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I'm fast, now you know: Shoaib Akhtar © Cricinfo Ltd
What is a speed gun?
The speed gun is a device that measures the speed of the ball from one end of the pitch to the other - and is thus used to calculate the speed at which a bowler delivers the ball. It has been used regularly in cricket since 1999.
How does it work?
The speed gun is mounted on a pole and positioned next to the sight-screen. The device relays a beam from a radar head, which detects movement across the entire length of the pitch. A small pipe is used to aim the beam accurately. The whole process runs on microwave technology.
Does wind speed have an impact on the calculations?
The wind speed has no bearing on the speed gun, since the microwaves are a very strong force that can penetrate all weather conditions.
The margin of error is less than 1kph, and if the device is set up correctly, there should be no variation in speeds between geographical regions.
Is the technology the same as that used in other sports?
Yes. Tennis was the first sport to adopt the speed gun. The parameters of the software used were changed to have it apply to cricket.
The software is the most important part of the speed gun. It interrogates the speeds coming through via the radar, processes the data, and then calculates the final speed.
There are only three manufactures of the hardware, and about five companies that own the proprietary software in the world today.