Relationships between fast bowling technique and ball release speed in cricket

The aim of this study was to identify the key aspects of technique that characterize the fastest bowlers. Kinematic data were collected for 20 elite male fast bowlers with 11 kinematic parameters calculated, describing elements of fast bowling technique that have previously been linked to ball release speed. Four technique variables were identified as being the best predictors of ball release speed, explaining 74% of the observed variation in ball release speed. The results indicate that the fastest bowlers have a quicker run-up and maintain a straighter knee throughout the front foot contact phase. The fastest bowlers were also observed to exhibit larger amounts of upper trunk flexion up to ball release and to delay the onset of arm circumduction. This study identifies those technique variables that best explain the differences in release speeds among fast bowlers. These results are likely to be useful in both the coaching and talent identification of fast bowlers. © 2013 Human Kinetics, Inc.