There is a story going around on social media that Sri Lanka’s young fast bowler Matheesha Pathirana clocked the speed of 108 miles per hour (close to 175 KPH) while playing against India in the U19 World Cup which is taking place in South Africa.
— विनय 🇮🇳 (@imvinay_09) January 20, 2020
How true is this story? Let’s do a quick fact check –
It’s true that the speedometer showed the speed of the delivery as 108 mph, but the speedometer that is used to measure the speed of the ball has some technical limitations which can create confusion at times.
The speedometer can measure the speed of anything that crosses the pitch at the time the ball is being delivered by the bowler.
For example – If there is an airplane going by at the time of the delivery, it will certainly cause the speedometer to judge the speed of the ball wrong. A bird flying over may also cause the same.
It has happened once in the past as well, in 2015 when a ball from Josh Hazlewood had clocked the speed of 164.2 KPH. Later the officials themselves clarified that it was a technical glitch.
A delivery which is bowled at 175 KPH would look significantly fast on TV and also, to the audience who are watching the game in the stadium. The delivery from Pathirana, which is the subject of discussion, didn’t look anywhere near as fast as a 175 KPH object.
Also, according to the sports scientists, the bowlers playing junior cricket below the age of 19 don’t generally have their muscles developed to an extent that they can touch the speeds in the range of 100 mph (close to 160 KPH).
Foe Pathirana, it’s close to impossible to touch 175 KPH at this stage of his career. First of all, he is too young to bowl that fast. Secondly, even if he had bowled that fast, it would have “felt” fast, but it didn’t feel that way.
It’s more than likely to be a technical glitch by the speedometer again.