The relationships between impact location and post-impact ball speed, bat torsion, and ball direction in cricket batting

Three-dimensional kinematic data of bat and ball were recorded for 239 individual shots performed by twenty batsmen ranging from club to international standard. The impact location of the ball on the bat face was determined and assessed against the resultant instantaneous post-impact ball speed and measures of post-impact bat torsion and ball direction. Significant negative linear relationships were found between post-impact ball speed and the absolute distance of impact from the midline medio-laterally and sweetspot longitudinally. Significant cubic relationships were found between the distance of impact from the midline of the bat medio-laterally and both a measure of bat torsion and the post-impact ball direction. A ‘sweet region’ on the bat face was identified whereby impacts within 2 cm of the sweetspot in the medio-lateral direction, and 4.5 cm in the longitudinal direction, caused reductions in ball speed of less than 6% from the optimal value, and deviations in ball direction of less than 10° from the intended target. This study provides a greater understanding of the margin for error afforded to batsmen, allowing researchers to assess shot success in more detail, and highlights the importance of players generating consistently central impact locations when hitting for optimal performance.