The lateral batting backlift technique: is it a contributing factor to success for professional cricket players at the highest level?
Background: This study aimed primarily to investigate the lateral batting backlift technique (LBBT) among semi-professional, professional and current international cricket players. A key question was to investigate whether this technique is a factor that contributes to success for cricket players at the highest levels of the game.
Methods: The participants in this study’s sample (n = 130) were South African semi-professional players (SP) (n = 69), professional players (PP) (n = 49) and South African international professional players (SAI) (n = 12). Biomechanical and video analyses were performed on all the participating groups. Classifiers were utilised to identify the batting backlift technique type (BBTT) employed by all batsmen. All statistics and wagon wheels (scoring areas of the batsmen on a cricket field) were sourced online. A Pearson’s Chi-squared test, Student T-test, one-way analysis of variance and T-test were performed in this study. All analyses were performed using R (R Core Team) at a significance level of α = 0.05.
Results: This study found that a LBBT is more common at the highest levels of batsmanship with batsmen at the various levels of cricket having percentages of the LBBT as follows: SP = 37%; PP = 38%; SAI = 75%; p = 0.001. There was also a noticeably higher difference in the highest scores and career averages between all groups of players, as well as batsmen who either use a straight batting backlift technique (SBBT) or a LBBT. This study also found that SAI batsmen who used the LBBT were more proficient at scoring runs in various areas around the cricket field (according to the wagon wheel analysis).
Conclusion: This study found that a LBBT is a contributing factor for success regarding players wanting to play cricket at the highest levels. Cricket coaches should also pay attention to the direction of the backlift with players, especially when correlating it to various scoring areas on the cricket field. Further in-depth research is required to fully investigate the change in batting backlift techniques among cricket players over a long-term period.
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