Date of Submission
The sport of cricket is challenged by three formats of the game; each with varying workload demands. The most recent format is T20 cricket, first played internationally in 2005. Further to this, elite performers are often required to play for upwards of four different professional teams across the year; increasing the complexities in player workload management and other sports science-related support.
Fast bowlers have greater overall match-play demands than other playing positions in cricket. Wearable microtechnology for tracking external load in athletes is common practice. Despite microtechnology enabling meaningful analyses of workload beyond routinely reported metrics, little application has occurred within fast bowling.
The high injury risk in fast bowlers is well established, yet the intensive demands on these athletes remain poorly understood. The overall aim of this program of research was to use scientific literature to first understand the interaction of workload, injury and performance in elite level fast bowlers and then improve the understanding of workload management using advances in wearable microtechnology. The program of research in this thesis “with publication” first generated studies identifying the problem (a systematic review). The four subsequent chapters of original research built on the review to profile the match-play and training demands of cricketers, explore the variability of wearable microtechnology outputs during fast bowling, and finally develop and quantify an innovative means to monitor and manage workload within the specific demands of fast bowling in cricket.
Although monitoring acute and chronic workloads of fast bowlers remains the most ideal method for identifying preparedness and injury likelihood in fast bowlers, complexities exist that make the systematic prescription of bowling workloads difficult. The results confirmed that the external load of cricket match-play and training varied between fast bowlers and non-fast bowlers. Furthermore, external loads experienced by 26 elite performing cricketers differentially affected the neuromuscular, endocrine, and perceptual fatigue responses of these players.
Outputs from wearable microtechnology provided adequate stability across the performance of elite fast bowlers. These outputs were comparable with routinely used measures of fast bowling performance and intensity. Algorithms linking microtechnology outputs demonstrated good sensitivity in detecting fast bowling events in elite cricketers across competition (99.5%) and training (99.0%). The specificity of detecting fast bowling events decreased in competition (74.0%) however, remained high during training (98.1%). With the ability to automatically detect fast bowling events, metrics of bowling intensity can be explored more rigorously. Outputs from the gyroscope and accelerometers in the wearable technology provided strong associations with prescribed bowling intensity.
Collectively, this thesis has highlighted the challenges of applied research in cricket, and more specifically the capacity to more objectively monitor external load in cricket fast bowlers. Wearable microtechnology has the potential to advance and refine measures of bowling workload and provide a greater depth of support for cricket fast bowlers.
School of Exercise Science
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Faculty of Health Sciences
McNamara, D. (2016). Cricket fast bowler monitoring and workload management (Doctoral thesis, Australian Catholic University). Retrieved from http://researchbank.acu.edu.au/theses/635