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How Is the Bowling Speed Measured in Cricket

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Cricket is considered to be a gentleman’s game that has a class in itself. The game of cricket has elements like batting, bowling and fielding and all of these elements has an equal importance. Bowling is considered to be important part of cricket that brings the ball in to the game at the great speed.  The game of Cricket has seen some the fastest bowlers and all those bowlers put a lot of effort in generating that much speed of the ball. Shoaib Akhtar, Brett lee , Coutney Walsh and many others had been the fastest bowlers of all time. The question comes that how is the bowling speed measured in cricket when the bowlers bowl at such a fast speed. There are two methods by which a bowling speed is usually measured in the cricket.

Fastest Bowlers of All-Times
1 Shoaib Akhtar (Pakistan) 161.3 km/h
2 Brett Lee (Australia) 161.1 km/h
3 Shaun Tait (Australia) 161.1 km/h
4 Jeffrey Thompson (Australia) 160.6 km/h
5 Andy Roberts (West Indies) 159.5 km/h
6 Fidel Edwards (West Indies) 157.7 km/h
7 Mitchell Johnson (Australia) 156.8 km/h
8 Muhammad Sami (Pakistan) 156.4 km/h
9 Shane Bond (New Zealand) 156.4 km/h
10 Dale Steyn (South Africa) 156.2 km/h

How Is the Bowling Speed Measured in Cricket

How Is the Bowling Speed Measured in Cricket

Radar Gun

Measuring the speed of the bowl by a radar is similar to measuring the speed of the moving car. This gun consists of both a receiver and a transmitter. The way it works is that it sends a radio wave that is reflected of by any object that is in the path. In this case it is a cricket ball. The gun gets this echo and then by using the principle of Doppler Shift, calculates the speed of the ball.  There are few advantages of this technology:

  • Exact speed is determined with help of a radar gun as it catches the speed of the moving ball the way it is without any error.
  • It is instantaneous and records the speed immediately as the ball passes the radar gun. This is the reason that in any cricket match, as soon as the bowler balls the delivery, the speed is shown on the screen.   The gun works efficiently and helps getting the exact possible speed of the bowl.

Hawk Eye

Hawk eye is a computer system that is used officially in various sports like tennis, cricket, football and other sports. A person named Dr Paul Hawkins developed this technology in the UK.  The system was initially implemented in the year 2001 for the measuring purposes in cricket. Hawk-Eye is not something that is infallible. It is accurate within the 5 millimeters of its range and is usually considered and trusted as a tool to have a second opinion in the sports. Hawk eye is referred to as a technology that is used to measure the speed of ball as the way it is bowled. This technology was originally made for tracking the missile and brain surgery.

This technology gets the data from around six cameras. It then makes use of the data to track the ball path from the time the ball leaves the hand of the bowler until the time the ball goes dead. The technology then presents this information as 3D image. It clearly helps the viewer understand the direction and length at which the ball left the bowlers hand and headed towards the stumps. This also helps in deciding the LBW decision as it allows the 3rd umpire to see whether the ball was actually in the line of the stumps when it hit the pads of the batsman.  Advantages of this method are as follows:

  • Accurate speed of the ball as the clear direction is seen in the hawk eye
  • The direction and the swing of the ball is also measured with this technology
  • Clearly states the authenticity of the ball hitting the stumps
  • It also makes sure that whether the delivery was legal or not.

Criticism over the technologies

The technology method to measure the speed has received criticism in the years that have casted doubts on the achievements of some of the top bowlers in the world. For instance in the year 2002, Pakistani Team bowler Shoaib Akhtar was reported to have passed the 100 mph mark in a match against the team New Zealand. However, there were many commentators expressed their doubts about the accuracy of the radar guns in measuring the speed. There had been many cases like that where there had been doubts raised by the commentators about the bowling speeds of many bowlers in the past. Despite of the criticism, the technology method to measure the bowling speed  is still used in the cricket matches and will always be used because nothing is better than technology when measuring the bowling speed in cricket. It is certainly impossible to measure the speed manually.

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