Machine Revolution in Cricket Bowling

Sports Industry found a lot variety of activities involving machines from the beginning till date. Manual activities are reducing and machinery activities are increasing a lot and the most important reason would be to decrease dependability and to save time. In the sports the performance improvement in a sportsman game is considered at every other attempt, here where machines have taken the charge and started performing as bowling machines that are surely fulfilling the requirements for all players, coaches and the sports venues to provide a good combination of practice along with a systematic learning techniques and venues infrastructure.

Bowling Machine in Cricket

Cricket is a sport that is always privileged with the bowling machines that can give user the right order of development of the sport and the player for its probability of perfect activity desired is always high. The whole bowling machine is an evolution of science because of the aerodynamics and biomechanics involved in bowling.

Michael Stuart, a club cricketer invented cricket bowling machine in the year 1985 and was named “Bola Machine” as the original concept of the cricket-pitching machine. During the introduction its performance was 95 mph, microprocessor allows selecting exactly the speed and adjusts up or down in increments of just 1 mph swing the ball both ways and has push button to vary the amount of swing.

Over years, the robotics in the cricket bowling machine has seen drastic and dynamic advancements. One wheel machine, two wheels machine, and three wheels machines are available, in which one wheel machine is for entertainment purpose, two concave wheels machine for professional cricket training/practice for real spin swing and three wheels machine for base ball where more paces are needed. However, the ball throwing devices categories are pneumatically operated machine, spring actuated machine and one or multiple rotating wheel machine.

  • Pneumatically operated ball throwing machine used an air compressor actuated by motor to produce highly compressed air into throwing tube. This type of ball throwing machines occupies a large floor space, high in manufacturing cost and not portable.
  • Spring actuated ball throwing machines employs a striking or throwing mechanism consisting of either spring or elastic to project the ball. In this arrangement difficulty is encountered in designing a suitable controllable deflection mechanism along with complications and inconveniences that arise in providing a suitable feed mechanism since the ejecting mechanism must be accurately synchronized with the feed of the balls. Moreover these devices provide only limited directional control of the thrown ball and don’t apply rotation to the ball as it is released. They are thus incapable of fully simulating the flight characteristics of a pitched ball.
  • Multiple rotating wheel machines utilize rotary wheels, which include a pneumatic tire mounted on a rim that is supported on a rotary shaft. One rotating wheel or two co-rotating wheels are used to propel balls that are introduced into the nip between a plate and a single wheel or between two rotating wheels

The main objective is to provide a batting practice accurate and consistent for cricketers of all standards and abilities. It has now become a boon for batsmen to master on different types of wickets. Bowling machines are operational with concave wheels. To catch the ball properly and avoid inaccurate throws. To perform multiple variations of bowling accurately shield used to keep the machine safely bowling when the batter hits the ball straight. While, Batsman can also improve the foot work by adjusting the throw speed, throw angle etc., of the cricket bowling machine.

Recent revolutions

“Crick-Attack”, a machine to bowl seam, swing & spin, without the need for major adjustments to the head unit between deliveries that were disguised and stood as a major advancement in the area of batting practice. Its advanced features are:

  •  Positioning of the three wheels for better grip on the ball and giving greater accuracy on release
  •  The ability to replicate all types of spin, and vary deliveries without major head adjustment that enables batter to choose different deliveries, without being able to pre determine what is being bowled

Role of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is also being utilized by the bowling machine innovators for more effective sport practice and the player’s performance analysis.

“ProBatter PX2 Cricket Video Simulator” is one of the recent innovations from England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that has been used by a number of the top national teams and the ICC Training Center. Having a touch screen controller and containing a video front of an actual bowler, this state-of-the-art bowling machine enables

  • Batters to experience game-like conditions resulting in improved timing, rhythm and match performances with its life-like simulator
  • A wide variety of different, fully programmable deliveries for bowling styles can be chosen by a batter
  • Multiple unique skill levels with age and level appropriate videos are equipped in this to provide the most realistic cricket bowling simulation ever.

The ProBatter PX2 Cricket Video Simulator has derived the technology inspiration from baseball and matches video footage of the bowler to the actual ball bowled at the time with the help of Hawk-Eye technology.
Leverage Cricket Bowling Machine has introduced “Leverage Winner”, a computerized two wheel cricket bowling machine that has robotic alignment amalgamated with digital and PC operations empowered with Criptex Software operated on a laptop to customize features at a wide range like:

  •  Pre set regular bowling variations along with specialty bowling types
  •  Programming mode to create players own required variations
  •  Pitch Simulation feature based on the pitch conditions at that moment
  •  Random Variations
  •  Favorites to store combination selection desired to repeat
  •  History for a record of previous sessions.

The automated bowling machines are not only used by professional players, but sports venues has equipped them to provide for people who play at leisure times for entertainment and recreation. So, a huge market is out there for these bowling machines for different purposes at sport venues. With the strong cutting edge in physical, technical and software features equipped in the system, has led the manufacturers project a strong understanding and recognition of technology along with its appropriate uses.