From Coach to Captain

Strategy to tactics, real time all the time

Sports in this day and age with all the technology and analytics employed is like warfare. Side lines are the command and control centres, coaching staff akin to Generals, the team Captain a tactical commander on the field.  A match is a battle, a tournament a war, skirmishes are fought either between individuals of opposing sides like Tennis or between teams in football, cricket or hockey.

Coaching staff is getting up to date analysis on performance metrics, technique parameters, bio mechanics, the efficiencies and deficiencies, strengths and weaknesses of athletes. Then there is subjective data coming from the subject matter experts in the form of commentators, commenting on the game in real time also with the help of real time analytics.

We the spectators, we the Arm chair coaches listening to the commentaries and looking at the data displayed with a 30,000 foot view can almost look into the future, clenching our fists and gritting our teeth despairingly wish only if the captain of our favourite team out there in the middle of the field can see what we can.

It is true perspective matters, what the off-field coaching staff can see the in-field Captain may not. However how can the coaches get the 30 thousand foot view down to the Captain. In American football this information for each play comes to the Quarter back who is the play caller or equivalent to a Captain in cricket. The quarterback has a one way communications channel in the form of a ear peace embedded in the the helmet. The coaching staff gives the instruction on what play to call, the quarterback relays the instruction to rest of the team and an already choreographed play is put into practise. This is strategy translated into tactics communicated real time via a headset. American football is fast moving physical chess.

Cricket can do with something like this. As opposed to American football, cricket is a slow moving game even with its shortest twenty twenty form and doesn’t require play by play input from the coaching staff down to the quarterback in the field. However Cricket is still very technical and could benefit a great deal from real time input from the sidelines.
A communications ear piece in the Captain’s ear will only make the game more interesting and intense. There are not many sports that could benefit from this type of real time in-play input from the coaching staff, European football for example can definitely not benefit from this real time because it is too fluid and fast moving.

The International Cricket Council already approves a number of technical aids to enhance the Umpire’s decision making, hawk eye, snicko meter and other goal line kind of technologies. To make Cricket more appealing and interesting to an ever increasing tech savy crowd why not employ something similar to what they have across the pond in American football mentioned above, this will only help increase an ever shrinking fan base for Cricket. Cricket must evolve if it is to survive in the 21st Century and employing real time in-play tactical and strategic analysis communicated to the in-field Captain is just one facet of the 21st century Cricket.

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