February 2, 2013

No freebies for the protected

Do not allow today's well-armoured batsmen to get runs when they let the ball hit their bodies rather than their bats
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There are two batsmen avoiding bouncers in this photo.

On the left is Brian Close, facing Michael Holding at Old Trafford in 1976, with just pads, gloves and, presumably, an abdomen guard for protection.

On the right is Virender Sehwag, facing a South African attack led by Dale Steyn in Nagpur in 2010. In addition to the protective gear Close is wearing, Sehwag has a helmet, an arm guard, a thigh guard and, presumably, a chest protector. His gloves and pads are more cushioned than Close's too.

Once upon a time in cricket, there were valid reasons for awarding leg-byes when a batsman ran after getting hit by the short ball he was trying to avoid. Not anymore: the batsmen of the 21st century are extremely well protected, and not just by equipment.

After Bodyline, umpires were given the power to step in if they felt a bowler was trying to deliberately injure a batsman. Years later a law was introduced limiting the number of fielders behind square on the leg side to two. A bowler could bowl as many short balls as he liked, provided he was not trying to send the batsman to hospital, but there could be no more than two catchers in the quadrant between the wicketkeeper and square leg. Then in the 1990s came the law limiting the number of fast short-pitched deliveries - it is presently two per over.

So while batsmen of yore had to contend with an unrestricted number of short balls, and an unrestricted number of catchers on the leg side waiting for the ball to lob to them off a desperate fend, they were allowed to run leg-byes - if the pain allowed them to - if they had been struck on the body.

Today's batsmen face few such demons. They can even afford to take their eyes off the approaching bouncer, turn their heads, and let the ball ping off the back of their helmets. Mostly all they deal with is a ringing head as they saunter their leg-byes.

It is time the MCC amended Law 26, which deals with byes and leg-byes. It presently reads: "If a ball delivered by the bowler first strikes the person of the striker, runs shall be scored only if the umpire is satisfied that the striker has either (i) attempted to play the ball with his bat or (ii) tried to avoid being hit by the ball."

That last part must go. Batsmen taking evasive action should be treated the same way as batsmen offering no shot, and a dead ball ought to be signalled if they attempt to run.

Perhaps leg-byes should be done away with entirely. Why award extras to a team when the batsman has failed to hit the ball? Cricket's laws and equipment have changed since the time that rule was a necessity.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY kabe_ag7 on | February 2, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    The logic is quite solid. But there are strong reasons not to change the law too. Firstly, batsmen running legbyes is too entrenched a rule and happens just too often for it to be disallowed now. Viewers (and not just players themselves) will feel very awkward adjusting to such a rule change. Secondly, there would be even more umpiring controversies with respect to whether a run was allowed or whether it came off the leg. As of now, you know it's a run even if it didn't hit the bat. These situations would be very common and often prove very crucial. Sometimes they will be so crucial that people will call for DRS being used to judge whether the ball hit the bat or the pad. And if DRS gets being used for deciding these, then the game will become painfully slow.

  • POSTED BY adeel_meer on | February 4, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    The most ridiculous rule is Free hit. I have no idea how such a rule which has a clear contradiction was passed. How can you have a valid/legal ball and batsman considered not-out. They should have made free hit ball an extra ball and not count it towards the legal balls of the over. Previously if there was 1 ball remaining in an over bowler could potentially take a wicket even if a no ball is bowled. That is not the case any more, if 1 ball is left and bowler bowls a no ball, next ball which is last ball of the over is a free hit so no wicket can be taken of that ball.

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    The rule I would change - and I've been saying this for years - is the rule crediting runs taken on overthrows to the batsman. The runs taken on an overthrow should be considered in the same way as byes. Runs credited to the batsman should be limited to those taken as a direct result of the batsman's actions. A poor throw by a fielder resulting to runs taken on the otherthrow, should be credited as an extra and marked against the fielder making the error. To me, this is an inconsistency in the laws of cricket that should be changed. If a batsman hits the ball and takes a single and an overzealous fielder throws the ball past the stumps and his temamates, and it crosses the boundary, why should the natsman be given credit for this?

