22nd May: Sunrisers v Rajasthan Royals, 14:30 GMT
24th-28th May: 2nd Test, Headingley
Cricket – it’s not rocket science, right? Well, yes – from today, it is, thanks to a new book “The physics of cricket” from Mark Kidger.
The author, a real-life rocket scientist working with the European Space Agency, has joined forces with Nottingham University Press to produce a “must have” book for everyone who takes their game seriously, from armchair pundits to coaches seeking that vital edge.
Its 200 pages will improve games, ignite debates, explode myths, settle arguments and clinch pub quizzes from West Sussex to the West Indies; from the Oval, London, to its namesakes in Adelaide and Bridgetown.
“The Physics of Cricket” reveals how players already employ anatomy in ways they didn’t realise, and can harness optics, mechanics, fluid dynamics, materials science, statistics, infrared technology, and acoustics to their advantage – if only they knew how. It pinpoints a range of factors including…
· The chances of winning the toss seven times in a row – it’s once in every one hundred and twenty eight series. But winning the eighth toss too – higher odds, or 50-50?
· How a flying cricket ball can be as formidable as a low velocity bullet – so what stops it killing the batsman?
· The optimum angle for hitting a six – it’s 45 degrees in theory; what about in practice?
· Precisely what happens when the ball leaves the bowler – and why is the angle of nine degrees – or 12-15 degrees if facing a spinner – critical to the batsman?
· Why a bowled ball can apparently hit the same point three times, yet bounce differently each time – how can the bowler use this to unnerve his opponent?
· Understanding bats – for example, heavier can hit farther, but can carry a serious problem
· … And, vitally - Controversy has been the cause of at least one High Court case over ball tampering. If you understand the way that the ball behaves, the use of the information given by the author will give you that extra edge using perfectly fair means to master a vital skill.
Just for fun – and because cricket is now indeed rocket science – author Mark Kidger even answers the question: "if cricket were played on the moon, how far back would the spectators sit for safety?"
The book is illustrated by a wealth of diagrams, and explains the facts behind renowned events in cricketing history.
Mark said: "For years, everyone from schoolboys to world class cricketers have perfected their skills, often based on intuition – but, actually, physics.
"Now, for the first time, they can not only explore what’s going on as they enjoy playing and watch others, but improve their game through understanding the many factors they can influence.
"And perhaps have some fun along the way..."