Ban The ‘Bouncer’

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I am not writing (not much of a writer) about the one you see in late night pubs although the ‘intent’  is the same as the one hurled now and again in the game of Cricket, to get you out! You are either an excellent Batsman at Cricket, a threat to the opposing Team or a trouble maker in Public, bouncers do the job.  I am simply passionate about restoring Cricket to its Gentlemanly status.

In Soccer – Referees have yellow and red Cards to curb intimidatory tactics by Players. In the AFL we have a tribunal to ban players for a few matches. Dicky Bird’s comment  in  the Independent for Monday 28 February 1994  “…DICKIE BIRD, the highly respected umpire, thinks the law restricting use of the bouncer is ‘farcical’ and that it should be left to umpires to deal with intimidatory  bowling …” http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cricket-bird-wants-end-to-bouncer-rule-1397077.html …”   The article did not say how!

I have been for over ten years, writing to the various cricket boards, (with no response) and influential writers about banning the Bouncer, and getting back to the ‘intent’ of the game. The word ‘Cricket’  used to signify a gentlemanly conduct in the game and if you did not ‘play the game’ fairly in what you do in you do in your daily life, you may have heard the phrase ‘Its not cricket’!.

In BBC’s Cricket Academy http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/cricket/skills/6100344.stm  the Bouncer is defined as “BOUNCER Ugly brute of a delivery – quick, short and designed to take the batsman’s head off if he doesn’t take evasive action. Not to be confused with bouncer – ugly brute designed to take your head off.”

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bouncer_(cricket)  Bouncers are used tactically to drive the batsman back on to his back foot if he has been freely playing front foot scoring shots, such as drives. To this end, bouncers are usually directed more or less at the line of the batsman’s body. Aiming at the batsman is not illegal provided the ball bounces on the pitch or is below the waist height, and is a tactically important part of the game. Aiming at the batsman’s head without bouncing on the pitch, known as a beamer, is illegal.  I think the ‘or’ should be replaced by ‘and’.   The explanation in Wikipedia continues to state “… 

ICC rules[edit]

Because of the potential danger to batsmen of being hit and to stop bowlers bowling bouncers all the time, there are laws in the Laws of Cricket governing how frequently a bowler may bowl bouncers, as well as how many fielders may field backward of square leg. These laws take into account the relative skill of the batsmen.

During the 1970s to 1980s, bouncers were used as part of a team’s intimidatory tactics, especially by the West Indies team. In 1991, the International Cricket Council(ICC) introduced a “one bouncer per batsman per over” rule in an attempt to discourage use of intimidation…”    I read that as  100 intimidatory bouncers are permitted in a 50 over one dayer!

Wikipedia has also recently updated their page “… There have been several occurrences of injurious bouncers in recent times. In 2006, Australian opener Justin Langer, was struck on the head in his 100th Test from a bouncer from Makhaya Ntini and hospitalised. In 2008 West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul was knocked out for several minutes after being hit by a bouncer from Australian fast bowler Brett Lee during a test match.[7] Shoaib Akhtar was a regular offender; he injured both Gary Kirsten (2003) and Brian Lara (2004) with fast bouncers. Both batsmen had to be taken off the field.[8]

In November 2014, Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes was knocked out during a Sheffield Shield match.[9] He was taken to hospital in a critical condition but died from his injuries two days later at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney.[10] …”

The head line in http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cricket-icc-allows-extra-bouncer-per-over-lords-changes-intimidatory-bowling-rule-1412275.html

And in the Courier Mail http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/lee-bumper-kos-runmaker/story-e6frepmo-1111116438755?nk=10b22431670421359279b459a26510c2  “… BATTERED but not bettered . . . Shivnarine Chanderpaul celebrates his century after being knocked unconscious by a Brett Lee bouncer when he was on 86.BRAVE Shivnarine Chanderpaul told how he feared he had been paralysed by a Brett Lee bouncer that hit his helmet and left him motionless…”

And today NDTV reports  – http://sports.ndtv.com/australia-vs-india-2014-15/news/233711-phillip-hughes-death-hard-to-digest-for-indian-survivor-nari-contractor India’s Nari Contractor …”Phillip Hughes’ untimely death has left Nari Contractor in shock. The former Indian batsman was stuck on the skull by a Charlie Griffith bouncer in a practice match against Barbados during India’s tour of the West Indies in 1962…”

It is simply beyond me and for others –  for the Cricket Boards to continue with this intimidatory bowling tactic used by Teams to threaten a batsman with a fast rising ball aimed head high to  present a batsman with a difficult choice in a split second, of ducking or ‘throwing’ your bat at the ball, either missing it, touching it not knowing where it will go, or if lucky, get the sixes or fours that may eventuate from attempting to play such a ball. There is no artistry in playing a bouncer, like a good cover drive, square cut, or a well angled glance.

As I have said many times before, Cricket should retain the ‘intent’  of the game, not the intent to ‘intimidate’ and turn it into a gladiatorial sport. The intent of the bowler would have been as originally conceived, to get a batsman out by hitting the stumps, or being caught off a ball that came off  a batsmen’s bat whilst bowling at a batsman whose only protection he had were his pads, protecting his legs. So, why has the game changed to one of intimidation?  Are we looking for such incidents as in Motor sports, such as a catastrophic crash, a boxer being pummelled to the floor, Bull fighting etc. There is a huge difference between the outcomes from intimidation and incidents resulting from intimidation.

If it can happen, it will happen and it has happened.

This incident has shocked the Cricket loving world.

Get rid of the bouncer, #banthebouncer and bring Cricket back to the ‘Gentlemanly’ game it was during the WG Grace and Don Bradman years.  Any ball over waist high should be no balled and the Bowler warned.

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