  • POSTED BY Eskay13 on | February 4, 2013, 9:09 GMT

    This is the first rule change that actually makes sense to me - do away with Leg Byes and Byes altogether. I understand kabe_ag7's point that this will be a relatively dramatic rule change and one that will take some getting accustomed to (players and viewers alike). However, I think the suggestion is extremely intuitive, the reasoning is beyond rock solid, and the risk of controversy (through runs allowed/disallowed) is limited (and mostly BAU as far as cricket is concerned). Great suggestion.

  • POSTED BY shillingsworth on | February 3, 2013, 21:44 GMT

    Interesting discussion point but, like most of the articles in this series, consists of fixing something which isn't broken. Most leg byes accrue from balls heading down leg side, when the bowler is rightly penalised. Fewer result from the batsman taking evasive action. It's not a problem worth worrying about.

  • POSTED BY Jeppo on | February 3, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    I personally feel that runs should only reward batsmen's class (runs off the bat), or penalise bad balls (no ball and wides) or poor fielding (byes and overthrows). Leg byes are awarded when the batsman either fails to hit the ball with his bat or fails to evade a bouncer. The bowler bowls a good ball and yet his side gets penalised for it. To me that makes no logical sense.

  • POSTED BY eggyroe on | February 3, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    Leg Byes should be removed from the game full stop.The only Extras should be for Wides,Byes and No Balls.After all what is the bat for,if not for hitting the ball.I was taught as a youngster learning the game that you always keep your eyes on the ball at all times,and if you let it hit you and suffered injury it was your own fault.As for the comments on the dimensions of modern day bats,it seems to me a complete waste of time because if you look at the top 10 in the all time Batting Averages you will find that they all played with smaller bats,uncovered pitches,no helmets etc,the Back Foot Law and no D.R.S..Another Rule that in my opinion that needs looking at is the one that allows the Stumping off a Wide.Why should a bowler gain an advantage from an illegal delivery.In the end the game should be a fair balance between bat and ball,played on good playing surfaces,not doctored to suit the home side,which has happened in the not far distant past.

  • POSTED BY vswami on | February 3, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    I totally agree. In fact I would go so far as to say that if the ball hits the batsmans helmet, he should be out. Dilscoop is the ultimate insult to a fast bowler. The fast bowler has no defence against a well armoured batsman playing a ridiculous paddle sweep. Helmets were brought into the game in order to avoid life threatening injuries, not to disturb the balance between bat and ball. Any batsman would rather be judged out than be knocked on the head and have his skull broken. Thats the tradeoff he should make when he decides to don a helmet.

  • POSTED BY T-800 on | February 3, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    The bouncer is still a very dangerous ball even with all the protection batsmen wear these days. Batsmen have NO protection in the front neck area. In my opinion a fast delivery of the same speed hitting the batsmen in certain parts of the neck has a higher chance of fatality than the head which is relatively well protected with the strong skull bone compared to the neck. Its an evolutionary curse stemming from the human bipedal position. In four legged animals the neck is naturally protected by the orientation but in bipeds it is not. Charging bulls etc bend their head downward to expose their horns but this also coincidentally protects their neck. So the original premise of the article that somehow implies that batsmen have it easy from the bouncer of today is false and the article fails on that alone.

  • POSTED BY Dashgar on | February 3, 2013, 2:39 GMT

    disagree, if you get runs taking evasive action that is part of the game. Bowlers can counteract this by bowling at the stumps. If they want to bowl bouncers they need to realise that a stray one might rebound off the helmet or arm guard and fly for runs. It's part of the risk of bowling a short one. And I know plenty of guys who've got serious concussions getting hit in the helmet so while it obviously offers a lot of protection you can't just expect to take hits there to build your team's score. The batsmen aren't invulnerable, even with all the newest gear.

  • POSTED BY kabe_ag7 on | February 2, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    The logic is quite solid. But there are strong reasons not to change the law too. Firstly, batsmen running legbyes is too entrenched a rule and happens just too often for it to be disallowed now. Viewers (and not just players themselves) will feel very awkward adjusting to such a rule change. Secondly, there would be even more umpiring controversies with respect to whether a run was allowed or whether it came off the leg. As of now, you know it's a run even if it didn't hit the bat. These situations would be very common and often prove very crucial. Sometimes they will be so crucial that people will call for DRS being used to judge whether the ball hit the bat or the pad. And if DRS gets being used for deciding these, then the game will become painfully slow.

