The biomechanics of fast bowling in men's cricket: a review

J Sports Sci. 1996 Oct;14(5):403-24. doi: 10.1080/02640419608727727.


This review concentrates on synthesizing and analysing the biomechanical research which has been carried out on fast bowling in men's cricket. Specifically, it relates to those elements of the bowling technique which contribute towards a fast ball release, the aerodynamics and technique of swing bowling, and the association between fast bowling and lower back injury. With regard to bowling technique, no firm conclusions are drawn on the relationships between elements of the fast bowling technique and ball release speed. Recommendations for future research in this area include intra-player studies to establish the bowler-specific factors which contribute to fast ball release and features of body segment dynamics. There is general agreement that the phenomenon of differential boundary layer separation is the reason for normal and reverse cricket ball swing. Systematic research to establish the essential aspects of the bowling technique which contribute to successful swing bowling is recommended, along with studies of the behaviour of the ball in games to ascertain the effects of ball asymmetries on ball swing. There is sufficient evidence in the literature to establish a strong link between injury to the lower back and the use of the mixed technique. Recommendations are made for screening and intervention to reduce the use of the mixed technique, and for research into other aspects of injury. Fundamental research to develop biomechanical models of the lower back in fast bowling is strongly recommended.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Athletic Injuries / complications*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / etiology*
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Racquet Sports* / standards
  • Racquet Sports* / trends