Speed Guns and Fast Bowlers

This post was first published on 19th March, 2011.
In earlier days, Cricket was considered a gentlemen’s game but not anymore. Nowadays, we see a  lot of rivalry between the teams like India v/s Pakistan, Australia v/s England. To win the match of rivalry, players employ different game strategies such as Bodyline bowling strategy adopted by England against Australia in famous Ashes series 1932-33 series. Fast bowlers were the main part of this strategy to counter exceptional batting skill of Sir Don Bradman. Since then, express bowlers have been holding a special place in cricket.
One very important advancement in cricket technology has been the use of speed guns to monitor speeds of bowlers. Since the induction of speed gun in cricket, there has been a competition among the fast bowlers to break the record of 100 miles/hour speed.  Speed gun or Radar gun is used to measure the speed at which ball was bowled. The radar gun was invented by Bryce K. Brown in 1954. Since then the invention has undergone many changes. A patent (US20080169970A1) titled “Multi-Platform Configurable Radar Device for Velocity Monitoring Of Traffic And Other Moving Targets” invented by David H. Woodcox, David W. Haile, Cory A. Peach and Kimble J. Smith discloses a system for measuring the speed of any moving object. It uses a Doppler shifted radar for correct target identification with respect to surveillance of a moving object. When the ball is delivered from the bowler’s hand, Radar gun sends out a radio signal and then receives the same signal back as it bounces off the target object. As the ball is in motion, the frequency of the radio waves received is different when they come back, and from that difference the radar speed gun calculates the object’s speed.
Jeff Thomson, Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee are considered to be world’s fastest bowlers and with likes of Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee playing in this ICC World Cup 2011, we hope many old bowling speed records will be broken and new records will be made.
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