  • POSTED BY adeel_meer on | February 4, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    The most ridiculous rule is Free hit. I have no idea how such a rule which has a clear contradiction was passed. How can you have a valid/legal ball and batsman considered not-out. They should have made free hit ball an extra ball and not count it towards the legal balls of the over. Previously if there was 1 ball remaining in an over bowler could potentially take a wicket even if a no ball is bowled. That is not the case any more, if 1 ball is left and bowler bowls a no ball, next ball which is last ball of the over is a free hit so no wicket can be taken of that ball.

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    The rule I would change - and I've been saying this for years - is the rule crediting runs taken on overthrows to the batsman. The runs taken on an overthrow should be considered in the same way as byes. Runs credited to the batsman should be limited to those taken as a direct result of the batsman's actions. A poor throw by a fielder resulting to runs taken on the otherthrow, should be credited as an extra and marked against the fielder making the error. To me, this is an inconsistency in the laws of cricket that should be changed. If a batsman hits the ball and takes a single and an overzealous fielder throws the ball past the stumps and his temamates, and it crosses the boundary, why should the natsman be given credit for this?

  • POSTED BY Eskay13 on | February 4, 2013, 9:09 GMT

    This is the first rule change that actually makes sense to me - do away with Leg Byes and Byes altogether. I understand kabe_ag7's point that this will be a relatively dramatic rule change and one that will take some getting accustomed to (players and viewers alike). However, I think the suggestion is extremely intuitive, the reasoning is beyond rock solid, and the risk of controversy (through runs allowed/disallowed) is limited (and mostly BAU as far as cricket is concerned). Great suggestion.

  • POSTED BY shillingsworth on | February 3, 2013, 21:44 GMT

    Interesting discussion point but, like most of the articles in this series, consists of fixing something which isn't broken. Most leg byes accrue from balls heading down leg side, when the bowler is rightly penalised. Fewer result from the batsman taking evasive action. It's not a problem worth worrying about.

  • POSTED BY Jeppo on | February 3, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    I personally feel that runs should only reward batsmen's class (runs off the bat), or penalise bad balls (no ball and wides) or poor fielding (byes and overthrows). Leg byes are awarded when the batsman either fails to hit the ball with his bat or fails to evade a bouncer. The bowler bowls a good ball and yet his side gets penalised for it. To me that makes no logical sense.

  • POSTED BY eggyroe on | February 3, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    Leg Byes should be removed from the game full stop.The only Extras should be for Wides,Byes and No Balls.After all what is the bat for,if not for hitting the ball.I was taught as a youngster learning the game that you always keep your eyes on the ball at all times,and if you let it hit you and suffered injury it was your own fault.As for the comments on the dimensions of modern day bats,it seems to me a complete waste of time because if you look at the top 10 in the all time Batting Averages you will find that they all played with smaller bats,uncovered pitches,no helmets etc,the Back Foot Law and no D.R.S..Another Rule that in my opinion that needs looking at is the one that allows the Stumping off a Wide.Why should a bowler gain an advantage from an illegal delivery.In the end the game should be a fair balance between bat and ball,played on good playing surfaces,not doctored to suit the home side,which has happened in the not far distant past.

  • POSTED BY vswami on | February 3, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    I totally agree. In fact I would go so far as to say that if the ball hits the batsmans helmet, he should be out. Dilscoop is the ultimate insult to a fast bowler. The fast bowler has no defence against a well armoured batsman playing a ridiculous paddle sweep. Helmets were brought into the game in order to avoid life threatening injuries, not to disturb the balance between bat and ball. Any batsman would rather be judged out than be knocked on the head and have his skull broken. Thats the tradeoff he should make when he decides to don a helmet.

  • POSTED BY T-800 on | February 3, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    The bouncer is still a very dangerous ball even with all the protection batsmen wear these days. Batsmen have NO protection in the front neck area. In my opinion a fast delivery of the same speed hitting the batsmen in certain parts of the neck has a higher chance of fatality than the head which is relatively well protected with the strong skull bone compared to the neck. Its an evolutionary curse stemming from the human bipedal position. In four legged animals the neck is naturally protected by the orientation but in bipeds it is not. Charging bulls etc bend their head downward to expose their horns but this also coincidentally protects their neck. So the original premise of the article that somehow implies that batsmen have it easy from the bouncer of today is false and the article fails on that alone.

