The Science Behind Cricket with Indian Padhaku League
– 9 November, 2020
The Science Behind Cricket with Indian Padhaku League
– 9 November, 2020
Every spin, wicket and sixer is more than just about playing with a ball and a bat! Learn about some cool science facts behind cricket here with Indian Padhaku League.
Watching out favorite sport can sure give us the adrenaline rush, but get your geek-hats on to know how cricketers need to learn the math and science behind the game too! Plus, it makes learning difficult theories and concepts a lot easier, when we have practical examples from the sport we love, isn’t it?
Here are some super-cool examples to make studying so much fun! Right from the way a batsman holds the bat, to why the wicket-keeper swings his arms, to how quickly a fielder needs to calculate a catch. Math & Science in fact give us qualitative insight with a quantitative game strategy.
Shikhar’s fabulous fours and sixes, Faf’s brilliant strokes, Morgan’s opening assault or Pandya’s lightning half centuries- every single shot has a science hidden behind it! Even batsmen can’t bend the physics behind cricket if they have to be super-players.
A) It’s all Brainy: How coordination works!
The game isn’t as complex as the brain functions that go behind it! So, there is the Central Nervous System that consists of the brain and spinal cord, that stores all emotion and memory, the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) that collects information from all parts of the body. When a batsman is practicing his stroke, it’s the CNS that stores this information- while the PNS records the movement of various parts of the body. When the brain receives information from them, there are 5 parts in the brain that work together- Occipital Lobe (visual), Temporal lobe (identification), Parietal lobe (determines vector and location), Frontal lobe (decision-making) and Cerebellum (controls motor-coordination). When the batsman sees a ball being bowled, it’s these 5 parts of the brain that transmit stored information within 0.001 seconds! Phew! Some teamwork there, huh!
B) Deeper the backlift, better the Newtonian theory!
Newton’s law of motion is not just groundbreaking in reality but determines every aspect of cricket too! Let’s take the second law of motion- Every time a batsman raises his bat, the energy from his body is transferred into it. Similarly, when the ball is bowled, kinetic energy based on the height of the delivery determines the momentum of the ball. The deeper the bat backlift, the more energy is produced. But sometimes, a deep bat swing can even hit the wickets!! Like Hardik’s fiasco this season!
C) Bat right or wrong, make sure it’s aimed well!
There is a ‘sweet spot’ on every bat. This is calculated at 250mm on the middle of the bat. When the ball hits this spot, it’s bound to be either a four or a six! It’s the kinetic energy! When the ball hits the bat, there is impact energy that causes the bat to vibrate. On this ‘sweet spot’ it causes the least vibration but the maximum energy transfer to the ball instead. While batsmen aim for the boundary, they also have to turn themselves 45 degrees to bat. That means that they can see 95 degrees on the off-side and 15 degrees on the leg-side. Which means, they are calculating the ball’s spin, velocity and direction while saving the stumps!
Some brilliant spin bowling by Nortje while Natarajan’s yorkers were setting a benchmark to Bumrah’s ace swing bowling that took several wickets, not to mention Archer’s superhero catch! Right from the bowling arm, to determining the ball’s spin to aiming for that wicket, know the science behind it here:
A) Most of the magic is hormones!
Every function of the body is controlled by the neurotransmitters. These are electrical synapses that pass information from one neuron to the next, like a circuit. Like a reflex action, catching a ball is triggered by serotonin and norphenylephrine that send the message to the hypothalamus. Neurons from the wrists, abdomen, leg and torso work in a reflex to facilitate motor coordination, while the brain calculates the ball’s trajectory and the fielding radius within 3 seconds! That’s quite a small time frame, isn’t it? That’s why bowlers practice their game to train their subconscious to respond as quickly as possible on the pitch.
B) Numerous bones & muscles in action!
Swing bowling, spin bowling or yorkers use the same set of muscles to bowl but it’s the difference in mathematical calculations that decides their velocity & spin! The brain is rapidly making calculations, understanding the pitch, the batsman and the field radius. Three shoulder bones act in unison- Scapulae, clavicle and humerus with the four Rotator Cuff Muscles (RTC) to facilitate motion. Three bones in the wrist- Triquetrum, Lunate, Scaphoid allow the palm to cup towards the forearm and move the wrist for delivery. This is called the wrist flexion. And it’s the femur, tibia and fibula in the knee joint that help flex the leg!
C) Seam, stitches & polish: The ball controls the game!
The ball is made of leather patches joint together by the seam. The seam are the stitches that are the rough surface of the ball. Bowlers usually polish one side to control the air pressure around the ball. So, the bowler aims for the seam to hit the pitch, while the wrist flexion decides how it will spin. The side that has the shine is smoother hence does not resist the wind but the rough side provides more air resistance. That’s why the air pushes the ball in the opposite direction, changing its original trajectory. This is the support & resistance theory also known as the ‘The Magnus Effect’. Bowlers often research about the type of pitch they will play on to plan the angle, bowling speed and delivery strategy in their head.
Pitch, Wicket and More
It’s amazing how mathematics determines even the placement of inanimate objects to make sure the game runs smoothly. Technology has come a long way to make sure there is no human error, especially for when the stumps are hit!
A) LBW is better with technology!
There are 6 anti-wobble cameras placed in both the stump sets, to measure the delivery of the bounce, and the bounce to impact the ball. These camera’s work on infrared technology and capture the ball post delivery in multiple audio-visual frames. Simultaneously, the ball’s speed, the direction of travel and the swing is calculated in 3D. This is the ‘Hawk-eye’ technology used in Decision Review System (DRS) to review and analyze ‘Leg before wicket’ decisions.
B) Stumps are also a formulae!
The stumps are placed based on the good old ‘Pythagoras theorem’ The stumps height is 28 inches. The diameter of the stump is 3.5 cm and the three wickets cover a width of 9 inches. The bails should be 1.27 cm above them and the gap between two stumps is 6.18 cm. Even a millimeter difference, would not hold the stumps in place through the game!
C) Cricket gear is made scientifically too!
Cricket leg pads and gloves are made of PBT (butylene terephthalate). This polymer is made of carbon chains with benzene rings. These make them super flexible, sweat absorbent and extremely impact resistant to restrict the force of an incoming fast ball. Synthetic fibers like Kevlar or Normex have an excellent strength-to-weight ratio and are very cost-effective.
Mathematically, there are several formulas that explain the backswing, ramp shot, torso angle and the bowler’s delivery. Biologically, the organs, limbs and muscles respond to the neurotransmitters that are a result of calculations made by the brain based on physics! It’s surprising that we can watch a game without realising the umptene examples it can give us from various Math or Science subjects!
Not just cricket, but many sports such as baseball, basketball, hockey and others use these science principles. So if players can perfect their math & science for an amazing game, so can we when with some great examples!
Download the MSVgo app on your phone to get more such brilliant practical examples that make learning easier. Stay tuned and follow us on social media for more fun facts from the world around us. Come, join the Indian Padhaku League!