India is ready to give to the world cricket’s first mechanical bowling machine that doesn’t need electricity. The machine has been tested successfully and launched by star Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Arjuna awardee Ashwin has given a live demonstration of cricket’s first non-electric cricket ball thrower – Freebowler at Centre for Sports Science (CSS) in Chennai. The one-of-its-kind machine that was launched a few months ago, doesn’t require any batteries, cords or electricity ports. This is easily portable, too.
Unlike other electric bowling machines that use plastic-coated synthetic dimple balls, the Freebowler machine enables the batsman to play with proper cricket balls. An electric bowling machine has rotating wheels that squeeze the ball before it is thrown out, which can damage the threading of the ball. The Freebowler, on the other hand, simulates realistic bowling action with “a throwing arm”. This feature of the machine can assist a batsman to prepare for challenging batting conditions of England, Australia, South Africa or New Zealand, as it can swing the ball in the air and also land the ball on the seam.
Ashwin, who is the world’s quickest bowler to reach 300 Test wickets said, “Throw downs are a crucial aspect of a batsman’s training, but more often than not, it becomes difficult to find another person to give throw downs as it’s a taxing activity. This non-electric ball thrower is the best-ever invention by engineers of Freebowler. It can be packed in a bag, easily assembled and can be operated even by a young cricketer. Moreover, this will help reduce the stress on the arms of the coaches who usually end up giving 400-500 throw downs in one practice sessions.”
Ashwin who has also scored four Test centuries added, “It took me quite a few years to improve my batting and had this product been available in my formative years, I would have reached my batting pinnacle faster.”
Pratheek Palanthera, Co-founder of Freebowler, narrated the circumstances that led to the invention of this machine, “I have always been an avid cricket follower and a mechanical engineer by profession. It was during our time at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania when my partner Justin Jacobs and I decided to make this machine as part of our project in Technical Entrepreneurship course.”
Palanthera who also got another co-founder Vishwanath HK on-board as Chief Financial Officer added, “We see a great synergy between Ashwin and our product. It’s an improvisation of a handheld thrower. It can also simulate spin bowling and with Ashwin’s suggestions, we have improved our product. “
Freebowler has also been tested by India’s legendary batsman Rahul Dravid, and current India players Cheteshwar Pujara and KL Rahul.