Why hasn’t cricket produced the perfect quick pitcher yet?


Let’s be honest here, perfection comes a long way. It’s every muscle in your body, every shard in your hair, and every disgusting hole that does the right thing, at the right speed, at the right time. Ideal gas does not exist and a straight Lorenz curve is only visible in Indian administrative data. But in fast-paced bowling, the variables involved aren’t exactly endless.

Biomechanical research has been around since 1958, around the same time that baseball was championing statistics. Players, former players, coaches and administrators have been vigorously invested in the refinement of the art since the dawn of time – and rightly so, because fast bowling is contrary to the body’s natural movements. And funny again, most scientific discoveries fall in tandem with traditional knowledge (something that deserves a hundred Toy Story aliens lining up screaming “ooooh”). Cricket is javelin throwing fast bowling what baseball is hitting cricket.

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Yet cricket did not give birth to the perfect quick pitcher. It’s like Germany scuffed cars.

The perfect fast bowler has long arms, muscular shoulders, runs fast and straight, jumps high, delays body flexion, initiates circumduction late, accelerates through the rear-foot-forefoot contact phase, slings the arm bowling from the highest point, delivers the ball comes just beyond the perpendicular, braces the front knee and is slightly round in nature.

None of Wisden’s ten fastest bowlers of all time include a soup of all this. Shane Bond’s arm pulls apart, Shaun Tait’s front knee splits like the top of a square, and Brett Lee pulls his back toes back early.

Make no mistake, Lee, Shoaib Akhtar, and others have traveled further in the Barrel of Perfection than the Kardashians. But each is distinctly different, although they have reached roughly the same levels of expertise. It also blinks in the direction of the infamous “ there is no a correct engineering pattern or at the point where no one has found light at the end of the barrel, and only one can hold it properly.

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Let’s refocus for a moment. The dominant feature missing from Wisden’s top ten bowlers list is the front knee brace. Jasprit bumrah and Jofra Archer are two modern quicks that work effectively with the knee brace. Yet this full knee extension also scares fans and commentators alike.

Michael Holding recently Note on Bumrah that he was worried about “how long this body will endure this short run and the amount of effort he has to put in his bowling alley”, because it is “a human body, not a machine” . But Bumrah has never really been too concerned about them, or that. He can do the fore-knee brace without hurting his tendons because the short ramp-up doesn’t produce so much lower body momentum as to endanger his knees when landing. The rhythm comes mainly from the circumduction and the knee brace.

And that’s the thing with fast bowling. There are larger and more interrelated variables involved in producing a singular lift, a singular thrill of the body, whereas when it comes to the stick you have a more stationary activity carried out from the crease that doesn’t. not so much invoke the lower body.

With all of these variables in place, it might be difficult to find the motley panoply of ingredients needed to perform the perfect action and put them all together. Tait and Akhtar never bothered to support the front knee for example and their circonductions started almost behind the body, or the momentum built up in the lower body would have triggered a TENS unit on their knees.

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According to a 2009 article by René Ferdinands and his team, “Fast bowling is a vigorous activity that requires the lumbar spine to flex, bend laterally and turn in a short period of time to produce ball speeds of up to. 45 m / s. Almost 30% variation in release speeds can be predicted by the shoulder angle at ball release – and adding acceleration speeds to this equation brings the number down to 57% – but that’s is pretty much everything.

Adding knee extension and shoulder angle to forefoot contact raises the count by just 13% more, to 70%, leaving the last quarter to be described by at least seven. other factors. For comparison, three variables – factor X, lead-to-elbow extension, and wrist unlock – alone accounted for 77.7% of the variation in strike range.

The center of mass (COM) velocity of a stimulator should ideally increase during the rear-foot-forefoot contact phase and decelerate during the ball release-forefoot contact phase.

Usain Bolt’s COM speed typically hovers around 11.5m / s during a sprint. As usual, with a ball in hand you can reach 70% of that speed, you would expect the top speed of a fast bowler to be around 8m / s. Jofra Archer’s COM speed accelerates from 6.5m / s to 7.1m / s in the first phase, and this is one of the heaviest acceleration seen. Perfection is far, far away.

Then there is the other problem: a braced front knee alone is not enough, the ground reaction force born from the contact of the front leg with the ground must act behind the bowler’s COM, otherwise the torque needed to induce a forward rotation of COM using forward. leg like a “ block ” (check out the captivating of @ CricketWithAsh video) is not provided. Thus, our hypothetical utopian Arabian Ice Stimulator must not only operate at 7 m / s and accelerate further during the rear-foot-forefoot contact phase, it must also cut the deceleration before the release of the ball at waist and point the torso forward. , putting more pressure on the knee.

It really boils down to this: You will need to get more variables to assemble the biomechanically perfect stimulator, but these variables individually contribute to nothing more than a brief of everything. It’s as if the effort you need to put in to go from 60 to 90 out of 100 on a test is less than the effort needed to go from 90 to 100.

Now, let’s not forget, this is all on top of the pre-existing threat of injury that the Paceurs place themselves under. Bowling in high temperature periods is known to increase heart rates, muscle pain, pH and lactose and less skilled players do not, and we see Deepak Chahar tightening the hamstrings. Then there is the danger of trying to put tricks on the ball like Mustafizur Rahman discovered. Everything is a compromise between one thing and another, because all together would want to wear every piece of fabric that you have at the same time.

It is not certain that there is still much room for experimental biomechanics in the rhythm of bowling. The existing research is very extensive. But if there is still a gray area, it is possible to extend this research to individual actors rather than groups, and this will only help us better understand the prospect of perfection.

The more money is put into the game, the deeper the polls get. But the takeaway from all of this is that the variables governing a function don’t have to be exactly infinite or too many for the function to lose its predictability, they could simply be influential and difficult to achieve as well.

Generally speaking, we are where we started: Perfection is a long way. Just consider this article moot.

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Shanta Harris

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