CricViz has worked with Fox Sports since the 2018/2019 season.
For every Australian home game, a CricViz analyst has been onsite, right in the thick of things as a key part of the broadcast team. Preparing commentators with detailed notes on the players, teams and conditions before a ball is bowled, is a key part of the role. Recent trends for any given player (How has Glenn Maxwell’s new stance affected his scoring areas? Has Mitchell Starc stopped swinging it back into the right-hander? Is Steve Smith playing the ball later?) can be suggested as topics of conversation for the broadcast, backed up with numbers to inform the debate.
The role doesn’t stop when the game begins. The analyst themselves is then in the commentary box throughout the game itself, on hand to explore and explain what is happening in the middle, and why. For example, a commentator may turn to them and ask: “Is the ball reversing?”
And they can respond:“Well, the ball is swinging 1.5° in the last five overs, compared to 0.3° in the previous five. So yes.”
This sort of conversation is simple, but adds invaluable depth to the broadcast. Less time spent on guesswork, more time spent on insightful analysis and entertaining conversation. During the match, CricViz work closely with the Fox Sports graphics department. Often, this is to provide “ticker” statistics, short snippets of information that sit unobtrusively at the bottom of the screen, there for the viewers to take in alongside the action.
Longer packages of analysis with more detailed, forensic data will be built for drinks breaks and interval conversations – technical breakdowns of batsmen and bowlers on a level not usually seen.
Test matches offer plenty of opportunity for longer, more detailed analysis of the kind above, but T20’s shorter, sharper nature offers a different opportunity. In a game which moves as quickly as T20, the priority is to give the viewer as much high-quality, relevant information as possible.
The issue of “match-ups” – i.e. which bowlers are best suited to which batsmen – is dominating the professional T20 sphere, and informs a
huge amount of strategy in dressing rooms and dugouts all over the world. However, this was not previously reflected in the broadcasts of these matches – something CricViz was keen to remedy. The CricViz Captaincy Cube (explained in the video above) changed the game, by visualising the best and worst match-ups, according to advanced career data, for any batsman in the match. Fox commentators are able to call for this graphic, see what the numbers say is the best choice for the Australian captain, and debate it.