Determining the effect of cricket leg guards on running performance

2013-01-16T15:14:17Z (GMT) by James Webster Jonathan Roberts
Modern-day cricket has experienced a shift towards limited over games, where the emphasis is on scoring runs at a rapid rate. Although the use of protective equipment in cricket is mandatory, players perceive that leg guards, in particular, can restrict their motion. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of cricket leg guards on running performance. Initial testing revealed that wearing pads significantly increased the total time taken to complete three runs by up to 0.5 s compared with running without pads (P < 0.05). In addition, we found that the degree of impedance was dependent on pad design and could not be solely attributed to additional weight. To assess possible causes of reduced running performance, a biomechanical analysis was performed, investigating running kinematics, stride parameters, and ground reaction forces. The results revealed that the widest pad had the greatest effect on running kinematics, increasing hip abduction and decreasing hip extension, resulting in a shortened stride length (by 0.10 m) and increased stride width (by 0.12 m) compared with running without pads. Wearing pads also significantly increased peak braking force (by up to 0.3 times body weight [BW]), braking impulse (by up to 0.012 BW · s−1), peak mediolateral force (by up to 0.17 BW), and mediolateral impulse (by up to 0.016 BW · s−1) compared with running without pads, which resulted in reduced force applied in the direction of locomotion. The consequence of this reduction in running performance is an increased risk of being run-out or a reduction in the number of runs that could be scored from a particular shot.