VIJITHA HERATH of the University of Paderborn, Germany, writes: Apropos the claim that Adam Gilchrist had a squash ball in his left glove during his innings at the finals of the cricket World Cup.
Let me offer a scientific perspective.
A squash ball is a rubber ball. Unlike a cricket (leather) ball, it compresses when pressure is applied on it. When the pressure is released, it take its original shape. In short, it acts like a spring ( e.g.: a motorcycle shock absorber).
So what happens when a batman has a squash ball in the palm of his bottom hand?
When a batsman swings the bat until it hits the ball, there is pressure on his bottom hand. This pressure compresses the squash ball thus storing energy in the ball similar to spring. Just after the ball hits the bat (ball still touching the bat) this pressure starts to relax while the bat is moving forward.
At the same time the energy stored in the squash ball releases its energy to the bat in the form of kinetic energy. The result is that the bat moves faster than normal (without a ball in the glove).
As a result, the release-speed of the cricket ball becomes faster resulting in the ball traveling further before hitting the ground. Therefore it results in more sixes and fours being scored.
The downside is because the bat travels faster than normal the batmen might lose control of the bat. This happened once in the Adam Gilchrist’s innings when the bat slipped out of his hands and fell behind the wickets. If you have any doubts please try to do it yourself and see the result.
In brief Gilchrist’s use of the squash ball allowed him to hit the ball further in the field.
An interesting statistic: Gilchrist faced 104 balls and hit thriteen 4s and eight 6s. All the other Australian batsmen (Hayden, Ponting, Symonds, Watson, et al) faced 127 balls and hit just seven 4s and two 6s.
Is this method legal? I don’t know.
Are other batsmen using this method? I don’t know either.