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A Snickometer, commonly known as Snicko, is used in televising cricket to graphically analyse sound and video, and show whether a fine noise, or snick, occurs as ball passes bat. It was invented by English computer scientist Allan Plaskett in the mid-1990s. The snickometer was introduced by Channel 4 in the UK, who also introduced the Hawk-Eye and the Red Zone, in 1999.
The Snickometer is often used in a slow motion television replay by the third umpire to determine if the cricket ball touched the cricket bat on the way through to the wicketkeeper. The commentators will listen and view the shape of the recorded soundwave. If there is a sound of leather on willow, which is usually a short sharp sound in synchrony with the ball passing the bat, then the ball has touched the bat. Other sounds such as the ball hitting the batsman's pads, or the bat hitting the pitch, and so on, tend to have a fatter shape on the sound waveform.
If, in the umpire's opinion, this is the case, and the ball was a legal delivery that was caught before touching the ground, then the batsman is given out by the umpire. The umpire does not have the benefit of the Snickometer, and must instead rely on his senses of sight and hearing, as well as his judgement. When the Umpire DRS (Decision Review System) was introduced to Test Cricket, Snicko was not considered accurate enough, and so another edge detecting tool Hot Spot was used.
Channel 4 in the UK and Channel Nine of Australia, amongst others, have used it to help determine if the batsman was out or not. In 2013, Allan Plaskett was operating it for Sky TV.
A backyard version of the Snicko was first tested and introduced by Luke Lukess in 1992. Using a small microphone drilled into a cricket stump and a tape recorder recording backyard games, the device was used to adjudicate caught behind decisions.
- Fay, Steven (21 May 2000). "First the snickometer, now for the lbw detector". The Independent. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
- Media and Sport Committee Culture, Parliament, House of Commons (2006). Broadcasting Rights for Cricket: Ashes to Ashes - the Death Knell for Live Test Match Cricket on Free-to-air TV?; First Report of Session 2005-06; Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence. The Stationery Office. ISBN 978-0-215-02723-8.
- William Buckland (2008). Pommies. Troubador Publishing Ltd. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-906510-32-9.
- Maume, Chris (1999-06-25). "Cricket: Channel 4 reveals the sensational Snickometer". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2010-05-23.