Friends Provident T20 June 10, 2010

ECB outlaws double-bouncing delivery

Cricinfo staff

Warwickshire's plans to introduce some innovation to bowling by using the double-bouncing ball during their Friends Provident T20 game against Derbyshire was quashed by the ECB, which outlawed the delivery. The Daily Telegraph reported the ECB issued a directive to county coaches and umpires that the ball, if delivered, would be declared a no-ball - despite not breaching the laws of cricket - for it was against the spirit of the game.

"Further to an ECB Cricket Committee recommendation, it is confirmed that the practice of bowling a ball that bounces twice should be disallowed with immediate effect. It is considered inappropriate for the image and spirit of our game," the Daily Telegraph quoted the ECB directive as saying.

The idea to use the double-bouncer is the brainchild of Warwickshire bowling coach Graeme Welch. The decision to experiment with such a delivery was prompted by the accidental instance of Derbyshire offspinner Nathan Dumelow bowling a double-bouncing delivery that had then Leicestershire batsman Darren Stevens flummoxed. Though the ECB's decision would have thwarted Welch's plans, he received encouragement from the MCC, the guardian of the laws of the game, which declared the delivery legitimate. As a result, the delivery can be used in tournaments like the IPL or the World Twenty20, over which the ECB has no control.

"We don't think it is against the Spirit of Cricket or contrary to the Laws of the game," the newspaper quoted Keith Bradshaw, the chief executive of the MCC, as saying. "We see it as the same as the switch-hit and unless it changes the balance between the bat and ball we see no reason to change our view."

According to the laws, a ball can be declared a no-ball if it bounces more than twice and the umpire deems it to have been delivered intentionally. Law 24 states: "The umpire at the bowler's end shall call and signal No ball if a ball which he considers to have been delivered, without having previously touched the bat or person of the striker, either (i) bounces more than twice or (ii) rolls along the ground before it reaches the popping crease."

Welch said he was disappointed at the ECB's ruling and claimed the delivery required skill, just like the switch-hit, pioneered by Kevin Pietersen. The MCC had then deemed the shot legal for the same reason Welch feels the double-bouncer should be allowed. "Not just anyone can do it and it takes skill," Welch told the Daily Telegraph, adding the ball was of greater assistance to fast bowlers. "The margin of error is small.

"The batsman thinks it is a bouncer and by the time he has realised it is not he has cut down his reaction time. You need a bowler who can bowl out of the back of the hand and bounce it as close as he can in front of him so that when it bounces again it is on its way down.

"The trick is getting the pace right on the second bounce. I am disappointed about it [being outlawed]. Batsmen are smacking it out the ground and this is just the way the game is evolving. We are always trying to think of new things. I am a bowling coach and my job is to do that."