The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Replay software bats for Team India

New Delhi, Dec. 13: Don’t be surprised if Greg Chappell thanks the Microsoft software, Windows XP Media Center, too, along with the Irfan Pathans and Anil Kumbles after tomorrow’s play ends.

He almost did it this evening. As soon as Sri Lankan skipper Marvan Atapattu got out, Microsoft and the Indian cricket team called a news conference, to be attended by Chappell, captain Rahul Dravid and vice-captain Virender Sehwag. But it was called off by stumps.

The Indian team and Microsoft declined to give reasons for the last-minute cancellation; but the joke was that they saw the future of the match on a Windows XP Media Center PC.

Well, the software doesn’t really show the future ' but that’s about all it can’t do. It can, most crucially, go on recording the action even as a user presses pause, rewind, forward or play back.

This means a player or coach can record a piece of play and can immediately watch a replay ' or several replays ' while simultaneously recording the live action. Or, to put it differently, he doesn’t have to wait till a recess or break in play to watch a replay ' he can do it instantly.

“The retention level (of a player) is much higher when the feedback is given immediately,” said S. Ramakrishnan, IT analyst for Rahul Dravid’s side.

The Indian cricket team ' and its rivals from other countries ' have used several kinds of software to analyse players’ performance and mistakes. Windows XP Media Center, with its considerable advantages, is the latest.

Here’s how it works: a camera in a stump is connected to the PC, which then replays the action in real time serving as a live TV broadcast while recording it for future use.

The stump vision this provides is especially helpful for a player trying to analyse, say, how he got out.

The media files can also be immediately and easily synched with the portable media player, which the players can take with them and view either right there on the field (the cricket board’s code of conduct currently does not allow this) or later in privacy as they choose. Instant feedback translates into instant action, and improvement.

Once, a player had to ask a TV channel for a video cassette if he wanted to watch replays of his performance in his hotel room. The process was often lengthy and bureaucratic.

The Indian team now has a portable media player (a small device with a capacity to store about 40 giga bytes of space). At the end of the day, it is synchronised with all the media files and players can easily watch their shots or dismissals or dropped catches in their rooms.

“It is not only used by the players, coaches, analysts and the third umpire but also by the spectators,” a Microsoft source said. “We are in discussion with companies to install them in corporate boxes. The spectators, apart from watching the match, can record it and also watch instant replays on the ground.”

“There are suggestions that the umpire be wired with a portable cam with a Windows XP Media Center to get a better view and be able to make spot decisions better,” a source in the IT industry said.

During the recent training camp in Bangalore, the Indian team used the Microsoft XP Media Center Edition to help players improve their game.

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