“We have been the performance analysts of the Indian Cricket team since 2003 and have played a small but a significant role in the success story of the team,” says Ramky, founder of SportsMechanics, a sports intelligence firm
NASSCOM EMERGEOUT Conclave Chennai has cricket and tech on its agenda
Indian cricket team’s performance analyst, Subramanian Ramakrishnan (Ramky), is the founder of Sports Mechanics, which converts raw data into intelligence to enhance the performance of cricketers and other sporting professionals. The services of SportsMechanics have helped top Indian players like Sachin Tendulkar, Virendra Sehwag, and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni improve their performance. But Ramky modestly says in a chat with Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, chief evangelist, that all four IPL champions are his clients and his firm has contributed to the success of Indian Cricket Team since 2003, yes, including that huge World Cup triumph this year.
The NASSCOM EMERGEOUT Conclave (7th edition, Chennai, 7 June 2011) has included cricket and tech in its agenda for SMBs. The focus of the Conclave is on the end users of technology. Riding on the booming cricket wave and continued success of the Indian Cricket Team, the organizers have laid specific emphasis on how technology is used to enhance sports performance and the opportunities that may be available for SMBs in the sports arena, especially cricket.
Ramky shares his thoughts on cricket and technology.
YourStory: In the context of India becoming a hub of technology services for companies worldwide, when do you think the application of sports in technology started in India?
Ramky: Technology has been used in sports broadcasting for quite some time. Application of technology in sports coaching started around the year 2000 when SportsMechanics introduced video-based learning in sports and performance analytics. Even today 99% of the coaching is done with naked eye and SportsMechanics is trying to change that to visual-based coaching methods.
YS: Before we go further, can you explain what does Sports Mechanics do?
Ramky: SportsMechanics provides technology solutions and services for sports organisations. SMIPL are in space of sports analytics and high-performance consulting and were the pioneers in introducing video analysis for sports in India. SportsMechanics also helps sports organisations take the sports closer to the fans by making use of the new media. SportsMechanics have worked with multiple sports like cricket, golf, squash, athletics, volleyball, badminton, tennis, table tennis. In cricket, SportsMechanics are the market leaders having worked with the BCCI, International Cricket Council, Asian Cricket Council, Sri Lankan Board, Bangladesh Cricket Board. We have implemented our solutions in almost 22 countries around the world. We are also working as high-performance consultants to 5 IPL teams. All the 4 IPL edition champions are our clients. We have been the performance analysts of the Indian Cricket team since 2003 and we have played a small but a significant role in the success story of the team.YS: Cricket is a religion in India and the slowest motion action replays have added thrill to watching cricket on television. Can you tell us how technology is leveraged in various ways – assessing performance of players, formulating strategies, keeping fitness, viewing pleasure and in other areas you feel as relevant.
Ramky: In today’s sporting arena, which is highly competitive, every little detail counts and that could be the difference between winning and losing. Yes, sports has a large element of uncertainty which is the whole romantic bit about it. But it is getting more scientific by the day. Players look at their opponents to see how they can counter-attack them. They also look at their own performances to see how they can improve. Formulating strategies is all about attention to detail and we try and provide that to teams/players. Not only in game-strategy, but technology has played a major role in a players fitness too. Bio-mechanics has advanced quite a bit and today the fitness regimes are highly customised depending on a player’s role and physical attributes. With regard to today’s sports fan, technology has been a boon beyond description. Super-slow motion replays, multiple camera angles (sometimes even customised camera angles), live-TV rewind, and so on have made the viewer the boss. Add to this the wealth of information available on the Internet, then it gives us an idea about how well-informed today’s fan is. This of course puts a lot of pressure on the sports administrators to make the sport more innovative and entertaining in order to retain and enlarge their fan base. SMIPL strongly believes that we need to provide a clear value-add to the fan in order to gain his favour. In that respect, we believe in providing novel information that he can access quite easily and also serve it in a way that is easily digestible by him.
YS: The third umpire is now a part of umpiring decision making. “Going upstairs” with the ground umpire indicating a square has become routine in doubtful decisions. How does technology play a part in umpire’s decision making, especially how a nick to the wicket keeper is assessed?
Ramky: Technology can play a huge role in supporting an umpire in his decision-making. With sports becoming a high-stakes game, it is imperative that the decisions taken are accurate. And if technology is going to make that happen, then it is fine. A combination of technologies is required to make sure that the decision support system provided by technology is fool-proof. There are technologies like hawk-eye, hot-spot, snickometer, etc. that need to be used in tandem to ensure a wholesome feedback mechanism.
YS: How has technology transformed cricket, to put it in a nutshell?
Ramky: Technology has transformed cricket in many ways and have helped in making the sport more popular. The fans today have better broadcasts with multiple camera angles, super slow motion, hawk-eye, hot spot, etc. The fans have access to the internet to watch live streams, VOD. It has made the players more athletic hence bringing out better performances. It has made strategizing more precise hence making matches more competitive. It has enhanced the fan’s experience hence making it more commercial. Overall the contribution has been quite positive. The fact is that technology is something that is developing as we speak. So its contribution will continue too.