May 26, 2016 / 7:46 AM / a year ago

Australia embrace guided missile technology in Ashes quest

Australia's test cricket captain Steve Smith holds the Frank Worrell trophy among team mates after their third cricket test against the West Indies at the SCG in Sydney, January 7, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Reed/Files

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia are resorting to guided missile technology to help their fast bowlers reclaim the Ashes from England next year.

Steve Smith’s team have been grappling with injuries in their pace attack with Peter Siddle and James Pattinson out of action, while Mitchell Starc has just recovered after being sidelined since November with a foot fracture.

The upcoming tour of Sri Lanka will see the Australian bowlers embrace the “torpedo technology”, using “smart algorithms” planted in a wearable tracking device, to track and reduce injuries to the pacemen.

Sports scientists at Australian Catholic University’s School of Exercise Science developed the algorithms and have recommended in a report in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that cricket coaches use them.

“These ‘smart algorithms’ rely on the interaction of the accelerometers, magnetometers and gyroscopes housed within the wearable unit - the same technology used to navigate submarines, guided missiles and spacecraft,” the report’s co-author Dr Tim Gabbett said.

Existing methods of measuring the workload of the bowler only take into account the number of deliveries bowled and not the intensity and effort required.

“Tagging individual balls with an intensity measure provides both immediate analysis such as identifying effort balls, or potentially a drop in performance due to fatigue, or longer term workload analysis,” Dean McNamara, the other co-author, added.

“Measuring bowling intensity for individual balls or sessions provides context for the acute and chronic workload of the individual bowler, and ultimately the preparedness of the bowler for the maximal workload of the immediate competition.”

The researchers have also assisted the Wales rugby union team, who take on world champions New Zealand in a three-test series next month, and believe the technology could be applicable in baseball, tennis, football and many other sports.

Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru and Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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