I had watched a beautiful day of Test Cricket in Wankhede, Mumbai last year.
I learnt 2 secrets.
This is a secret that we TV watchers can never imagine.
It so exciting to see a Shoaib Akhtar bouncer whizz past the nose of a scared batsman.
What can match the sheer beauty of a lazy looping Shane Warne delivery, which turns wild the instant it touches the pitch and darts off at an impossible angle.
Here is the secret; none of this is visible to the spectators in the stadium.
When a fast bowler is bowling then often, it is not possible to even sight the ball.
For a spinner, you might catch a glimpse of the ball; but you could never see the intricacies of loop and turn (apart from the few lucky ones who are seated in the stands at both ends of the pitch i.e. behind Long On/Long Off area and Fine leg/Third man area).
Most problems can be solved if one is able to clearly identify them.
We have stumbled upon the core of this problem now.
If we could just help the spectators in a stadium to See the Ball; then we can we can save test cricket.
Inventing the Product
Binocular is a remarkable device. If you have used binoculars even once, then you cannot forget how remarkable they are. They can create the illusion of bringing far off objects to just an arms distance. We can view even minute details on this far off object. I used to focus my simple binocular on the moon. It used to be a thrill to watch the contours of the moon’s craters so clearly.
In a cricket stadium our requirements are simpler. The device needs to focus on only one area, i.e. the pitch. There is no need for the complex adjustment facility given in a binocular. The device just needs to focus on a fixed distance about 70 – 80 meters away.
We also need to cater to one more requirement. People want to use this device only for the instant in which the bowler bowls. The rest of the time, they would like to do other things – like chatting with friends, cheering, making Mexican waves etc.
So, here is the final shape of this device; a flat piece of plastic, which can focus on an area 70-80 meters away. It will be half the size of a notebook. We shall call it Tele –Pane. The Tele-Pane will be attached to a cord which looks similar to the cords used to hold identity cards. A spectators can hold it in front of his face when the bowler is about to bowl and enjoy a view that even the umpire would envy. During the rest of the time, the spectator can put down the Tele-Pane. The Tele-pane will just hang on the cord like an identity card.
Market size for Tele-Pane
IPL has made cricket stadiums a popular hangout spot in India. Today, India has at least 30 major cricket stadiums; each having an average capacity of 50,000 spectators.
Market Size = 30 * 50,000 = 1.5 million Tele-Panes
If a Tele-Pane is priced at 200 rupees then –
Total size of Tele-pane market = 1.5 million * 200 = 30 crore rupees (300 million rupees)
There would be another one hundred cricket stadiums in the rest of the world.
Also, Tele-panes may be purchased for many other Stadium sports.
Thus the full market size could be ten times the size that we have suggested.
Zero Cost to BCCI & Cricket Stadiums to buy the Tele-Panes
Tele-Panes have great potential to bring in advertisement revenues.
Logos and Captions of Sponsor’s can be displayed in a corner of the Tele-Pane.
Also, the better match experience will attract more crowds to cricket stadiums and thus increase stadium revenue. A packed stadium will also make the TV viewer’s experience more exciting.
This could boost the TRP’s and help get higher advertisement rates.
Future Cricket Stadiums
Unlike today’s cricket stadiums, in the future, the stadiums will not be of uniform height across the full circumference. The stands at both ends of the pitch (i.e. behind Long On/Long Off area and Fine leg/Third man area) will be much higher, even 4-5 stories high. The bulk of the spectators will sit here, use Tele-panes and enjoy watching the charming details of cricket like - bounce, swing, spin and turn. The rest of the stands in the stadium will be replaced with grassy slopes where people can just lie down, relax and enjoy the show.
I have a Dream
Eden Gardens, Kolkata, December 11, 2017
It is the final of the First Test Cricket World Championship – India versus Australia. The Indian winter is on. The weather is pleasantly cool. The sky is a clear blue hue. A couple of white fluffy clouds float in to complete the painting. It is a beautiful day to watch cricket in a stadium.
It’s the 5th day, and only a few minutes of play remains. Australia is chasing 287 in the 2nd inning. The tension has reached a crescendo. The Australian score is 283 for 9 wickets. Earlier in the day, it had seemed that the Indian spinners will comfortably knock down the Australians. One man had resisted them fiercely - Michael Clarke, the Aussie captain. Probably playing in his last test match, Clarke had chiseled out an inning of classic beauty and stubborn grit. He is not out at 134.
The Indian Captain Virat Kohli is standing at first slip with a big scowl on his face. He was furious with the misfield in the last ball which had cost 2 runs. He is letting out a few eloquent words of wisdom. Apologies for not revealing them here :-) (After all we have many young boys and a few ladies visiting this website :-) ).
4 overs remained, but this would probably be the last one. Virat has taken a gamble. He has taken the new ball. Virat tosses the new ball to the fastest bowler in the world then – Umesh Yadav.
A shiver of excitement goes through the crowd as they realize that it will be Umesh. The shiver changes to random cheering. The random cheers merge together and organize into a single thunderous chant … U-mesh …..U-mesh …. U-mesh.
Perhaps no man has been cheered louder since the days of Sachin Tendulkar.
I look through the Tele-Pane and it takes me so close to the pitch.
I can see Michael Clarke’s eyes, calmly focused on the accelerating bowler.
I see Umesh tear down in his run up, leap up and unleash a thunderbolt.
The speed gun had said later; “154 kmph”.
But a lot happened before that.
The red shinning cherry rocketed towards Clarke.
It bounced at good length on a tiny crack on the 5th day pitch.
The ball jerked up from good length and went for Clarke’s throat.
Michael’s reflexes were stunning. He jerked his head out of the path of that red projectile.
But his instincts betrayed him, and his bat came up to protect his body.
The ball touched the bat’s edge lightly and rushed off towards the first slip, at over 150 kmph.
The shinning ball kept rising and rising.
Virat leaps up, but it was futile.
Maybe Jonty Rhodes could have jumped up so high, but Virat could never do so.
But this time, there was a difference. Virat was not alone.
A hundred thousand souls were watching him breathlessly through their Tele-Panes.
And then half a miracle happened.
Our desires, our will, lifted him up.
The collective concentrated will of a hundred thousand men lifted him up, 4 inches higher than what he could have done with his mere muscles.
We watched anxiously as his fingers rose higher and higher; high enough to bar the ball’s path.
The red one smashed into his fingers and struggled to break free, but Virat’s desperate fingers won this battle. The ball stayed stuck in his hand.
We did not breathe yet, for the danger still lived.
He was falling clumsily towards the ground. The impact could knock the ball out of his hand.
I wake up :-)