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Objectives: To evaluate the current evidence regarding the quantification of cricket fast-bowling skill. Methods: Studies that assessed fast-bowling skill (bowling speed and accuracy) were identified from searches in SPORTDiscus (EBSCO) in June 2017. The reference lists of identified papers were also examined for relevant investigations. Results: A total of 16 papers matched the inclusion criteria, and discrepancies in assessment procedures were evident. Differences in test environment, pitch, and cricket ball characteristics; the warm-up prior to test; test familiarization procedures; permitted run-up lengths; bowling spell length; delivery sequence; test instructions; collection of bowling speed data; and collection and reportage of bowling accuracy data were apparent throughout the literature. The reliability and sensitivity of fast-bowling skill measures have rarely been reported across the literature. Only 1 study has attempted to assess the construct validity of its skill measures. Conclusions: There are several discrepancies in how fast-bowling skill has been assessed and subsequently quantified in the literature to date. This is a problem, because comparisons between studies are often difficult. Therefore, a strong rationale exists for the creation of match-specific standardized fast-bowling assessments that offer greater ecological validity while maintaining acceptable reliability and sensitivity of the skill measures. If prospective research can act on the proposed recommendations from this review, then coaches will be able to make more informed decisions surrounding player selection, talent identification, return to skill following injury, and the efficacy of short- and long-term training interventions for fast bowlers.
Feros is with the Centre for Sports Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Waurn Ponds, VIC, Australia. Feros, Young, and O’Brien are with the Faculty of Health, Federation University Australia, Mt Helen, VIC, Australia.