How the IPL Smart replay system works?

The BCCI has introduced a new technology 'Smart Replay System' in IPL 2024, which has proved to be beneficial so far with its accuracy and time-saving decisions.

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In IPL 2024, BCCI introduced a new review system called the 'Smart Replay System' in place of the earlier used Decision Review System'. The Smart Replay System aims to increase the efficiency, speed, and accuracy of the decision-making through new high-speed cameras placed around the stadium. With 31 matches already played in this year's IPL, this system has already shown its efficiency.

How the IPL Smart Replay System works?

Earlier, the TV broadcast director used to be the mediator between the TV umpire and Hawk-eye operators. Under the Smart Replay System, the TV umpire directly receives inputs from two Hawk-Eye operators. The TV umpire and the Hawk-eye operators will be sitting in the same room and the role of the TV broadcast director has been eliminated. Thus, the channel between the TV umpire and director has been cut-off.

The implementation of the Smart Replay System grants the TV umpire access to a broader range of visuals compared to before, such as split-screen images. Consider a scenario like a relay catch made mid-air by the first fielder near the boundary rope. Previously, broadcasters couldn't display a split screen showing both the fielder's feet and hands precisely at the moment of the catch. With the new system, a split screen can now illustrate to the umpire the exact moment of the catch or release of the ball, aligning with footage of the fielder's feet.

Under the Smart Review System, there are eight Hawk-Eye cameras positioned as follows: two on each side of the ground along the straight boundaries and two on each side square of the wicket. Prior to IPL 2023, Hawk-Eye cameras initially served for ball tracking and UltraEdge. Therefore, aside from verifying lbws and edges, the broadcaster mostly relied on their own camera footage for on-field referrals, including stumpings, run-outs, catches, and overthrows.

Likewise, with a split screen, it is now possible to determine, in the event of an overthrow resulting in four runs, whether the batsmen had crossed paths at the moment the fielder released the ball. Previously, the TV umpire lacked such precise visuals, mainly due to the broadcaster's inability to merge the two images effectively.

The most famous example of the overthrows going for four runs is in the 2019 World Cup final, where the ball hit a diving Ben Stokes during the latter stages of the match and went for four crucial runs. The TV umpire could not determine whether the batters had crossed paths when the fielder released the ball. Under the new system, the TV umpire has the direct access to such images.

Role of Smart Replay System in tricky catches

The Smart Review System offers enhanced clarity in scenarios where a catch is taken just above the turf. Previously, such referrals often led to debate over the TV umpire's decision, as the video evidence used was sometimes inconclusive. Under the previous system, the TV umpire would request the TV director to provide the best available angle to determine whether the ball had bounced before the fielder caught it or if the fingers were under the ball. Even with zoomed-in visuals, conclusive evidence was not always attainable.

Now, with the Smart Review System, Hawk-Eye immediately displays a single frame featuring images from front-on and side-on angles. This allows the TV umpire to selectively zoom in from a specific angle for further analysis.

In a recent video released by Indian Premier League, match referee Javagal Srinath and umpire Nitin Menon explained the working of Smart Replay System and its advantages in modern-day cricket.

Here is the video:


In T20 cricket, the speed of play is crucial, and the Smart Review System is designed to streamline the decision-making process to achieve the correct outcome in the shortest time possible. A notable example is lbw reviews. Previously, the protocol involved the TV umpire first examining Spin Vision footage, captured by a camera positioned outside the boundary on each side of the pitch, to assess if the ball was near the bat. If necessary, the TV umpire would then review UltraEdge to confirm no bat contact before proceeding to ball tracking.

Under the Smart Review System, if the Hawk-Eye operator identifies that the ball pitched outside the leg stump, they will immediately inform the TV umpire, who will then prioritize ball tracking without going through the other unnecessary steps. According to match referee Javagal Srinath, it is saving 8-9 minutes per innings, which can sometimes be 20 minutes in the whole game.

Role of Smart Replay System in determining waist-high no balls

Smart Replay System has proved beneficiary in determining the waist-high no balls as well. Under this process, a player's height is already measured during the photograph session. While checking the waist-high no balls, the ball trajectory is matched with the player's waist height, through which it is decided whether the ball is no-ball or not. For example, Suryakumar Yadav reviewed an umpire's decision which was given a fair ball on field. On replays, the ball tracker suggested that the trajectory of the ball was 0.98 metres above the ground while Suryakumar Yadav's waist height was 1.02 metres. Since the batter's waist height is more than the trajectory of the ball, it meant that the ball was well below the waist height and the umpires's decision was upheld.

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Javagal Srinath applauded the system and accepted that this system has brought more transparency in decision-making.

"I think IPL has really taken it in the right stride and brought transparency in the decision-making," Srinath said.

Umpire Nitin Menon too lauded the technology and believes it has been an excellent innovation.

"IPL has always been the flagbearer for innovations because it had DRS for wides and no-balls last year which was never tried before. BCCI was the first body to bring in this technology," Menon said.

"I feel that it has been a really good innovation because they understood that in a T20 game, wides and no-balls can be really crucial and it can be game-changing. At the end of the day, umpires don't want to be on the front page, it's always the players and their performance," Menon added.

There have been many controversial decisions before regarding the wides and no-balls which even resulted in determining the result of the match. The umpries had always been in the forefront of such decisions. Looking at this, the BCCI introduced the replays for wides and no-balls which has proved to be an effective decision so far.

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