December 9, 2012

More bouncers please

In the first of our new series on cricket rules and laws that could do with changing, we examine the case for unlimited short-pitched bowling in Tests
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It used to be called the bouncer rule and came about as late as 1991. And its job was to restrict the bowler to one bouncer per over per batsman. In the beginning it was an "experimental" rule, and in 1994 it was turned into what we see in the current law book.

a) a bowler shall be limited to two fast short-pitched deliveries per over; b) a fast short-pitched delivery is defined as a ball which passes or would have passed above the shoulder height of the striker standing upright at the popping crease; c) the umpire at the bowler's end shall advise the bowler and the batsman on strike when each fast short-pitched delivery has been bowled; d) …a ball that passes above head height of the batsman, that prevents him from being able to hit it with his bat by means of a normal cricket stroke shall be called a wide; e) For the avoidance of doubt any fast short-pitched delivery that is called a wide under this playing condition shall also count as one of the allowable short pitched deliveries in that over.

It is perhaps the last significant rule made by cricket's "old" empire, before the game's power base moved east.

In the decade before the 1990s, West Indies had reigned over the world chiefly by means of a pack of fast bowlers who were able to use speed and the well-directed bouncer to test and dismantle the mettle of batsmen. The bouncers were not merely sustained, they were, perhaps more importantly, effective. The strong pack of pace bowlers led West Indies' unchallenged run through the '80s and caused a surge of opposition in the old world, which tut-tutted about the effect of "intimidatory" bowling on batsmen and the game's spirit.

Another reason given for the birth of the bouncer rule is that along with hurting batsmen, intimidatory bowling, by virtue of necessarily being fast bowling, led in part to unhealthy over rates. A surfeit of quick bowlers, with their long run-ups and bouncer barrages gave some Test-match audiences only 70-over days. (More than two decades later, with teams featuring medium-pacers and spinners, match referees still struggle to keep over rates up to 90 a day).

When the rule was instituted, there were, not surprisingly, a few objections. In 1994, umpire Dickie Bird called the bouncer rule "farcical" because umpires themselves had the powers to put a stop to what they thought was intimidatory bowling.

In the decades that have followed, the game is increasingly favouring batsmen: smaller grounds, flatter wickets, heftier bats, better protective equipment. If they get rid of the bouncer rule in Test matches, administrators will give bowlers some advantage and hand back the power of controlling intimidatory bowling to the umpires.

Using the bouncer as a negative tactic can be spotted as quickly as an outside-leg-stump line or a beamer can be. Having the licence to freely use the bouncer as an aggressive weapon will test both the stamina of the bowler and the skill of the batsman. Who knows, it may give coaches a chance to teach batsmen a wider range of skills beyond the hoick to cow corner or the upper cut to third man.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • da_man_ on December 11, 2012, 2:27 GMT

    The best batsmen will find a way to cope, and that's what you want. Testing conditions separate the men from the boys. I remember reading that Imran Khan at the height of his powers was once bowling to the great Viv Richards, and Viv kept planting his front foot down the pitch and playing Khan like a trundler. So he decided to bang it in short, Viv still came on the front foot and hit him in front of square. IK was a 90mph plus bowler. That is absolutely breath taking from a batsman.

  • on December 11, 2012, 0:20 GMT

    All these silly rules of 1 bouncer, field restrictions, etc have already destroyed fast bowling. Look at how many genuine fast bowlers are playing in World Cricket today?

  • bluefunk on December 10, 2012, 21:26 GMT

    i would love to see this implemented. it would make for great cricket. but something like this needs to be accompanied by rethinking in certain other areas -- the fifteen degree rule and proactive dope testing (for nandrolone and other assorted goodies) come to mind. the two in combination have been known to drive people over the bend.

  • on December 10, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    When there is no limit on the number of boundaries a batsman can score of an over then why restrict the bowler with 2 bouncers. Would be fair to relax the current bouncer law and watch how many of the batsmen can score as freely as they are used to in the past few years.

    This not only balances the game between batsmen and bowlers but would thrust the importance of innovation on the part of coaches/batsmen to come out and tackle the bouncers. Even today i see people love watching the cricket ball zip past the batsmen's nose rather than zip on the turf to thud on the hoardings near the boundary line.

