The Mechanics of Bowling Speed Measurement in Cricket

Considered a “gentleman’s game,” cricket is a team sport that charms players and sports enthusiasts alike with its highly distinctive gameplay. It is a product of different yet equally important elements: fielding, batting, and bowling.

Bowling is the part of the sport that brings the ball into the game at great speed. The history of cricket has seen some of the fastest bowlers, such as Shoaib Akhtar, Shane Bond, Brett Lee, J. Thomson, and Malcolm Marshall). Currently, Shoaib Akhtar from Pakistan holds the record for the fastest delivery at 161.3 km/h.

The incredible recorded speed makes one wonder: “How do they measure the bowling speed quickly?”

There are two ways to measure bowling speed in cricket: radar gun and Hawk-Eye technology.

Radar Gun

Measuring bowling speed by a radar gun is similar to measuring the speed of a moving car. Also known as a speed gun, the speed measuring equipment consists of both a transmitter and a receiver. Sports officials purchase radar gun for sale because of its accurate speed measurement.

It measures speed by sending a radio wave reflected by the object along its path. In this case, it’s a cricket ball. The gun receives this echo and applies the principle of Doppler Effect (the change in wavelength or frequency of a wave as it approaches or moves away from the observer) and calculates the speed of the ball.

Advantages of using a radar gun:

  • Accurate speed measurement
  • Instantaneous recording of speed as the ball passes the gun. Players can immediately see the speed on the screen.


Dr. Paul Hawkins originally invented the Hawk-Eye for television purposes in cricket. The system is composed of six (in some cases, seven) cameras positioned on the underside of the stadium’s roof. These cameras track the ball’s speed from different angles. Hawk-Eye uses the data from the six cameras to track the ball’s path from the time it leaves the hand of the bowler until it goes dead.

This speed measuring system is not infallible but is accurate within 3.6 millimeters. It also helps judges understand the length and direction at which the ball left the bowlers’ hand and headed to the stumps. Hawk-Eye also enables 3rd umpires to make the leg before wicket (LBW) decision by allowing them to see if the ball was actually in the line of the stumps when it hit the batsman’s pads.

Advantages of the Hawk-Eye

  • Accurate measurement of ball speed
  • Clearly states the authenticity of the ball hitting the stumps
  • Confirmation of the legitimacy of ball delivery

It’s impossible to measure ball speed manually. Fortunately, with radar guns and the Hawk-Eye system, this need not be a problem. With technology, it is easier to ensure the transparency in this gentleman’s game (or in any other sport, for that matter).

Radar Sports, LLC is the leading provider of quality radar guns and other sports management equipment made in the USA. Browse through our range of products to find the perfect speed measurement tool for your game.

For more information about our products, get in touch with us today.

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