Machine prepares Levi for spin

2012-02-13 22:16
Richard Levi (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Promising young Proteas batsman Richard Levi has enlisted the help of a special bowling machine to prepare for New Zealand's bowlers in the upcoming T20 and one-day series.

Die Burger reports that Levi, who has always been more comfortable against quick bowlers, prepared himself over the last few weeks with the help of one of Cricket South Africa's most expensive bowling machines, the Merlyn.

Levi was at the end of last year included in South Africa's T20 group for the series against Australia but failed to get game time. He then played a big role to help his franchise, the Cape Cobras, win the 50-over 1-Day Cup competition.

But the 24-year-old looks set to get his chance in New Zealand after Graeme Smith was dropped from South Africa's T20 squad.

This machine, unlike traditional bowling machines, helps batsmen prepare to face spin bowlers.

The Merlyn was used by English players for the first time in 2005 when they were desperate to counter Australian leg-spin legend Shane Warne.

The machine has since been refined and now boasts the ability to mirror any spinner’s trajectory and turn.

"I set the machine up to bowl like (experienced Kiwi spinner Daniel) Vettori and it definitely helped me get used to the flight and turn of the ball," said Levi.

CSA has bought two of these machines for the High Performance Centre in Pretoria. It will be used by the national academy during the winter but is available for use by South Africa's franchise teams during the summer.

Corrie van Zyl, CSA's manager of cricket, said the machines are very useful as it can imitate any spin bowler.

"It also mixes up the pace and flight of the balls. It's like a normal spinner and not all balls turn in the same way."

The machine has a sensor which knows when a batsman uses his feet. It will then adapt the length of the delivery to try and fool the batsman.

Read more on:    proteas  |  richard levi

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