This Structural Flaw in Dubai Cricket Stadium Makes Catching Difficult

Dubai International Cricket Stadium has hosted 10 games so far in this year’s IPL and while there has not been much difference between pre-COVID games and post ones there’s one structural flaw that differentiates this stadium from the rest. There is no crowd in the stadium due to the social distancing laws currently in place everywhere in the world but it hasn’t made any significant change to the IPL viewing experience from home. There is pre-recorded crowd noise played on stadium speakers that gets the job done pretty well. All in all, it’s a fairly identical experience to the day of pre-COVID bar one. The Dubai International Cricket Stadium, however, sees almost one missed high catch every match. Even Kohli missed not just one but two catches when Royal Challengers Bangalore faced Kings XI Punjab at the DCS.

Why do fielders miss catches in this stadium?

The reason for the high number of missed catches is the stadium lighting. The floodlights in this stadium are installed at the edge of the stadium roof all around. These lights are called the Ring of fire and look very good when seen from the inside as well as from above. Since there are hundreds of lights on the roof it doesn’t produce any shadow from the players. There is however one major structural issue with these lights. These lights often come in direct line of sight from the fielder and the ball when it goes into the sky. There is no way for a player to place themselves in such a way that these lights do not come in the line of sight as these are on every part of the roof. Due to this many players have missed high catches and would continue to do so in the future as well. As the games start at 6 PM these lights are not as problematic since none of the teams has an advantage of playing under the sun. Though this would be a very big issue in Day-night ODI games when one team plays under the sun and the other plays under floodlights. Below is a picture from the stumps camera at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Ring of Fire as seen from the stump camera

It could be seen how the lights are placed all around the stadium in the line of sight of a player when he goes for a catch. Of course, cameras distort light and the actual light would not be as pronounced as in the picture but any light behind the ball makes it difficult to catch which is why there are many missed catches at this stadium in this year’s IPL.

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