By Hira Anwar
After several years of experimentation, the bowling testing centre, built in the biomechanics lab, is now successfully able to test cricketers suspected for illegal bowling actions. This, in turn, allowed it to secure accreditation from the International Cricket Council in June, 2019.
A number of people were needed to make this venture possible. The LUMS team, led by Muhammad Awais, comprised of a few research assistants, including Karar Khalid and presently, Fahad Akhtar. From the Pakistan Cricket Board, Hassaan-ur-Rehman and Mudasar Nazar, as well as Ben Liver from the ICC, along with a few other specialists, assisted the Team to achieve their target.
“In 2008, during the cricket season, there were two to three fast bowlers who were reported for illegal bowling,” said Muhammad Awais. “When the Pakistan Cricket Board were asked to verify such allegations, they had to do it manually. At that time, the PCB felt the need to build a proper lab, which would cater to such needs. This inspired the Board to buy the necessary equipment needed for the development of such a facility.”
However, it was only when, in 2016, Shahryar Khan became the Chairman of the PCB, that it was decided the Board will collaborate with a university for the construction of the Lab. After a lengthy process, the facility at LUMS acquired accreditation in 2019.
One of the distinguishing features of this lab is that it is the only permanent facility in the world; the rest are either semi-permanent, or the equipment is shifted from one locality to another. In addition to this, the lab has conducted tests on nearly sixty players, where two of these were international cricketers.
To conduct the test, two types of camera are needed: Infra-Red Cameras and High-Speed Video Cameras. Once the markers are placed on the bowler’s arm, his movements are captured by the cameras. Using a specialized software, “Nexus,” the Team evaluates the bowling procedure. Accordingly, during the ball delivery point, the movement of the arm should not exceed fifteen degrees to the horizontal, otherwise it will be considered a violation.
Currently, the Team is trying to utilize the equipment for different tasks and is currently experimenting with it as much as possible. It is being used for Gait Analysis, where the body movements recorded can help orthopedic surgeons as well as physiotherapists to assist their patients. The equipment has allowed the team to make small, animated movies on a limited scale. It is also being used to explore player injury, healthcare and physical fitness.
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