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Does dehydration affect bowling speed, the point of release and where the ball pitches?
 

Physique Demands on Cricket Players

The demands on the physique of players are determined by different tasks such as bowling, fielding, wicket, energy and the duration of matches when playing (Callaghan, 2018). During carrying out the dehydration test matches, the athletes are required to spend about six hours in the field from morning to evening on monitoring the rate of dehydration levels in their bodies; as a result, there are effects on the bowling speed, point of release and where the ball pitches.  The players have the opportunities to replace the fluid that is lost during when they take a break.  Nevertheless, it is challenging for most of the athletes to replace the losses of fluid at the period of play in the hot and also the conditions that are humid (Feros, Young & O’Brien, 2017).

This study will aim to investigate and how dehydration affects the bowling speed, point of release and where the ball pitches. Performance tests are to be carried amongst the fast-bowlers, batsmen, and fielders when playing in hotter and the humid environments.  The fastest bowlers, fielders, and batsmen were the participants in the trials carried out in the field. The fluid provision trial and the fluid restriction trial would consist of two hours standardized training sessions and pre-training and post-training for the skill performances assessments. The bowling speed, accuracy in the line and length, the speed and accuracy of over arm, sidearm and underarms and timed running between the wickets are to be assessed for the pre and post-trainings for every trial.

The status of hydration for an athlete may appear to be vital when determining the factors in the performance of their exercise. The body losses mass for about two percent through dehydration and may impair the achievements of the athlete significantly since the decrements are proportional to the level of loss of fluid (Worthington, King & Ranson, 2013). However, there have been recent studies which have revealed the performance of impairment with the mass of the body and losses at least 1% of it. Exercising in the environments having temperatures that appear to be higher than 25°C and about 60% humidity may pose a tremendous thermal trauma for the athletes; this may result to the increase in such as results in increased sweating and have more significant fluid losses (Hilligan, 2008). As a result, the exercises in the environments that are hot decreases the extended and intermittent exercises capacity among most athletes. The level of the physiological strain on the cardiovascular and also mechanisms for thermoregulation is excellent with a high degree of hypohydration (Johnstone & Ford, 2010). 

Investigating Effects of Dehydration on Cricket Performance

The dehydration effects on athletes and concerning their performances on the field have extensively been researched. Recent studies had indicated that there had been a decrease in the aerobic and anaerobic skill performances and muscular strengths when the subjects performed exercises when their bodies were dehydrated. Experimental research has also demonstrated the motor-skill harm on specific sports exercises such as cricket, golf, surfing, and basketball following the loss of fluid.  There has been some evidence which indicates the detrimental outcome of dehydration on its effects on the bowling speed of athletes when playing in the field.

According to McCartney, Desbrow, & Irwin, (2017), the individuals who are dehydrated are recommended to consume at least 1.3 to 1.5 liters of fluid per kilogram of body mass that is lost to replenish the content of water in the body.  It’s therefore noted that fluid has potential to inhibit or enhance performances such as the performances in athletes when they are exposed to the hot and humid conditions for long hours. Finding out the best strategies for rehydration which may counteract the effects of fluid loss is necessary, and also optimizing the performances on the subsequent tasks. From this study it is clear that high dehydration levels may affect the bowling speed and ball release.

Nuccio, Barnes, Carter & Baker (2017), examined the effect of the volume of the ingested fluid concerning performances. Reducing probability of the gastrointestinal disturbances influenced the subsequent performances in the field. Thus the significance of the ingesting fluid impacted on the subsequent athlete’s outcomes on performance (Nuccio, Barnes, Carter & Baker, 2017). Ingestion of fluid recovered the amount of fluid that was lost and helped to recover the normal bowling actions, ball pitches and release.  

Some studies have investigated the amount of intake of fluids and also the loss of sweat amongst the athletes. Johnstone  & Ford  (2010), examined the amount of intake of fluid and rate of loss of sweat among the cricketers, with the examination of the impacts of dehydration levels on skill performances of the players from different positions of play. A survey was carried out amongst the Australian cricketers at a 3 hour training sessions in the hot and humid conditions showed that most of the players lost about 1200 ml of sweat in every hour with a huge variation (Petersen, 2010). Additionally, the loss of fluid among the female cricketers in the tournaments revealed that the average loss of sweat varied from 0.31-0.36 L/h to 1.54L without any statistical considerable differences between the batsmen, fielders and bowlers (Petersen, 2010). The results of the studies revealed that the cricketers had large variations in the losses of sweat.