  • tony122 on December 10, 2012, 15:57 GMT

    @ Michael Gering- good suggestion. But what if a batsman is struck in his ribs, shoulders,neck ,chest and like? And maybe it will have some unintended consequences- One many batsman may want to junk helmets. So they may get bolder. Conversely some batsmen may become more defensive and want to junk hook/pull and simply sway out of the line. But a good suggestion.

  • on December 10, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    It is definitely true. With this rule introduced many towering batsman would look tiny and their career averages would diminish substantially. These rules just protect and give advantage to the coward batsmen :)

  • on December 10, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    I would give a batsman out if hit on the helmet! The helmet is there for the batsmans protection. Good. But in the old days you would be injured if hit on the head. So you should not be injured, but surely still out?

  • Mark00 on December 10, 2012, 11:43 GMT

    @Rajeev, I totally agree. There is no rational reason not to give LBW to balls striking outside the line of the stumps. These artificial encumbrances related to bouncers, chucking, and lbws ought to be removed. There is no logic behind such things. Cricket should be war. It should be scary and painful. Whiny idiots who want the ball pitched up on off so that they can drive the ball through covers all day can go play crap sports like baseball. BTW, border is wrong. IF a fast bowler bowls 2 bouncers, he will be afraid at bowling at the chest because if it goes slightly off, he'll be penalized. This is a huge advantage to the batsmen because it let's them play forward. Why do you think guys who can't hook or pull to save their lives like Tendulkar have 50+ averages?

  • Harlequin. on December 10, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    @Stephen Moore - my sentiments exactly! Also, bowlers talk about using bouncers as a surprise tactic, and if you are bowling more than 2 bouncers (bouncers being different to short-pitched deliveries) per over, then it hardly becomes a surprise.

  • Harlequin. on December 10, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    @jcmcilhinney - I see your point, although the way cricket (and life is going these days) is going, we see less and less decisions being made my the judgement of one person. Everything has to be legislated, and in many cases nowadays umpires (and officials of any walk of life) are too scared to enforce a judgement-based rule which isn't black&white - I am not in favour of this type of behavior btw, if officials used their judgement more in the grey areas of the rulebook, then this might work, but I don't think they would.

  • da_man_ on December 11, 2012, 2:27 GMT

    The best batsmen will find a way to cope, and that's what you want. Testing conditions separate the men from the boys. I remember reading that Imran Khan at the height of his powers was once bowling to the great Viv Richards, and Viv kept planting his front foot down the pitch and playing Khan like a trundler. So he decided to bang it in short, Viv still came on the front foot and hit him in front of square. IK was a 90mph plus bowler. That is absolutely breath taking from a batsman.

  • on December 11, 2012, 0:20 GMT

    All these silly rules of 1 bouncer, field restrictions, etc have already destroyed fast bowling. Look at how many genuine fast bowlers are playing in World Cricket today?

  • bluefunk on December 10, 2012, 21:26 GMT

    i would love to see this implemented. it would make for great cricket. but something like this needs to be accompanied by rethinking in certain other areas -- the fifteen degree rule and proactive dope testing (for nandrolone and other assorted goodies) come to mind. the two in combination have been known to drive people over the bend.

  • on December 10, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    When there is no limit on the number of boundaries a batsman can score of an over then why restrict the bowler with 2 bouncers. Would be fair to relax the current bouncer law and watch how many of the batsmen can score as freely as they are used to in the past few years.

    This not only balances the game between batsmen and bowlers but would thrust the importance of innovation on the part of coaches/batsmen to come out and tackle the bouncers. Even today i see people love watching the cricket ball zip past the batsmen's nose rather than zip on the turf to thud on the hoardings near the boundary line.

  • tony122 on December 10, 2012, 15:57 GMT

    @ Michael Gering- good suggestion. But what if a batsman is struck in his ribs, shoulders,neck ,chest and like? And maybe it will have some unintended consequences- One many batsman may want to junk helmets. So they may get bolder. Conversely some batsmen may become more defensive and want to junk hook/pull and simply sway out of the line. But a good suggestion.

