Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What's in a surnaM?

Sean M? (,) armed with a curiously query-ous surname, has understandably asked himself a few questions on batsmen's ball reading abilities. Without uttering a word on that "M?" puzzle Nagraj Gollapudi gets straight down to business in his article on Sean's observations:

At international level, when a fast bowler is bowling, it takes about 600 milliseconds for the ball to reach the batsman from the point of release, and approximately 900ms for a spinner. The total time the batsman takes to make his movements is much greater. The visual processing of the information takes about 200ms, the movement of the feet about 350-400ms, the back-lift about 200ms, and the downswing another 200ms. "So, you can't wait till late in the ball's flight or bounce to start making your decision," says M?

Guess we thought very differently all these years. BTW Nagraj is still not offering an explanation, not even a line of it, for the M? name and proceeds:

M? says that most batsmen can't verbally explain where the information is coming from. They just tend to be able to predict where the ball is going when they are shown videos, which means the information is received on a subconscious level. "It comes through numerous hours of practice, exposure to different environments, facing different bowlers, facing the same bowler many times," he explains.

It is a bit like sensing what a woman likes, I guess. Some people are pretty special at guessing what women want, while others subscribe to Double your Dating emails. We are nearing the end of Nagraj's piece and still there's no explanation for the M? (That was not my punctuation - I intended to end that sentence with a full stop but....). That is not all; now comes the bad news for us bowlers:

M?s research has the potential of allowing coaches to understand which parts of the body information is picked up from to predict the length and the type of ball that will be bowled. And that, he thinks, will benefit coaches and help them understand and identify talent, as well as help batsmen understand how bowlers operate.

And there ends the article. It leaves me rather Mbattled, and still wondering about the '?'. But bowlers yo, do we aim to M*** (Maul, Manhandle......or m, m worse) this Sean M? for bringing further trouble upon the bowling fraternity?

Ah....that soothed the heart no end. Never before till today did I realise that the joys of putting a question mark without feeling odd about it are comparable to delight after bowling a perfect (and intended) yorker.

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