Fluid Provision and Restriction Trials for Cricket Athletes

According to Gamage, Silva, Nalliah & Galloway, (2008), the dehydration levels varied with the rate of ball release and speed of run-up. Due to the significant differences in the speeds for the run-up, they added that speed for ball release and pitches varied between bowlers as dehydration levels continued to increase. The results showed positive correlations between the speed of run-up, ball pitches, and ball release but recorded a negative relationship between the speed of run-up and the accuracy; this suggested that the bowlers usually selected the approach of speed which gave out the optimal ball speeds and efficiency. However, Duffield, Carney & Karppinen (2009), reveal that the data which is available does not maintain conclusions that the dehydration levels make essential contribution to the ball release speed and ball pitching.  Ikegawa et al., (2011) stated that the lengths for the delivery stride were dependent on speed for the approaches to every delivery slide and the physical fitness of the bowler. They argued that the dehydration levels of the bowler increased with the speed of ball release and reduced the delivery stride and the approach inhibited the ability of mastering of the side on delivery. However, there has been little data that is currently available to validate the general conclusions that were made.   

Twenty cricketers that included six batsmen, eight fast bowlers and ten fielders from the Winners Academy from the United Kingdom volunteered to participate in the study to find out dehydration effects on the bowling speed, the point of release and where the ball pitches. The participants have investigated injuries and were found to be fit to carry out the research. All the athletes later received an incentive of a voucher for the participation in the study.  The participants were found to have previous experiences in fast-bowling and had previously trained with the overweight and underweight balls during the last seasons.  The participants were told about procedures and the risks before taking the study. 

The study was carried out by the use of cross-over designs with two free trials in the field. This included the Fluid Provision and the fluid restriction trials.  The tests took place after seven days each with the activity and control for two days preceding every trial and fasting from 9 pm till morning on the day before trial.  On the trial day in the morning, breakfast was provided with standardized volumes of fluid to ensure the athletes were euhydrated before the tests. The breakfast involved meat sandwiches, pieces of butter cake, medium-sized banana and also milk, this complied with recommendable pre-event meals for the athletes. Body masses, urine specific gravity and also the urine color measurements were undertaken before each trial and evaluated the hydration status at the pre-trial for all the days of trial.  Each of the trials was conducted for about four hours and also involved two-hour sessions of training with pre-training tests and post-tests of assessment of skills.

Assessing Bowling Speed, Accuracy, and Timed Running in Cricket Players

The two-hour training session involved the specific cricket drills which included running short distances and sprints, the cricket activities and field drills that were carried out in the routine of training that was supervised the coach of the team. The sessions of exercise were also controlled to maintain the same amount of time and intensity for the trial days to avoid effects to the post-test performances. The aim being ingesting the fluids at steady rates and regular intervals in the after every two-hour training sessions to maintain low body mass losses in the final pretrial with an intake of fluids. The Pre and post-test performances assessments involved bowling, batting and field performance tests.

The bowling speed test was carried out during the exercise and they occurred in the four stages which included the run-up, pre-delivery stride, follow through and the delivery stride. The commencement of the run-up stage is when the bowler tries to jog or walk over approach marker and increasing the speed gradually when approaching the wicket, this makes him leap in the air prior to the pre-delivery stride to make the front foot hit the ground (Petersen, Pyne, Dawson, Kellett, & Portus, 2011). For the success of fast bowling, there were combination of different range of factors; one of the most critical variables for the process is the speed that a ball takes when it is released.

The athlete’s body masses were also measured by use of the calibrated digital weighing scale and the results measured to the nearest 0.1 kg. The masses were obtained with the athletes wearing minimal clothing. This was after they wiped off the sweats and emptied their bladder. Each athlete was then given a drink bottle for ingestion of fluid and separate containers to collect the urine.  The total volume of fluid and urine produced during the four hour trial period was determined.  

A sweat sample was of collected on each of the trial days by use of a sweat patch which was applied in the lumbar-vertebral region. Their skin was cleaned with an alcohol solution and deionized by use of the sterilization techniques. The sweat patches were then removed after every hour. The pre and post-trial urine samples were obtained to measure the hydration status of the athletes.  