  • on December 10, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    It is definitely true. With this rule introduced many towering batsman would look tiny and their career averages would diminish substantially. These rules just protect and give advantage to the coward batsmen :)

  • on December 10, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    I would give a batsman out if hit on the helmet! The helmet is there for the batsmans protection. Good. But in the old days you would be injured if hit on the head. So you should not be injured, but surely still out?

  • Mark00 on December 10, 2012, 11:43 GMT

    @Rajeev, I totally agree. There is no rational reason not to give LBW to balls striking outside the line of the stumps. These artificial encumbrances related to bouncers, chucking, and lbws ought to be removed. There is no logic behind such things. Cricket should be war. It should be scary and painful. Whiny idiots who want the ball pitched up on off so that they can drive the ball through covers all day can go play crap sports like baseball. BTW, border is wrong. IF a fast bowler bowls 2 bouncers, he will be afraid at bowling at the chest because if it goes slightly off, he'll be penalized. This is a huge advantage to the batsmen because it let's them play forward. Why do you think guys who can't hook or pull to save their lives like Tendulkar have 50+ averages?

  • Harlequin. on December 10, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    @Stephen Moore - my sentiments exactly! Also, bowlers talk about using bouncers as a surprise tactic, and if you are bowling more than 2 bouncers (bouncers being different to short-pitched deliveries) per over, then it hardly becomes a surprise.

  • Harlequin. on December 10, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    @jcmcilhinney - I see your point, although the way cricket (and life is going these days) is going, we see less and less decisions being made my the judgement of one person. Everything has to be legislated, and in many cases nowadays umpires (and officials of any walk of life) are too scared to enforce a judgement-based rule which isn't black&white - I am not in favour of this type of behavior btw, if officials used their judgement more in the grey areas of the rulebook, then this might work, but I don't think they would.

  • on December 10, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    The over rate excuse for the bouncer rules is ridiculous. We would rather watch "only" 70 overs of top class bowling, rather than 95 overs of ordinary bowling.

  • Romanticstud on December 10, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    When I was a young boy in the 70's, early 80's, I used to enjoy the cricket on television, even though it was restricted to provincial cricket and the odd rebel tour. There was no rule on bouncers and it made for interesting cricket amongst batsmen and bowlers. I remember Jimmy Cook going after the short-pitched stuff and dispatching it over the ropes on the hook. It was better in those days ... because it was not like ... I've had my one ... now I can relax ... It was more like ... If he bowls another one ... I'll hook him over the ropes ... sometimes to one's downfall with the leg-side trap ... but sometimes with success as the bowler could get hit out of the attack ... I do think that the game today with the protection helmets allows for more bouncers ... I do think too that if a bowler is deemed to use bouncers to intentially hurt batsmen, that should be called a no-ball and a warning ... If it persists the bowler could be asked to stop bowling for the entire test match ...

  • Vigu12 on December 10, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    I think it should be 2 bouncer per over per batsman in test and in ODI & T20 it should be 1 per over per batsman.

  • VivtheGreatest on December 10, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    Totally agree with Sharda. There should be no limitations on bouncers. The game is loaded too heavily in batsmen's favour and this at least will make them think twice before plonking onto the front foot. A lot of overhyped flat-pitch bullies will be thoroughly exposed.

  • Mark00 on December 10, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    Legalize bouncers and chucking. Thanks to the perfect pitches and full body armor of today's game there's no longer any need to protect the batsman from a brain-crushing delivery by artificially restricting the motion potential of the human body. Where safety isn't a concern, restricting the technique by which someone propels the ball is as silly as restricting the technique by which someone strikes it.

  • Mad_Hamish on December 10, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    Considering that 1/3 of the balls a quick bowls are aloud to be over the shoulder and the other 2/3 can still be at the ribs I don't really see an issue with the current rule.

    Note that Border (who saw as much of the Windies quicks as anyone and through the 80s probably played them as well as anyone) said that the rule wouldn't have affected them at all as they didn't bowl many balls over shoulder height - but a lot at the upper chest and armpit...

