What visual stimuli do premier league university batsmen use to anticipate ball delivery?

Jonny Cater supported by Matt Johnson and James Fisher

Bowling speeds vary between 75 and 100mph, leaving batsmen with less that 0.5 sec. to react after the ball is released. This study investigated the visual cues that top- and lower-order batsmen use during a bowlers run-up and also the degree to which they can be distracted.
Visual attention in top- and lower-order batsmen was assessed using using the iView-X mobile eyetracker. Batsmen were shown videos of bowlers from when they began their run up until the instant before delivery. The following gaze positions were considered; ball, arm, head, hips, lower body, predicted position of where the ball was released and also 'elsewhere'. The latter behaviour was particularly important in assessing whether batsmen were distracted.
Analysis of the gaze videos showed that lower-order batsmen looked away from the bowler more (more distracted) compared to top-order batsmen. Top-order batsmen also spent longer looking at the space where they predicted the ball would be released. Top-order batsmen also have a much more limited range of visual targets - almost exclusively the bowlers arm and ball. The results of this study support those found with baseball players.