May 31, 2009

England cricket

I can see clearly now ...

Martin Williamson





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It seems that England’s secret weapon against the Australians this summer won’t be the super substitutes of the Duncan Fletcher era. This time they will be relying on … sunglasses.

Before the inevitable jibes about the sun never shining in England, there’s a mini heatwave on at the moment (OK, it’s still chilly for most visitors but the British have low heat tolerance) and the forecasters are predicting a hot summer. And scientists have found that the right type of sunglasses could improve catching ability by up to 28%.

Most sunglasses worn by cricketers are too dark, so some clearly underutilised boffins decided after months of painstaking research carried out in bars next to cricket grounds the length and breadth of the land. As a result, players have been told how to optimise their vision by wearing the right coloured lenses for the conditions from a selection of yellow, red, gold, silver and orange.

Alarmingly, the researchers said that one of the people asked to test the sunglasses to assess the impact they made was … er … Monty Panesar. “We wanted to see what improvement they made to their performance and were put through their paces by fielding machines under a range of different lighting conditions,” said an aforementioned boffin.

It seems that the ECB is so taken with the research that it has even experimented with tinted contact lenses, but the idea was dropped after some players expressed unease.

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Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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