  • on December 10, 2012, 5:30 GMT

    I guess Batsman will find a way out, just like the lap shot over the slip for a bouncer. It is time to do away with such stuff. The next rule, I'd tweak is lbw. If the batsman pads up a ball that is hitting the stumps, it is out. It is immaterial if the ball pitches in line or outside the leg-stump.

  • Meety on December 10, 2012, 1:23 GMT

    With pitches getting as sluggish as they are on average these days, good luck to a bowler who is willing to bowl more than 2 bouncers an over!!!

    I think in the interim they could remove the bit about a wide counting towards the 2 bouncers per over quota.

  • jmcilhinney on December 10, 2012, 1:22 GMT

    @Dark_Harlequin on (December 09 2012, 09:30 AM GMT), but that would qualify as something that the umpire could address on the field. One of the main issues with a limit is that, as soon as that number have been bowled, the batsman knows for a fact that they won't get any more. I don't think that anyone wants 6 bouncers in an over and I doubt that umpires would allow that, but a bowler should always have the opportunity to bowl one so that the batsman has to be ready for it.

  • on December 10, 2012, 1:21 GMT

    From reading this article it appears fast bowlers have nothing but bouncers. Come on. Whatever happened to swing, reverse swing, cutters, yorkers... MEH.Name great fast bowlers who were great just because they could bowl bouncers? I am all for free game. If you can't take heat get out. All fine. But the core assumption here is wrong.

  • Andross on December 10, 2012, 1:10 GMT

    @Macgyver I don't know about all protective wear, but I think there's a good case for the helmet to count. After all the fielding side isn't allowed to let the ball touch the helmet, why should the batsman? Good thinking!

    As for the bouncers, I've always thought that 2 bouncers an over is silly, I mean there are very few bowlers that could bowl 6 bouncers without going for a couple of sixes over deep backward square anyway; if they want to try, let 'em, heaven knows the batsmen get enough other concessions.

  • V-Man_ on December 10, 2012, 0:47 GMT

    @Akshay Sharma: Not everything is about the Indians mate. The rule was changed when the english and oz were in control of icc. The west Indians were roughing up their batsmen bit too well.

  • LePom on December 10, 2012, 0:45 GMT

    Ridiculous article. The controversy goes right back to the "Bodyline" series (1932-33). The laws were changed afer that series to outlaw persistent bowling of short pitched deliveries to intimidate the batsman. Failure to enforce that caused further problems down the track (I think it was Lillee and Thommo overusing bouncers that got a further change to the number of fielders allowed behind square on the leg side). The West Indies then brought things to a head with their rank bullying of umpires and batsmen (I remember an old bodyline bowler commenting in an interview that the WI bowled more bouncers per test than had been bowled in the whole bodyline series- the umpires just never had the nerve to enforce the law through fear of the type of reaction Hair got for no-balling throws). The odd bouncer is fine, but allowing more makes for really boring cricket. 2 per over is plenty. I have no desire to going back to watching fields of 9 slips.

  • etypemac on December 10, 2012, 0:43 GMT

    The idea of the game is get a batman out, not intimidate him or possible injure him. Anybody who steps onto a cricket field with the intention of injuring another player shouldn't be allowed to step onto the field as they have a mental problem. And any fast bowler who believes that they are good enough should not have to resort to bowling bouncers aimed at the batsman's head which is what the rule is about. You can bowl as many balls as you like that bounce around chest height. If you are quick enough that should be good enough to make a batsman uncomfortable. And as for protective gear, well if you want to disadvantage a batsman then remove the ability for close in fielders to wear protective gear. They may not want to get so close then. You can't have it both ways.

  • segga-express on December 9, 2012, 20:34 GMT

    Something which struck me during the Kolkata test was the effect limiting fielders behind square on the leg side has on the game. Against the bouncer any fielder backward of square is potentially a catcher. But also against the spinner (especially one turning in to the batsman) to have 2 leg slips and a man at 45 would be a very effective method of attempting to get a wicket without resorting to negative lines. Additionally, the law was brought in to discourage bouncers following bodyline but with all the current protective equipment available it is now a redundant law. It would be a true test of the batsman's defensive and attacking technique to see a return to no fielding restrictions.

  • on December 9, 2012, 20:29 GMT

    For test matches I would get rid of the 2 fielders behind square on the leg side. Bring back bodyline I say!

