The long delayed project of establishing a biomechanics lab in Pakistan has finally been completed. What was to be completed in 2008, has been inaugurated on 23 May, 2016. Pakistan has its own biomechanics lab now, which should help the local cricketers is fixing their bowling actions.
In recent times, three Pakistani bowlers were alleged of illegal bowling actions. Pakistan’s star off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and all-rounder Muhammad Hafeez were two of the victims of mismanagement and the lack of proper facilities in Pakistan. Hafeez was banned from bowling, while Saeed Ajmal while failed to remain as effective as before remodelling his bowling action.
Pakistani Biomechanics Lab
The biomechanics lab has been developed by the PCB in partnership with LUMS. The PCB has lent $460,000 worth of equipment to the university for three years. The lab will play a vital role in avoiding any bowling action scandals in the future and could be crucial for the development of talent in Pakistan. The lab will work under LUMS engineering laboratory director, Ahmed Kamal Nasir, a PHD in mobile robotics and Mian Muhammad Awais, a professor of artificial intelligence.
Shehryar Khan, Chairman PCB, stated at the inauguration event that “The laboratory contains all the equipment and facilities required to meet international standards and to get ICC’s accreditation.”
Saeed Ajmal, the star offspinner, said “Finally there is a biomechanics lab in Pakistan, something which should have been done a couple of years back. If we had this facility, I could have modified my action.”
27 domestic bowlers allegedly bowl with illegal actions in the Pakistani domestic circuit. All of them will finally be able to identify and rectify any problems with their actions.
There are currently five ICC certified biomechanics labs in the world. Shehryar Khan says that the Pakistani biomechanics lab meets the standards set by the ICC. They have all the cameras and the equipment. He said there next target is to get the Pakistani biomechanics lab accredited by the ICC. Experts from the ICC body will visit Pakistan regarding the accreditation.
The PCB Chairman told the media that the lab will be shifted to a better place in the future. He added that even the current location does not pose any difficulties in getting ICC accreditation, however, it is needed to improve the facilities even more.
However, PCB’s claims, might be wrong. The current set up does not have space for a fast bowler to complete his run up. Another issue is that there is no place to install the cameras below the pitch, necessary for viewing the bowler’s movements from every angle.
Importance of the Lab in Cricket
Not only are such labs used for fixing illegal bowling actions. Bowlers with improper actions, which lead to multiple injuries, will now be able to ascertain issues and change their actions accordingly. Batsmen can also make use of the biomechanics information to improve their stance in get detailed knowledge of their movements while playing their shots. Many international stars improved their cricket by identifying issues via biomechanics reports and coaching. One such example is Martin Guptill, who has improved his batting many-fold during the past few years.
Reasons Behind the 8-year delay
Pakistani biomechanics lab was delayed due to inconsistent policies and corruption. Naseem Ashraf started the project in 2008, which was delayed after his resignation. Ijaz Butt overlooked the matter claiming there were some financial mismanagement in the audit reports. The next chairman, Zaka Ashraf wanted to make NCA as the centre of excellence for cricket and even brought-in Pakistan’s only renowned biomechanist, Hafsa Zaneb. However, the matter was put aside due to the legal tussle between him and Najam Sethi after the new government took charge.
Pakistan could have been the first Asian country with a biomechanics lab eight years ago
During Najam Sethi’s one year tenure, he completely ignored the matter. The project was revivied after some Pakistani bowlers were banned from bowling in international cricket and a large number of bowlers were reported in the domestic circuit. Since then, the project has been managed by Shehryar Khan. The lab was supposed to be completed by March 2015 when another alleged financial fraud popped up. Meanwhile, the equipment was stored somewhere, where the cameras got damaged and the software became obsolete. These equipment issues delayed the matter even more.
The biomechanics lab brings great educational opportunities for the Pakistanis. LUMS, like most other universities in Pakistan, does not have offer courses on sports sciences and biomechanics studies. The lab holds great research potential for LUMS engineering faculty. It can also help boost the university’s engineering status in the country. The university’s officials stated that a new course, in partnership with a foreign university, will be introduced very soon.
The biomechanics lab will act as a magnet to attract individuals interested in acquiring a career in the biomechanics field. The lab can also be used by non-LUMS experts, who can come and use the equipment to share their expertise with the PCB and LUMS.
Not only does the biomechanics lab hold great importance for Pakistan cricket, it will prove to be useful in creating a new technical sports industry with local experts in the field. Even football or hockey players can make use of the lab’s facilities, according to the PCB officials.
It is good to see that the lab has finally been completed. Now it is time to see how the PCB, the LUMS faculty and other sports authorities will manage and make proper use of the facility. For the time being, Pakistan will need to employ foreign experts until locals can be trained.