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How does Hawk-eye work?
Around the Academy:

A graphic of how Hawk-eye works
Hawk-eye makes lbw decisions a lot clearer
Unlike a lot of sports, cricket leads the way when it comes to using all the latest technology.

The Academy thought it was about time to explain how a few of these cool gadgets actually work.


It's every umpire's nightmare and every commentator's dream. Like it or not, Hawk-eye is here to stay.

It first hit our screens in 2001 and has been helping to unravel the mysteries of the lbw decision ever since.

Hawkeye uses technology originally used for brain surgery and missile tracking.

It uses six specially placed cameras around the ground to track the path of the ball, from when it was released from the bowler's hand right up until when it's dead.

Australian legend Dennis Lillee in action during the 70s
Dennis Lillee is not a fan of Hawk-eye

The images captured by the camera are then turned into a 3D image by a special computer to show how the ball will travel on an imaginary cricket pitch.

It's so good it can track any types of bounce, spin, swing and seam. And it's about 99.99% accurate too.

So you can see on the TV whether the ball would have gone on to hit or miss the stumps on an lbw decision.

But while the viewers get to see the replay of an lbw decision several times, the umpires only get to see it once - and they have to make their minds up instantly.

And not everyone is a fan of Hawk-eye. Australian fast bowling legend Dennis Lillee believes it's no substitute for the ultimate computer - the human brain.

The man who invented Hawkeye, Dr Paul Hawkins is a former Buckinghamshire player.

And he's a pretty clever bloke too - he's got his PHD in artificial intelligence!

Hawk-eye has a couple of other useful features.

A graphic of Hawk-eye in action, courtesy of Hawkeye Innovations
Hawk-eye works out where each ball pitches

Because of the six cameras tracking the ball, Hawkeye picks up the exact spot where the ball pitches.

It can also create a "grouping" on a pitch to show exactly where a bowler has bowled to a batsman.

Hawkeye also measures the speed of the ball from the bowler's hand, so it will tell you exactly how much time the batsman has to react to a ball.

The ECB has installed the Hawk-eye system at the new Academy centre in Loughborough so both batsmen and bowlers can have their techniques analysed.

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Open Quote
There's no way Hawk-eye can tell if a delivery is going to skid a bit more than normal or hit a crack, or a damp or worn patch, or a bit of grass on the wicket
Close Quote
Dennis Lillee
Australian speedster

:: Hawk-eye
:: England and Wales Cricket Board

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