  • on December 9, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    Hmm...Helmets and excessive padding came about as a result of bouncers, not the other way around. Umpires allowed intimidation to go unchecked and this was the result. There is no skill in banging the ball in halfway down the wicket, only in avoiding it. Be careful what you wish for !

    As for poor over rates that is the result of all the fannying about that goes on in between overs and even in between deliveries, and could easily be resolved by cricket boards and umpires telling captains to get on with it.

  • Leggie on December 9, 2012, 20:07 GMT

    I distinctly remember a test during India's tour of West Indies in 1983 where Joel Garner bowled 6 bouncers in an over - trying to prevent a Kapil Dev 100. The bouncer itself was not a problem for a compulsive hooker like Kapil Dev, but the fact that it was going over the head of Kapil. If ICC is to implement a new rule allowing as many bouncers as possible, they must also provision for umpires calling balls sailing over batsmen's head as wide.. Otherwise allowing unlimited bouncers will end up being negative cricket - when the intent really is to make the sport more competitive. Also ICC should restrict the number of overs per day to 80 - that'll prevent fast bowlers from rushing through overs. The rate at which bowlers are breaking down these days is a clear indication that the pace of the game has been increased to make it more batsman oriented. This clearly has to change.

  • BRUTALANALYST on December 9, 2012, 20:05 GMT

    Good article, It makes me laguh the guys that say we need to save Test cricket then in the next sentence say Day/Night Tests HAHA that's not saving Test cricket that's creating an entire new game. To save Test cricket you need to get rid of the bouncer rule and helmets in Tests liven things up again even gap between bat and ball and watch crowds increase with the prospect of batsman getting hurt again sorry but it's the truth who is going to go and watch Test cricket at night int he cold with mosquitoes flying around ? people come to watch in the sun and have a drink the only thing in my mind to save Test cricket is to take it back to it's roots and adrenalin and grit of old that truly made the game a "TEST" not this boring batsman's paradise and the extinction of fast bowling. I know VIV BEEFY and BOYCS would agree and who's to argue with any of them !

  • sifter132 on December 9, 2012, 19:54 GMT

    Bowlers don't use the 2 bouncers at the moment, why would they suddenly use unlimited amounts?? Increasing to 2 in short form would help the element of surprise ie. once you've bowled one the batsman can't stay on the front foot for the rest of the over, but that's about the only benefit I can see.

  • dsirl on December 9, 2012, 19:34 GMT

    And these silly rules aren't in the Laws... it's the ICC and their plethora of playing conditions that inflict this on the game.

  • yorkshire-86 on December 9, 2012, 19:28 GMT

    'the games power base moved east'. Ha ha. What is that supposed to mean? There has been many rule changes since that one, for example DRS and the ever changing ODI playing conditions. And LAW changes too, particulary about penalty runs. None of which were suggested by 'eastern' (presumably meaning Indian) officials. In fact India has brought nothing to the game but extra cash for T20 specialists. They have no bowlers capable of bowling proper 'headline' for a start, and thier batsmen struggle against it. The real powerbase of cricket is England and Australia, without those teams cricket would die off in India and the other teams. If India vanished cricket would carry on, a few sloggers would be a lot poorer and thats about it. As for saying the West Indian team of the 1980s were the most intimidating, have you ever watched Larwood or Thompson bowl on uncovered pitches to helmetless batsmen, aiming at the head, with 7-8 around the bat?

  • on December 9, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    bring them back, indeed. Nowadays there isn't a single batsman who can properly play a bouncer whereas back in the day there were loads.

  • on December 9, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    What a great article! With more and more laws favouring the batsman and so many pitches becoming roads, the fast bowler needs something - anything - to help him do his job.

    If this ridiculous law is removed it might go some way to achieving parity between bat and ball, but until then, comparing the molly-coddled batsmen of today with those of the past is a complete joke.

  • Thandiwe on December 9, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    Agreed. Given the need to distinguish Test from ODI's and T20 and to ensure that Test remain an exciting prospect kill this law. This law has taken away a significant part of "exciting" cricket. There is nothing better in cricket to see a real "war": bouncers, followed by yorkers or attempted yorkers driven to the boundary. People forget, many good players scored against the quicks.

