Cricket legend Ian Chappell has called on umpires to intervene so tailenders don’t get seriously hurt by bouncers, wanting short ball barrages to be reserved for more accomplished batsmen who have a greater chance of coping.
Chappell doesn’t want to ban bouncers, but instead wants officials to step in if it’s clear a lower-order player is incapable of dealing with deliveries being banged in halfway down the pitch.
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A law exists that gives umpires the power to instruct a bowler to stop bowling short if, judging by a batsman’s skill and the nature of the bowling, they believe there is a likely risk of physical injury. Although rarely enforced, it is within the umpires’ remit to take action.
“If a guy looks like he’s pretty hopeless against them you’ve got to give him some protection,” Chappell told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“It’s not hard to see who’s in trouble when you’re facing the short stuff. Now the bowlers have got to be able to give them one — let them know, ‘Mate, if you’re going to hang around here you’ll cop it’.
“After that the umpires have got to say, ‘Just bowl the guy out, don’t try to kill him’.”
Chappell’s comments come after Indian No. 11 Mohammed Shami was ruled out for the rest of the Test series against Australia with a broken arm, which he suffered when Pat Cummins nailed him with a bouncer in the second innings at Adelaide.
NSW quick Harry Conway was subbed out of Australia A’s warm-up game against India at the SCG with concussion after facing a barrage of short balls from the visiting quicks, who were coming around the wicket.
The No. 11 was facing the pink ball under lights late at night, and at one point appeared to signal to the dressing room asking if the team was going to declare — a decision Aussie cricket greats and Fox Sports commentators Brendon Julian and Kerry O’Keeffe supported.
Conway copped a blow to the head and later ran himself out, appearing unimpressed at the tactics being used against him.
“He got bombarded a bit,” Chappell said of Conway. “I thought there was an excuse for the umpire to step in there and say, ‘Get him out not knock him out’.
“Harry’s no star with the bat. Those are the guys who have to be helped out a bit.”
Mohammed Shami was pinged by Pat Cummins in Adelaide.Source:AFP
The bouncer’s place in cricket is a hot topic at the moment, after rising star Will Pucovski was concussed for the ninth time in his career courtesy of a head knock while batting against the Indians in Sydney.
Speaking recently on The Grade Cricketer podcast, Chappell said one of the most important changes that should be made to better protect batsman is teaching them the proper technique to cope with the short ball.
Elaborating in a column for ESPN Cricinfo, Chappell called technique “the most important aspect in ensuring fewer batsmen receive blows to the head” and floated the idea of offering more protection to tailenders.
“The time is ripe for a worldwide review into on-field safety, including batsmen, bowlers and umpires, with batting technique a top priority,” Chappell wrote.
“In conducting this review it would be appropriate to strengthen any law regarding the protection of tailenders in facing short-pitched bowling.”
However, Chappell is vehemently opposed to banning the bouncer altogether, as is former Australian captain Steve Waugh.
“It’s a part of the game and as a top-order batsman, you want to test yourself against the best bowlers in the toughest situations,” Waugh told The Cricket Show on Sky Sports last week.
“They’re often against a quick bowler who is at his peak and bowling short balls at your body and you’ve got to just work out a way to survive.
“It does take courage, a really good game plan and it takes skill. I think you want to be tested at that top level and if you took the bouncer out of the game, it would take away that element that I think the crowd loves seeing a bowler steaming in and bowling short balls.
“I’m definitely against the bouncer being outlawed — it’s part of the game and it is something that you’ve got to learn to play better. Some of the younger players are perhaps relying on their protective equipment to get them out of a dangerous situation.
“Obviously, after that players have become comfortable wearing helmets and have perhaps lost the skill of playing the short ball as well as in the past.”
Cricket greats are questioning whether current players have the right technique against the short ball.Source:Getty Images
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