Cricket Australia has partnered with Microsoft to find ways in which technology can be used to maximise player performance – and we can only hope they find some solutions pretty quickly!
The two companies have begun a proof-of-concept using Microsoft’s new team and player performance platform.
Powered by Microsoft’s Cloud and Cortana Analytics Suite, the platform uses machine learning, predictive analytics and rich visualisations. It will help Cricket Australia better manage the huge volume of performance data it tracks, report on athlete and team wellness, and even set intelligent alerts.
Microsoft Surface tablets will be deployed for coaching staff to view data visualisations, which will be consolidated by Microsoft Azure with Power BI making visual customisations.
The cloud component will also leverage key machine learning and predictive analytical capabilities in the platform.
Cricket Australia already uses the Fair Play Athlete Management System, which collects a vast amount of data on the athletes through wearables attached to the players' bodies.
Cricket Australia’s head of technology Michael Osborne is hoping that the data collected from that system will be used to provide greater insights and actions.
“For example, we hope to tailor information not just for each individual player, but also to take into account how each player responds to particular conditions,” Osborne said.
“This will allow us to optimise our sports scientists’ time managing and analysing data and introduce more predictive, machine-learning elements into our analyses.”
Osborne expects that coaches will gain assistance from machine learning within the system, which will make recommendations and suggests that will improve as more data is provided.
“This is machine intelligence coming to life, leveraging Azure to refine coaching, training and wellbeing programs to help our cricketers compete internationally,” he added.
Part of a wider test team
Cricket Australia joins only a handful of other sporting organisations around the world that are trialling Microsoft’s new platform, including Hull City A.F.C. and S.L. Benfica, along with other organisations in Europe, the US and Asia.
Osborne said that sports analytics is evolving through technology, and he’s excited that Cricket Australia can participate in that evolution.
“We not only want to help define and drive this evolution, but also feed into the development of the world’s best practices in sport data analytics,” he said.
“We are the only cricket organisation involved, so we will be the first in our code to use the new platform.
“This work lines up neatly against our goal to produce the world’s best teams, events and officials.”