    This laws should be put to rest and let the umpires and batsmen do their job.

  • on December 9, 2012, 14:47 GMT

    2 bouncer rule doesn't work because bowlers of today target the body not the head. Only have to look at the way India get roughed up overseas to see that 2 balls over shoulder height doesn't help them.

    The other significant difference is the level of protection batsman wear and the hours of bowling machine practise they get at playing the short ball at speed. If you compare batsman in the 70/80s they struggled to get meaningful practise before playing the Windies. With todays tools they would played them with a degree of comfort, and perhaps would of forced them to bowl a different length.

  • unbiasedfan on December 9, 2012, 14:06 GMT

    Agree, but the change will never happen for the BCCI which controls all that is cricket nowadays will never agree to the change for the Indian batsmen will always be susceptible to fast bowling and India is unlikely to produce genuine fast bowlers who can take advantage of the bouncer rule change.

    While it may be half justified to blame and riducule the past cricket administration as imperialistic the track record of BCCI is equally pathetic and deplorable.

    So the bouncer will stay - unfortunately.

  • HatsforBats on December 9, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    I would love to see this happen. With modern protective equipment player safety is (mostly) assured and there needs to be a balance shift back toward the bowlers. T20, ironically, has done this to some extent by degrading batsmen's technique and concentration. The concern is of course over rates, but this can be addressed by introducing a simple penalty system; if the fielding side do not bowl their 90 overs in a day the batting side is awarded runs calculated at the run rate for the amount of overs not bowled.

  • The_Ashes on December 9, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    Totally disagree the rules are there for a reason. Bouncers are dangerous and unlimited can seriously hurt a batsman. Try playing an over of bouncers without a helmet so you can see for yourself.

  • on December 9, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    Cricket has become too skewed in favour of the batsman with flatter pitches and superior bats while the ball has hardly changed. We need better cricket balls, with higher seams and the option of using a new ball sooner like after 50 overs and be able to use two balls one for each end. Eliminate the front foot no ball and make it back foot only, make the white line belong to the bowler and please get rid of the ridiculous free hit in T20.

  • on December 9, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    why only tests? there should be 2 bouncers per over allowed in T20 as well......I know ICC will not do it because indians can't play bouncers......

  • Chris_Howard on December 9, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    Totally agree. Any batsman worth their salt enjoys the thrill of evading a bouncer, or better still, hoicking it for six. The bouncer is the ultimate test of whether a batsman has the right to be on the pitch. It's called Test cricket a reason.

  • mcsdl on December 9, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    What an Irony, this is written by an Indian.............! Indian bowlers dont have the strength and height to bowl bouncers and Indian batsman are clueless and usually get beaten and humiliated by the bouncers...!

  • Harlequin. on December 9, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    Ridiculous - two bouncers per over is enough, a fast bowler can still bowl an intimidating length if he is quick enough. Aiming for the ribs 4 balls per over and then 2 at the head will test any batsman if the bowler is quick enough. The two bouncers per over stops medium-fast bowlers from consistently bowling a length the batsman can't do much with, and it makes for boring cricket. Also, the upper cut to third man is one of the few shots shot that can be played against the head high shirt ball, so by increasing the number bouncers per over, you will be increasing the need for the upper-cut. 2 bouncers per over is a good compromise, poor article.

  • balajik1968 on December 9, 2012, 9:29 GMT

    I agree. To use the old West Indian adage "you got ball I got bat maan". Already cricket has become too much of a batsman's game. You need to give something for the fast bowler. As it is the fast bowler is pretty much an endangered species in contemporary cricket, with most bowlers in the mid to high 130's and very few consistently in the high 140's or 150's.

  • jmcilhinney on December 9, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    I have to concur that it's time to put this rule to bed. Maybe it would lead to some poor over rates at first but a few captains being suspended should put paid to that. Lord knows England and Australia could ill afford to do without Cook and Clarke at the moment. Probably the team most likely to benefit would be SA but, while they have a highly respectable pace attack, they're not the WI of old. These days, a good batsman should be able and confident to play some short-pitched bowling.

