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The science behind the glowing stumps and bails in cricket

  • The technology behind cricket's newest invention, the LED stumps and bails.
Utsav Patodia
Modified 01 Apr 2018, 13:47 IST

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Zing bails

The One Day International Cricket World Cup in 2015 was a revelation for cricket fans and particularly for the ones who were also tech enthusiasts. The stumps and the bails were to be given a much-needed spruce up, with glowing LED lights added to the bails.

While some thought of it as an exercise in form rather than function, it was actually a result of years of research and a seamless confluence between mechanical and electrical engineering.

These are famously referred to as the Zing bails and the International Cricket Council had approved their use from July 2013. Most decisions rest on if the bails are completely dislodged from the rim or not. However, in most cases, it becomes a difficult task for umpires to determine clearly whether bails are dislodged from the top of the stump. This is where the Zing bails come to the rescue.

Invented by Bronte EcKermann, the director of an Australian company named Zing International, these bails glow as soon as they are dislodged from the rim of the stumps, thus eliminating any possible speculation questioning the integrity of the decisions.

Delving deeper into the engineering front of it, the sensors fitted inside the bails react in just 1/1000th of a second post the impact.

Following is the diagrammatic representation of the patent that has been filed by the company.

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Inside a stump bail!

As per the patent filed, the parts 44 and 48 are labelled as inductors.

To summarise the entire process, an inductive loop is created along with an inductive sensor, which detects any change in inductance. The lights glow as soon as a change is detected. Each bail has two inductive loops; one for each of the arms. These inductive loops fit perfectly on the rim of the stumps and as soon as a movement is detected from the stump rim, the bails glow.


Having said that, this is a draft from the patent that was filed in 2010, and even though the fundamental technology remains the same, the newer stumps use a microprocessor as compared to the analog circuit which was used in the earlier variety of the Zing stumps.

Zing stumps have completely changed the way we look at stumpings and run outs. Since both stumpings and run outs are dependent on whether or not the bails have been completely dislodged, and in case of close calls, two people might have divergent views, the use of zing bails helps in increasing accuracy to a great extent because the bails glow only when they are completely dislodged from the stump rims, thereby making it easier for the third umpires and spectators alike, while taking decisions.

While technology does govern a major part of contemporary cricket, the Zing bails seem to add a new "zing" to the game altogether!

Published 01 Apr 2018, 13:47 IST
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