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Pro-batter: Bowlers taken apart virtually

Very soon bowlers with unusual actions or a unique delivery will not be able to surprise batsmen too much. Pro-Batter, a state of the art bowling device, was key to England's Ashes success and it is now helping the associate member teams prepare for cricket at the top level. Nilankur Das reports.

cricket Updated: Feb 28, 2011 23:58 IST
Nilankur Das
Nilankur Das
Hindustan Times
Nilankur Das

Very soon bowlers with unusual actions or a unique delivery will not be able to surprise batsmen too much. Pro-Batter, a state of the art bowling device, was key to England's Ashes success and it is now helping the associate member teams prepare for cricket at the top level.

The ICC's High Performance Centre in Dubai first installed a Pro-Batter, a virtual reality batsmen's training tool with a life-size display screen in front which shows a selected bowler running down and delivering.

A bowling machine behind the screen throws the ball from the exact point of release with the exact seam position.

Computer generated
The variations come from a computer archive of a particular bowler's repertoire which can be selected from a menu.

The ECB got it installed at its National Performance Centre in July in the build up to the Ashes and CA's Centre of Excellence has one since November.

Baseball initiative
The machine has been successfully used in baseball and its effectiveness depends on how much footage of a particular bowler has been fed into the computer.

"The England players trained with Pro-Batter prior to the recent Ashes tour and found it to be most helpful. The results showed, didn't they? However, due to the short turnaround between the tour of Australia and the World Cup there wasn't time to use Pro-Batter before coming out to the sub-continent," England media manager James Avery told HT , adding that Andrew Strauss particularly liked the machine.

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