Cricket and inexplicable acceleration

By Abhijit Menon-Sen <ams@toroid.org>

2011-06-28

I sometimes enjoy reading about matches in the newspaper or on Cricinfo, but I can stand it only in small doses. I was reminded of a particularly annoying trope in cricket writing today by the first paragraph of Sriram Veera's article on the problem with [M.] Vijay.

M. Vijay can be a good batsman to watch. At times his skill even makes you gasp. There is this shot he plays, when he just pushes at a length delivery, on the up, and the ball speeds past the bowler to the boundary. You think that mid-off, if not the bowler himself, will cut it off for it was just a mere waft. The ball, however, keeps accelerating.

No, it bloody well doesn't keep accelerating.

Unless M. Vijay runs along with the ball and keeps hitting it (is there an ICC regulation against that?), the only force acting upon it once it has left the bat is friction. In the absence of other forces, the ball can only decelerate on its way to the boundary.

No matter how good the batsman, the laws of physics don't change.