Thursday, July 27, 2006

Science of Cricket

Every sport revolves around few basic aspects like skill, stamina, fitness, mental toughness, strategy and tactics.

Cricket is no exception. On further reading about the game one can understand the game better, play the game better. Not that passionate cricket fanatics (like me)lack the understanding; they would understand and appreciate the theories better.

By theories, I mean the science behind the techniques.Why does the ball swing? How your batting grip affects your timing? why strengthening the tendons can help you achieve better results in fast bowling? Things become clearer.

I was more keen on fast bowling. I found out that, it is probably the toughest aspect of the game and requires meticulous training to even sustain bowling leave alone mastering it.

To sum up fast bowling : a smooth run-up, a consistent action, the skill required to make the ball do various things, the stamina to run up and down 6 or more times in a 5 minute span, the flexibility to stay free from injuries, the aggression required to claim a wicket, ability to apply oneself according to the situation, which in turn requires some cricket acumen to read the situation at hand, strength and power required to hit the deck and keep the ball at a good speed, ability to predict the batsman's next move, change field positions when needed... the list is actually a big one.

I loved reading some of the articles and seeing a few videos by experts on fast bowling. The science behind it is overwhelming at times. To show you an example: The reason why shoaib akthar can notch up to 160 K. What is it he does ? His left arm plays a big part in his pace, might be a huge surprise for cricket followers.

Just to explain his action :His pace is due to 2 things;
momentum which he generates with his run up(70%) + the final action(30%).

The run up factor is the same for his contemporaries like shane bond and brett lee. They almost score 70 on 70.The action is the key here. Apart from the shoulder strength, which helps you launch the ball at a fiery pace, there are these subtle dynamics that help you get that extra bit of pace. At the time of delivery, i.e when he lands his left foot, if you may notice his left hand is as high as his shoulder level and his right hand is exactly parallel to the ground and behind his back. Making the leverage to a max of 90 degrees, given the fact that he delivers at the top of his action. If the left hand been a little lower then his right hand would be a little higher and his leverage would be less.

These details might be boring to many, but this shows how much of science is involved in the game and how understanding them can improve your performance.

My Love for the game has increased many folds. I just love the fact I play cricket even after coming to US, keeps me fresh and fit. To all those dumb computer addicted guys who have no or negligible physical activities, get out and play some sport. Sweat a bit, play hard and stay cool.

(P.S I'm not sponsored by RBK)