Usain Bolt, widely hailed as the fastest man who ever lived, has been working with the Australian cricket team ahead of their 2017-18 Ashes campaign. The eight-time Olympic gold medallist is trying to help players improve their speed off the mark, an asset they can utilise while running between the wickets.
The sprinter believes the one area cricketers needed work was their speed and explosiveness. “It’s all about explosiveness, and that’s one thing I’ve noticed with cricket - they don’t really have a lot of explosiveness when they’re running. They seem to always take off at a slow rate. Getting that right will definitely help people," the Jamaican told The Herald Sun on Sunday.
Bolt is in Australia as part of a commercial campaign for Gatorade, the energy sports drink. The "Gatorade Fastest Run" trophy will be presented to the Australian player who can record the fastest pace between wickets throughout the cricketing summer, which includes the Twenty20 matches. "The Bolt Rate" will be used as a measuring stick.
“We’re trying to make awareness more of running (as an asset in cricket) and we’re developing the Bolt Rate which is the quickest person through the wicket. I’m happy about that, because we’re going to see who is the fastest between the wickets. Nobody can assume -- now we’ll actually know who’s the fastest," the retired Bolt said about the campaign.
Peter Handscomb, dealt with the task of carrying Australia's middle-order during the 2017 Ashes, has welcomed Bolt's tips and declared he will be chasing the "Gatorade Fastest Run" honour.
“He was giving us a few pointers on how to get a little bit faster. We’ll give it a crack. He was trying to get us nice and low in the turn and in and out. The first couple of steps are key and if we can get them right, we’ll be fast. Obviously he’s the fastest man ever so if we can have the title with him, that’d be cool.”
The 2017 Ashes series gets underway Nov. 23 with the first of five Test matches at the Gabba Cricket Ground in Brisbane. The series will shift to the Adelaide Oval for the second Test in the first week of December.