  • on December 9, 2012, 9:07 GMT

    I'd be happy to see more challenges for batsmen, but the recent quality of swing bowling is also making it tougher for them.

  • deepak_sholapurkar on December 9, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    Then what will happen to our Indian Great Batsman's and the future all time Great's

  • MacGyver2528 on December 9, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    They should allow 3 or 4 bouncers per over. Batsmen have it far too easy. In fact I would go as far as saying that if a ball strikes any part of protective wear, apart from the leg pads, and thigh pad, and the ball is caught it should be out. The protective wear you find today is too much. The batsman need begin fearing bowlers who bowl 140km+. Not too long ago to average 40 in test matches was an achievement and spoke of the quality of the batsmen. To average 40 nowadays means nothing. Fearing the fast bowler was a vital past of test cricket and since the bouncer laws changed and the rise of protective wear test cricket has lost its spice.

  • ygkd on December 9, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    Exactly right, especially the last line. So many times young bats today plant their front foot and rely on luck and a good helmet as they "moo" at cow corner in a way that would have seen them hospitalized in previous eras. The probability of more bouncers will sharpen up footwork and techniques and provide a thorough examination of batting skill. Excessive short stuff can still be called using an intimidation rule, especially to tail-enders, and over rates should be enforced with more vigour to ensure we don't go back to negative old ways.

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 9, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    OMG, HAHAHAHAHAHA.... who's picture is that ? Anyway, I too agree with the limitless bouncers proposal. I think batsmen nowadays are living too cosily with their fat bats and short boundaries. It's time the bowler gets his due. Cricket cannot exist without bowlers and that too fast bowlers. I am a passionate fan of fast bowling and being an Indian supporter unfortunately, I hardly get to experience genuine pace and bouncy conditions in India. That is why I admire bowlers like Finn, Steyn, Morkel, Philander, Starc etc who are excellent bowlers. The game needs aggressive fast bowling.

  • Buggsy on December 9, 2012, 7:06 GMT

    Absolutely bring the bouncers back, and make it limitless. Sure you can still allow the umpires to put a stop to it if it gets excessive, but good bouncers are hard to bowl anyway. I doubt it will be hugely abused since it's tough to get a wicket with them against most top order batsmen, but allowing the odd over full of short pitched bowling adds an element of uncertainty.

  • on December 9, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    I would love to read something about change of power house in world cricket from England to India. When this actually happened, when started, what is main cause, who benefited , who lost, etc etc...

  • on December 9, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    Very true,If we need to make the game balanced & more competitive. Umpires should be given charge as before to decide about intimidatory bowling.

  • on December 9, 2012, 6:26 GMT

    Rules I would change...I don't think its even an official rule. Batsman holding up the bowler. At the end of the over, once the ump is in place and calls 'bowl' then the bowler can tear in. Between balls of the over, the ump puts the arm out. Once it is in then play on.

    Batsman doing hours of gardening between deliveries is bad for the over rate and bad for the game.

    And what is the story with these mini drinks breaks every 20 mins?

  • on December 9, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    I have been missing good aggressive bowling and had not realized that the laws were part of the problem. Good point

  • McGorium on December 9, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    Here's an interesting philosophical question regarding "intimidatory" bowling, since it's not an inherent property of the length being bowled, but the ability of the batsman to play it. Let's say a fast bowler bowls a barrage of bouncers at two types of batsmen (and I mean someone who bats at #6 or above.). One is like Ponting or Gilchrist, who will dismiss the short ball (or at the very least, like a Dravid or Kallis, who aren't intimidated a great deal by it). The other is like Yuvraj/Raina/Bevan/Ganguly, who struggle against it. Would a barrage of bouncers against a type 1 player not be treated as intimidatory, simply because the bowler is getting pulled and hooked? Conversely, simply because a type 2 player gets hit multiple times due to his lack of ability, the bowling is deemed as intimidatory? I suspect that an ump would put an end to the latter a lot faster than the former. In that case, it becomes like cricket's equivalent of golf's concept of handicap!

  • drinks.break on December 9, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    Agree on bouncers. Good hookers and pullers are great to watch anyway.

