Playing in adult league cricket can sometimes offer you an insight into the view of the top players in the world. Facing someone who bowls at a speed which you aren’t comfortable with, can make you feel as scared as anything. A ball whizzing past your helmet, because the quickest bowlers never pitch it up, offers you the chance to see your life flashing before your eyes.
But, despite all the talk and bravado you might give afterwards, you know that the pace wasn’t really that quick compared to what ‘proper’ cricketers will face...
12 years ago last week, Shoaib Akhtar became the first man to break the 100mph barrier. 100mph. 100mph! Let’s put that in context, this means that the ball will go across the 22 yards of the pitch in what is basically the blink of an eye. You would have twice the time of a 100mph delivery in cricket to return Andy Roddick’s serve.
Bowling to Craig McMillan (I pity the man who had to face this thunderbolt), Akhtar was clocked at 160.0 kph, the equivalent of 100.4mph. A feat which shook the world of cricket, as people feared the latest revolution in unimaginably quick bowlers.
This hasn’t really come to fruition, which is good news for the batsmen and bad news for the helmet manufacturers. Mitchell Johnson, I hear you say. Yes, he bowls quickly. But only on the very odd occasion, during this winter’s Ashes, did he surpass 150kph, and never by more than 1kph.
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