In 2010, a cricket player witnessed Zaheer Khan’s impressive knuckleball that led to Mike Hussey’s downfall in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal. The ball seemed to float from Zaheer’s clawed fingers, confusing the batsman and ultimately distorting his stumps. While Langeveldt believes that the knuckleball remains a mystery in baseball, he suggests that if it can sustain itself in cricket, it could be seen as an ingenious variation rather than a novelty tactic.
Ishant Sharma’s dreamy knuckleball has evolved from Langeveldt to Zaheer Khan, starting from the hand like a juicy half-volley begging to be hit out of the park. Dale Steyn even tweeted about Ishant’s impressive knuckleball that hoodwinked Vijay Shankar. However, it took Ishant five years to perfect the knuckleball and another five to gather the courage to bowl it in an international match. In his backyard, he would ask his mother to demonstrate the knuckleball with a softball ball.
Physicists have extensively researched the knuckleball in baseball, citing Bernoulli’s principle, the Magnus effect, and the Prandtl boundary-layer theory. If the knuckleball can sustain itself in cricket, it could become a game-changing tactic that adds a new level of excitement to the sport.
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