AI can now help identify right backlift and side backlift by watching a video

AI can now help identify right backlift and side backlift by watching a video

AI can now help identify right backlift and side backlift by watching a video

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Science is an important but less popular part of sport. As spectators, we often overlook the techniques players employ in the excitement of enjoying the spirit of the game. However, a team’s support staff are on the lookout for the finer details. Consider cricket for example. While most viewers are interested in how many runs a batsman makes, the support staff would analyze hitting and bowling techniques and other minute details, using technology for analysis. Even the most precise calculations have a margin of error. To avoid these small defects, researchers are now relying on artificial intelligence (AI).


In a game of cricket, a batter facing a fast bowler must make a backlift decision – whether to go straight or sideline – in a fraction of a second. Now imagine technology being improved in such a way that it could help support staff, or even the [players] (, to identify issues. In their latest study published in Nature Scientific Reports, researchers at the University of Johannesburg have developed a deep learning computer vision model, using artificial intelligence, that can spot backlift straight batters from laterals, by using video only.

“This study paves the way for automatic player pattern recognition and motion capture, making it less challenging for sports scientists, biomechanists and video analysts working in the field,” the report suggests.

With this technology, coaches may be able to give players more detailed feedback. It can also help identify players with side backlift components, such as legendary cricketer Sir Donald Bradman who pioneered the side backlift. “The beauty of deep learning in AI is that you don’t have to tell the AI ​​what to look for,” said study co-author Tevin Moodley, a PhD student at the University of Johannesburg.

Researchers have found that untrained hitters often instinctively use a lateral backlift. “What we’ve found is that if young players aren’t trained in traditional ways, they don’t take the bat right away. They pick up the bat in a lateral direction. This indirectly suggests that a straight backlift is not a natural movement,” said Professor Habib Noorbhai, another author of the paper.

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