    The rule I'd change is that for LBW the ball must pitch in line. This takes one significant form of dismissal away from many bowlers, and especially discriminates against leg-spinners. If the ball is going to hit the stumps, either the batsman uses his bat, or he's out. With ball tracking technology there is no reason to keep the old law.

  • Kemcho on December 9, 2012, 4:51 GMT

    Another "yawn" of an article from this author. Does she believe that cricket fans are dumb not to realise the faults of this rule after almost 20 years? Please, we expect better quality articles from cricinfo.

  • Harsha_Reddy on December 9, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    remove legbyes... let batsmen earn their runs in this batsmen favored game.

  • on December 9, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    That passes as the opening salvo on "new series on cricket rules and laws that could do with changing"???

    I really hope that this isn't a reflection of the quality of material that will come in the rest of what could be an intriguing series of articles on the topic.

    This article has no depth and no real content. "Garner, Croft, Holding, Marshall and Croft are all retired, lets have more bouncers"

    It's hardly a persuasive argument!

  • k.mithilesh on December 9, 2012, 3:42 GMT

    Blood and Guts and the subsequent glory should be back in Cricket..Indians can do with some the way they are going these days. But thanks to Ugra for bringing this up....

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • k.mithilesh on December 9, 2012, 3:42 GMT

    Blood and Guts and the subsequent glory should be back in Cricket..Indians can do with some the way they are going these days. But thanks to Ugra for bringing this up....

  • on December 9, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    That passes as the opening salvo on "new series on cricket rules and laws that could do with changing"???

    I really hope that this isn't a reflection of the quality of material that will come in the rest of what could be an intriguing series of articles on the topic.

    This article has no depth and no real content. "Garner, Croft, Holding, Marshall and Croft are all retired, lets have more bouncers"

    It's hardly a persuasive argument!

  • Harsha_Reddy on December 9, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    remove legbyes... let batsmen earn their runs in this batsmen favored game.

  • Kemcho on December 9, 2012, 4:51 GMT

    Another "yawn" of an article from this author. Does she believe that cricket fans are dumb not to realise the faults of this rule after almost 20 years? Please, we expect better quality articles from cricinfo.

  • drinks.break on December 9, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    Agree on bouncers. Good hookers and pullers are great to watch anyway.

    The rule I'd change is that for LBW the ball must pitch in line. This takes one significant form of dismissal away from many bowlers, and especially discriminates against leg-spinners. If the ball is going to hit the stumps, either the batsman uses his bat, or he's out. With ball tracking technology there is no reason to keep the old law.

  • McGorium on December 9, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    Here's an interesting philosophical question regarding "intimidatory" bowling, since it's not an inherent property of the length being bowled, but the ability of the batsman to play it. Let's say a fast bowler bowls a barrage of bouncers at two types of batsmen (and I mean someone who bats at #6 or above.). One is like Ponting or Gilchrist, who will dismiss the short ball (or at the very least, like a Dravid or Kallis, who aren't intimidated a great deal by it). The other is like Yuvraj/Raina/Bevan/Ganguly, who struggle against it. Would a barrage of bouncers against a type 1 player not be treated as intimidatory, simply because the bowler is getting pulled and hooked? Conversely, simply because a type 2 player gets hit multiple times due to his lack of ability, the bowling is deemed as intimidatory? I suspect that an ump would put an end to the latter a lot faster than the former. In that case, it becomes like cricket's equivalent of golf's concept of handicap!

  • on December 9, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    I have been missing good aggressive bowling and had not realized that the laws were part of the problem. Good point

  • on December 9, 2012, 6:26 GMT

    Rules I would change...I don't think its even an official rule. Batsman holding up the bowler. At the end of the over, once the ump is in place and calls 'bowl' then the bowler can tear in. Between balls of the over, the ump puts the arm out. Once it is in then play on.

    Batsman doing hours of gardening between deliveries is bad for the over rate and bad for the game.

    And what is the story with these mini drinks breaks every 20 mins?

  • on December 9, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    Very true,If we need to make the game balanced & more competitive. Umpires should be given charge as before to decide about intimidatory bowling.

  • on December 9, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    I would love to read something about change of power house in world cricket from England to India. When this actually happened, when started, what is main cause, who benefited , who lost, etc etc...