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Gear This Week: Talking Balls

Stuart Appleby takes a look at the Platypus Speedball Cricket Ball – a funky new piece of kit that allows you to measure the speed of your own bowling. 

Whether you’re a club cricketer, pub cricketer or casual cricketer, playing with or against a genuine quick bowler often begs the question: just how fast are they actually bowling?

Likewise many of us would like to know how our own bowling speeds match up to England stars like James Anderson and Graeme Swann. Now, with the Platypus Speedball Cricket Ball (SSP £34.99), those questions can be answered.

The innovative, bright-orange Platypus (with a full bowling seam) has a plastic covering, similar to that of an Incrediball, but also feels deceptively familiar to a traditional English cricket ball in and out of the hand at the point of release. And then there’s its main attraction: it measures your own bowling speed.

It might not quite be the match of Hawk-Eye’s widely renowned speed recording camera systems, but it does the job and delivers reliable results when used in accordance with some simplistic instructions. To ensure the ball records an accurate speed the bowler must first decide what length they wish to bowl and use the small visual display screen (inbuilt electronic ball sensor) to set the measurement.

Once this quick set-up is complete, simply grip the ball and bowl. The sensor then displays your bowling speed in kilometres per hour, but only after you pitch the ball in the desired area. It’s also important to note that the ball should never be used with a cricket bat.

As far as training devices go the Platypus is a more than useful and durable option, whether you’re looking to use the ball to monitor bowling speed progression through the course of a summer or practise pitching the ball in disciplined areas. In short, it’s a versatile, modern training tool that will add an extra facet to your practice.

Click here to read expert advice on knocking in your bat in Gear Last Week

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