Chennai: India cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin on Friday live demonstrated cricket’s first non-electric cricket ball thrower, Freebowler at Centre for Sports Science (CSS) in Chennai on Friday.
The machine, which was launched a few months ago, doesn’t require any batteries, cords or electricity ports and is portable. Also unlike other electric bowling machines that use plastic-coated synthetic dimple balls, the Freebowler machine enables the batsman to play with proper cricket balls.
Speaking about the machine Ravichandran Ashwin said “Throwdowns are a crucial aspect of a batsman’s training. More often than not, it becomes difficult to find another person to give throwdowns as it\92s a taxing activity.” He added that this machine will help reduce the stress on the arms of coaches who usually end up giving 400-500 throwdowns in one practice session.
Freebowler can simulate realistic bowling action with ‘a throwing arm’ and 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.
The non-electric ball thrower can be operated even by a young cricketer. “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,” added Ashwin. “If a young cricketer has space in his backyard or in terrece and has a supportive father, brother or even mother, he can very well ask them to bowl at him through this machine and hone his batting skills by facing different kinds of balls,” he said.
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,” he said and added that he expects club teams and individuals to opt for the product.
The machine costs Rs. 30,000 which is nearly five times lesser than the bowling machines that costs over two lakhs.