TODAY |

Microchipped cricket balls enter final stages of testing, could be introduced to professional game soon

A cricket ball with an embedded microchip could be the latest innovation to hit the Big Bash League this summer, with Kookaburra also keen to see it used at Test level soon.

The Australian ball manufacturer is in the final stages of testing a new product that could give it a leg up on rival Dukes, whose balls are used during series in England.

The SmartBall delivers instant statistics on speed - at release point, pre- bounce and post-bounce - that are more comprehensive and accurate than a normal radar.

It also measures revolutions at the same points, which is unprecedented in-game data for spinners.

Future plans are for the ball to assist the umpiring and Decision Review System (DRS) process by showing whether a ball has definitively hit the bat - or the grass, in the case of catches that are too close to call.

SportCor, a firm chaired by Michael Kasprowicz, teamed up with Kookaburra to make the innovation happen.

The companies are bullish that a SmartBall will be used in one of the world's many Twenty20 leagues in coming months, with the BBL firmly on their agenda.

If there are no hiccups at that level then international games will be the next step.

As opposed to stump microphones, this form of surveillance would help coaches and analysts at the highest level.

"Absolutely," England star Jos Buttler said, when asked if he would like to see it used in Tests.

"It'll be a great coaching tool and for viewers as well, it's amazing to see that instant feedback.

"It seems to behave exactly the same as a regular ball."

Ensuring the SmartBall is a like-for-like replica of a regular pill in match conditions loom as the ultimate test that will obviously

determine whether the International Cricket Council considers its use at the highest level.

Kasprowicz, Buttler and Marnus Labuschagne were on deck for Saturday's launch in the indoor nets at Lord's.

Kasprowicz, bowling off a few steps, unsurprisingly topped the speed charts.

"We should have got the St John Ambulance to sponsor the event. Hopefully there's no hamstring snapping," the 47-year-old former Test paceman laughed.