Oh did you know that Mongoose MM13 – he seem to refer it as a rifle or something- guarantees to offer 20% more power than traditional designs?
No, I admitted, I did not know that.
Well then. You have also probably heard of the famous ‘Catapulta’ mentioned in Wisden how it was the first bowling machine invented by Nicholas Felix. He was a many of many talents. A classical scholar, a musician, linguist, author, artist and of course an inventor, his highest score in first-class cricket was 113 for Kent against Sussex in 1847. He scored – Sadhu seemed to have phenomenal memory – a century for England v. M.C.C. and Ground at Lord’s in 1843. Also in the year of 1842, his innings of 88 won the match for the Gentlemen when they had not beaten the Players, on even terms, for 20 years.
He is also known for the inventor India rubber batting gloves.
But of course a first known invention would obviously have to be the ball. The construction of the ball is unique and there is an exactness to it. In 1780, Duke of Kent manufactured the ball and still delivers for first-class matches. It is 5½ ounces of cork covered by four quarters of shiny leather casing woven together by six pieces of string or seam. Contrast it with the tape ball of recent times introduced in the streets of Pakistan first where a half of a tennis ball is covered with electrical tape.
But from the early days of the Catapulta before we enter the labs of Loughborough, do note the importance of sightscreen, catching cradle, the score sheet, the bails, and of Hawkeye and hotspot.
There is also the Snickometer which was invented by the English computer scientist Allan Plaskett, and it records a ‘snick’ through soundwaves on a computer screen.
But the ultimate wizardry of invention must be that of Merlyn invented by Henry Pryor. As the site proclaims:
Merlyn by BOLA’ is a state-of-the-art machine that delivers programmable, spinning balls, of every imaginable variety. It really has had everyone in a spin!
It surely must have taken a fletcher’s imagination to create the first bowling machine for it to evolve into one programmable of such subtle nuances.