Will the advent of Freebowler leave the throwdown specialists jobless?

CHENNAI: Electric bowling machines have become an integral part of every team's practice sessions these days. On Friday, R Ashwin gave a live demonstration of cricket's first non-electric ball thrower - Freebowler - at the Centre for Sports Science in SRMC here. The one-of-its-kind machine doesn't require batteries, electricity ports or cords and is easily portable.


Unlike an electric bowling machine which uses plastic-coated synthetic balls, the Freebowler enables batsmen to play with proper cricket balls. While the electric bowling machine has rotating wheels which squeeze the ball before its throw that can damage the threading of the ball, Freebowler simulates realistic bowling actions with a throwing arm. This particular feature of Freebowler could assist a batsman to prepare for conditions that they encounter in England, Australia, South Africa or New Zealand. "Throwdowns are a crucial aspect of a batsman's training. More often than not, it becomes difficult to find a person to give throwdowns as it's a taxing activity," Ashwin said.


According to Ashwin, the best feature of Freebowler was in its compactness. "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 throwdowns in a session," he mentioned.


Ashwin felt if Freebowler had been available earlier, his batting would have flourished faster. "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," said Ashwin, who has four Test centuries to his name.


Will the advent of Freebowler leave the throwdown specialists jobless? "Possibly, it could," Ashwin said. The Freebowler is priced at Rs 30,000, which is way lower than an electric bowling machine that costs around Rs 1.5 lakh.