How accurate are cricket speed guns?

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You would have to say that cricket speed guns aren’t hugely accurate. They seem okay most of the time, then every now and again you get a wonky match where everbody’s bowling at 93mph.

This is what happened at Lord’s a week or so ago when England’s bowling attack suddenly turned into Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar, Michael Holding and Jeff Thomson. Tim Bresnan is sharp, but he’s no Malcolm Marshall. Graham Onions hits the bat hard, but he’s no Waqar Younis.

In one-day internationals speed guns often seem to be 3-4mph more generous. Bowlers only get a maximum of ten overs, so they can give it a bit more oomph, but you’d think they’d bowl maybe just the odd effort ball in a Test match.

Yesterday, we noted that Stuart Broad bowled a ball at 92mph. We’re going to take that with a pinch of salt, but being as James Anderson was bowling at around 87mph – which is pretty much his normal Test speed – maybe the speed guns weren’t miles out. At the very least, it’s an indication that Broad is quicker than he used to be.

Pace isn’t everything, but it is something.


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  1. Wasn’t there some tale about the speed gun readings being turned up for the english bowlers in ’05, just so the Aussies felt more under pressure?

    Anyway, it’s all relative, you know. This time round, for the Aussies, I think they should give velocity readings instead of speed. That way, all bowlers from the pavilion end would have a negative reading. Bowling them equally from both ends would then result in an average velocity for the day of, say, +1.5mph. Since they are professional sportsmen, they wouldn’t understand and it would give them mental problems.

  2. Bring back Harmison, i want to see how quickly he can bowl to 3rd slip or square leg as part of a vector diagram

  3. Surely the Aussie team should use a momentum gun. That’s what they go on about all the time.

    Or tempo.

    A tempo gun.

  4. Speaking with Rodney Marsh some time ago he reckoned the most accurate way to judge a bowlers pace was to measure how many paces a keeper was standing back. you dont see todays bowlers forceing the keepers as far back as when thomson, Lillie holding and co were chucking it down.

  5. I was speaking to Meatloaf about the keepers standing back at the recent Hollywood Ashes, Hick was a big disappointment btw, and he said the further back the keepers stand, the more scared they must be. He gave the example of beamers being bowled to the short stop in baseball.

    I remember Godfrey Evans standing up to Trueman bowling at his fastest, he never made an error.

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