From the tests that were carried out on the athletes, it was discovered that, the Mean ambient temperature level (30.1°C) and humidity level (77%) were not different from the Fluid Provision and the fluid restriction trials. The average ambient temperature throughout four h  ours for every trial day was 27 °C and 33°C for the two trials with a humidity level of 68% and 70% on average. The speed of the wind was not recorded, but the Department of Meteorology indicated that the mean speed of the wind was three mph at the time of the study.  The data for the loss of mass, ingested fluid volume, the amount of urine passed, and the calculated loss of sweat over the four hour periods for every group of the athlete for the trials were also found for the trials.  

Fluid Intake and Performance Enhancement in Cricket

There existed a difference in the loss of body weight with the athletes losing about 0.7% of the mass of the body during the fluid provision trial and about 3.8% during the fluid restriction mode. The mean sweat rates were 840 ml/hour in the fluid provision trials and 864 ml/hour for the fluid restriction trials. The Batsmen had a significant loss of sweat and fluid intake. The output of urine was extensively lower in the fluid restriction trials compared to the fluid provision trials. The results led to little performances in the field which affected the bowling speed, point of ball release and where the ball pitches. 

Conclusion

From the observations, it was clear that dehydration affected the speed of bowling, the point of ball release and where the ball pitches. The higher amounts of dehydration were as a result of prolonged times that were taken during the outdoor cricket performances in the field. The increased dehydration levels led to the decline of performance such as low bowling speeds and accuracy amongst the fast bowlers, the side and over arm speed of throwing, the skills and the fielders, and completion of runs for the batsmen. The performance levels were not altered when the players ingested plenty of fluids to maintain their mean body mass losses. 

References

Callaghan, S. J. (2018). The mechanics of front leg loading during cricket fast bowling: delivery variations, spell demands, and the effects of strength training.

Duffield, R., Carney, M., & Karppinen, S. (2009). Physiological responses and bowling performance during repeated spells of medium-fast bowling. Journal of Sports Sciences, 27(1), 27-35.

Feros, S. A., Young, W. B., & O’Brien, B. J. (2017). Quantifying Cricket Fast Bowling Skill. International journal of sports physiology and performance, 1-30.

Gamage, J. P., De Silva, A. P., Nalliah, A. K., & Galloway, S. D. (2008.)Effects of dehydration on cricket specific skill performance in hot and humid conditions 3 Type of submission: Original Investigation 4.

Hilligan, B. K. (2008). The relationship between core stability and bowling speed in asymptomatic male indoor action cricket bowlers (Doctoral dissertation).

Ikegawa, S., Kamijo, Y. I., Okazaki, K., Masuki, S., Okada, Y., & Nose, H. (2011). Effects of hypohydration on thermoregulation during exercise before and after 5-day aerobic training in a warm environment in young men. Journal of Applied Physiology, 110(4), 972-980.

Johnstone, J. A., & Ford, P. A. (2010). Physiologic profile of professional cricketers. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(11), 2900-2907.

Johnstone, J. A., Mitchell, A. C., Hughes, G., Watson, T., Ford, P. A., & Garrett, A. T. (2014). The athletic profile of fast bowling in cricket: A review. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 28(5), 1465-1473.

McCartney, D., Desbrow, B., & Irwin, C. (2017). The effect of fluid intake following dehydration on subsequent athletic and cognitive performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports medicine-open, 3(1), 13.

Nuccio, R. P., Barnes, K. A., Carter, J. M., & Baker, L. B. (2017). Fluid Balance in Team Sport Athletes and the Effect of Hypohydration on Cognitive, Technical, and Physical Performance. Sports Medicine, 47(10), 1951-1982.

Petersen, C. J. (2010). Elite cricket match and training demands and performance enhancement in hot/humid environments (Doctoral dissertation, University of Western Australia).

Petersen, C. J., Pyne, D. B., Dawson, B. T., Kellett, A. D., & Portus, M. R. (2011). Comparison of training and game demands of national level cricketers. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 25(5), 1306-1311.

Phillips, E., Portus, M., Davids, K., & Renshaw, I. (2012). Performance accuracy and functional variability in elite and developing fast bowlers. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 15(2), 182-188.

Wickington, K. L., & Linthorne, N. P. (2017). Effect of ball weight on speed, accuracy, and mechanics in cricket fast bowling. Sports, 5(1), 18.

Worthington, P. J., King, M. A., & Ranson, C. A. (2013). Relationships between fast bowling technique and ball release speed in cricket. Journal of applied biomechanics, 29(1), 78-84.

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