The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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NZ speed guns under scrutiny

Hamilton: The system being used to determine bowling speeds in New Zealand has come under scrutiny after Black Caps pacer Shane Bond admitted to feeling “short changed” by Sky Television’s speedball radar which rated him alongside England all-rounder Craig White.

Bond’s fastest ball in the first Test against India at the Basin Reserve in Wellington last week was recorded at 142 kmph. Then on Sunday, Australian Television recorded the same speed for a White delivery in a tri-series match against Australia in Melbourne.

Sky’s director of cricket, former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe, admitted on Tuesday that the Australian system used by Channel Nine gave at least five kmph more to a delivery than the radar used in New Zealand.

However, Crowe defended his system, used by police to catch speeding motorists, saying it was more accurate than the Australian version. He said the discrepancies only arose when the faster bowlers’ speed was recorded.

“We did a few tests. Up to the Chris Cairns-Glenn McGrath pace, around the 135 kmph mark, everyone was the same either in Australia or here. When you get up to the Shane Bond-Brett Lee category, it is noticeable that they’re a little bit quicker across the Tasman (Sea),” Crowe said.

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, however, called for a uniform system to be adopted world wide.

“It’s important to the players and it would be nice if there is one (standard) throughout the world,” he said.

“Shane Bond says he looks at it every time he bowls and I think it is important with the players. It is something that needs to be addressed, especially if there is a competition as who is the fastest,” Fleming said.

Bond’s fastest delivery was recorded at 153 kmph in Grenada, West Indies earlier this year.

“The fastest I bowled last season was 144 kmph in Australia. When you bowl at night and the adrenaline’s up...You bowl a bit quicker,” he said.

Crowe was offered the Channel Nine system, developed by a private company, two years ago, but said Sky could not afford it.

The speedball radar in New Zealand records the delivery as soon as it leaves the bowler’s hand and then takes another recording about 50cm further in the ball’s flight. The average of the two speeds is taken for the final reading.

The accuracy of speed readings has come under the scanner this year after Pakistan’s Shoaib Akhtar was recorded at an apparent world record 161 kmph while bowling to New Zealand’s Craig McMillan in Lahore in April.

The speed shown on television and the reading on a scoreboard on the ground differed by almost 10 kmph.

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