Calls for umpires to make different decisions for lower-order batsmen

Publish Date
Tuesday, 22 December 2020, 10:08AM
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The war against bouncers in cricket is building, with Aussie great Ian Chappell joining the fray.

Chappell, one of Australia's finest captains and now a leading commentator, has joined the crusade to protect tail end batsmen.

Indian fast bowler Mohammed Shami is likely to be ruled out of the remaining tests in Australia after he was hit by a Pat Cummins bouncer which broke his arm.

Some former players want the bouncer retained but others at least want limits introduced – there is already a rule on the books - to save players who are not skilled enough to deal with them.

Chappell told the Sydney Morning Herald: "If a guy looks like he's pretty hopeless against them you've got to give him some protection.

"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 on – 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'."

Clause 41.6.2 permits two balls per over which pass above the batter's shoulder height.

But an associated clause in the world test championship playing conditions states "the bowling of short pitched deliveries is dangerous if the (umpire) considers that, taking into consideration the skill of the striker, by their speed, length, height and direction, they are likely to inflict physical injury on him.

"The fact that the striker is wearing protective equipment shall be disregarded."

The SMH says a former umpire contacted the paper to say it would be hard to assess which batters the safety law applied to.

But Chappell said test level umpires had a pretty fair idea" even if there would be grey areas.

The cricket debate comes at a time when sport around the world is battling with issues around brain injuries, in terms of how to reduce the amount of incidents and deal with those who are concussed.

The safety clause would not have protected Shami because Cummins was on his first warning, but it would have applied in the game between India and Australia A where the local No. 11 Harry Conway was hit on the helmet. He had faced a barrage of bouncers form Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini.

Conway was pulled out of the game with concussion symptoms.

Chappell said: "He was bombarded a bit. I thought there was an excuse for the umpire to step in. Harry's no star with the bat. Those are the guys who have to be helped out a bit."

Former Aussie bowler Geoff Lawson wrote after the Conway incident that cricket needed to revisit the longstanding rule which protects players who don't have the skill to deal with bouncers.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission