Cricket is a rare sport that has managed to integrate technology seamlessly into the rhythm of a game. The availability of slow-motion replays has saved umpires some headaches, while Hawk-Eye technology has revolutionized the way that leg before wicket decisions are tackled. Technology has also provided fans with several ways to engage with the sport away from the ground.

Here are four examples of how technology has taken cricket to new places, bringing the excitement to the comfort (and dryness) of your own home.



Gaming

Virtual reality was predicted to redefine the world of gaming, although the creation of cloud-based service Google Stadia might go down as the most important development for the industry in recent years. However, the simplicity of batting and bowling in their purest form has helped cricket to thrive in a VR context, demonstrated by stickee's Balls! Virtual Reality Cricket.

Balls! has achieved a 'Positive' rating on Steam through 21 reviews as of 15 June 2020, testament to its charms. Balls! can be accessed on the HTC Vive and allows players to test their batting prowess against a range of bowlers. The high-quality graphics will have you ducking as bouncers head your way, while you attempt to smash your way to a record score.

Entertainment

Cricket has long enjoyed a presence in the entertainment industry. 2019 movie Majili provided proof of the ongoing love affair between cinema and cricket, with the romantic drama using the sport as context and earning a 3.5/5 score in its NDTV review. Technological developments have allowed cricket to make its way into a new area of the entertainment industry: online casino.

Cricket Star, hosted by Betway Casino, uses this iconic cricket symbol on its five reels. Boisterous fans and stern umpires feature, while one image is an Indian ODI bowler firing down a wicked fastball. Rain might stop play in real life, but that's never a problem in Cricket Star.

Social

Social media has forever changed the way that fans interact with their cricketing heroes. Thanks to the rise of Twitter, fans are able to gain a better insight into the off-field life of players. In the case of Virat Kohli, that's a lot of fans - the legendary Indian cricketer sends his thoughts out to almost 36 million followers. In some ways, getting a reply on Twitter from a famous cricketer has become the modern version of trying to get a player's autograph.



Fantasy cricket provides fans with another way to combine sport and socializing. Dream11 is a fantasy sports startup that has become one of India's most popular tech companies, with the chance to power the official IPL game taking its popularity to the next level. Players create their dream team on a budget, then compete in leagues with their friends. It doesn't matter if there's a prize or not; pride is a mighty reward in fantasy cricket.

News

Staying connected to the world has been made easier than ever by the development of smartphones. There's no need to wait for sports news to roll around on television or for webpages to load on your computer, as apps give smartphone owners access to the latest cricketing developments as soon as they happen. The ESPNCricinfo app commands a 4/5 rating on the Google Play store from over 196,000 reviews, with users commending the global coverage of the sport and the ability to personalize their news feed.

News apps help fans feel closer to their team, although there's no substitute for watching your side's match unfold in person. Fortunately, there are specialist apps that brings you news in real time from the matches. For example, the app from the team at FlashScore.com features live text commentary from the big games, so you can keep up with events ball by ball. It might not be as good as the real thing, but this technology gives fans a level of detail that was previously impossible for those not watching the match.

The development of virtual reality games, online casino slots, fantasy cricket platforms, and news apps are just four examples of how technology has provided fans with new ways to engage with the sport. The relationship between technology and cricket should continue to thrive, on and off the pitch.

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