Dhoni to get souvenir LED stumps only if India win WT20
He is as possessive about his invention as much he is about his children but Bronte EcKermann would not mind giving Mahendra Singh Dhoni a souvenir LED stump if India win the ICC World Twenty20 tournament.
"Well, this is a very costly system. The entire set-up during a match costs US$ 40,000 (Rs 25 lakh approx), so I don't allow the players to uproot it during any celebrations. But I know Dhoni loves keeping a souvenir stump. If India can win the final, I might get into some arrangement with Dhoni," EcKermann, the inventor of LED stumps, said.
EcKermann has got 32 stumps and 40 bails for the tournament and each bail which he says 'costs as much as an iPhone'. He added that will take all the equipment back, once the tournament is over. The qualified Industrial designer has also got the LED stump patented.
"The idea was to make it touch friendly. The light might not glow if someone tries to hit with a hammer but if the wicketkeeper touches the bail with ball in his gloves and even a feather touches, it would. It would make the decisions easier for the third umpire as to what exactly was impact when bail was dislodged from the stumps."
Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni breaks the stumps to effect a stumping during the ICC World Twenty20 match against Bangladesh in Mipur.
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters
'My idea was to make T20 a bit more colourful'
Asked about how much time it took to give his dream shape, Eckermann said, "It took around three years to turn my dream into a reality. I conceived the idea when I saw my little daughter play with a ball that would light up whenever she bounced the ball. Then it struck about how if I could create a system which would make cricket a bit more colourful."
"I started working on the set-up. I still believe that Test cricket is the most pristine form but my idea was to make T20 a bit more colourful."
But monetising the project was another aspect that worried EcKermann.
"I came in touch with David Leigitwood and he was ready to come in as a commercial partner and thus Zing International was formed. Once I felt that it was foolproof, I approached Cricket Australia with an offer to use this in Big Bash," EcKermann said.
"On a trial basis, it was first used in a club game in Adelaide. Once CA authorities were convinced, it was decided that it would be used in the 2012 edition of Big Bash," EcKermann added.
Image: Bangladesh batsman Sohag Gazi is bowled during the match against West Indies in the ICC World T20.
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters
'I would be glad if the technology is used in the IPL'
For him, the best compliment came from Shane Warne after he was apprised of the technology.
"He said that for these LED stumps, he will add a new delivery to his armoury. It will be known as 'Disco Ball'. Shane said that his only aim would be to hit the stumps so that it lights up just like a discotheque."
EcKermann is in talks with the Board of Control for Cricket in India regarding using it during the upcoming Indian Premier League next month.
"Yes, I would be glad if the technology is used in the IPL. We are in negotiations with the IPL authorities but nothing concrete has happened. I don't know whether it's got late [since IPL starts April 16] but I am certainly interested in having a tie-up."
He revealed he is scared of situations when the stumps get damaged inadvertently by a player during the course of play.
"Well, when Malinga bowls those toe-crushing Yorkers, my blood runs cold. I am only scared of one bowler and that is Lasith Malinga," he said in jest.
"But on a serious note, I get delighted when Malinga is able to rattle the stumps as it lights up the surrounding. I wish he could do more like that," he concluded.
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images