poor english.

kk_mix412's picture
Member since:
4 August 2012
Last activity:
39 weeks 2 hours

Thank you. I would love to take that classes.come along if you wanna join too.

Really i didn't knew that my one grammatical mistake will fetch me such huge reward.:-x

sachi's picture

Forget grammar, start with punctuation marks.
Mistakes hardly reward you, it is a donation.

sachi's picture

After all what are u doing here? u should be watching ind vs pak. why? Cant watch?

Post new comment

Note
All anonymous comments are moderated.
  • Avoid abusive remarks and personal attacks.
  • Avoid posting unrelated links.
  • Avoid vulgar or obscene language.
Already a member? Log-in now. Not a member? Sign up for a new account.
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
Enter each letter you see in the box below. It helps us prevent automated submissions from spammers.