  • POSTED BY Dashgar on | February 3, 2013, 2:39 GMT

    disagree, if you get runs taking evasive action that is part of the game. Bowlers can counteract this by bowling at the stumps. If they want to bowl bouncers they need to realise that a stray one might rebound off the helmet or arm guard and fly for runs. It's part of the risk of bowling a short one. And I know plenty of guys who've got serious concussions getting hit in the helmet so while it obviously offers a lot of protection you can't just expect to take hits there to build your team's score. The batsmen aren't invulnerable, even with all the newest gear.

  • POSTED BY on | February 2, 2013, 21:25 GMT

    What you don't take into account is the difference in the standard of bowling that modern day batsman have to face. Remember when the UAE captain dared to face Allan Donald without a helmet? You could do it in the old days, but not these days!!

  • POSTED BY malharsire on | February 2, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    Makes sense! But do you have statisitcs of runs scored this way? If it is not too much we should focus on changing other rules. How about limiting the weight of the bats used?

  • POSTED BY on | February 2, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    hmm ok change in rule allowed. Now on to the next one.. if a batsman is completely beaten by a ball he should not be allowed to run a bye, after all why should the bowler be penalized for a good ball! And hey what about the ball manages to hit the bat while ducking and lobs all the way over the fence? That should not be allowed either! Baseball does not allow any hit outside the 'V' . Let us do the same! Then let us get round bats, so there are no edges ;-) . The list is endless my friend! And oh.. why have a game named after an insect? While we are at the rule changing spree why not change the name 'cricket' to something more logical .. batball or something?

  • POSTED BY cricsom5667 on | February 2, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    An alternate approach - just introduce 2 rules whilst preserving the current - 1) 2 hits to the helmet would entail a batsman being given out & 2) Specify the wood and the thickness of the blade for the bats. These 2 rule changes imho would redress the imbalance to a great extent. The first one simulates a scenario of the earlier days when trying to fend of a snorter resulted many a times in a catch- failure to fend one caused a concussion big enough to prevent any further participation in the Test in most cases not to mention some cases of entire series being missed. So whilst the body is protected, the wicket is not and thereby is evenhanded for bowler and batsman. The 2nd one about the bats would get the batsmen to earn their runs after a real hard days work through application and technique which is a bit more of a science of mind,body and physics. The real batsmen will then get separated from the pretenders.And most importantly will help in putting circus cricket like IPL to bed.

  • POSTED BY Chris_Howard on | February 2, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    I've never understood why leg byes aren't awarded to the batsman in the first place. If Brian Close is on 99, the ball its him on the head and flies to the boundary but meanwhile sending him to hospital, he misses out on his century. Despite nearly losing his life for it. Nowadays, yes there is reason to question having leg byes at all, but I do think they should have always been awarded to the batsman. What I think should be extras are overthrows. Why penalize the bowler when it was nothing he did?

  • POSTED BY Truemans_Ghost on | February 2, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    One of the problems in the problems in these "law I would I change" is they are focused on the top level. If you change a law because of how Sewag faces Steyn, this law is also applied when Pinkney's Green is playing Maidenhead Bray on a Sunday, where all the arguments don't neccessarily apply.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | February 2, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    Just to move this agenda onto slightly different ground: batsmen protected by expensive lightweight equipment, playing on covered benign pitches, with bats that are so designed that can deliver sixes off mishits cannot be compared to those of earlier days when with simply designed bats, protection was rudimentary at best & the pitches after rain, devillish! There is, I think, a sound case for saying those immortal innings played then are that much greater for those very reasons. For those who ae blinded by the records of SRT, Lara, Viv, Ponting, etc. need to factor in the above when considering that perennial topic, true greatness. Discuss!

  • POSTED BY kiwi_cricketer on | February 2, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    I totally agree. Why when the batsmen has been beaten by the bowler should the fielding side then be penalized for it? There is enough of the rules in helping the batsmen now why not have one for the bowler. I both play and umpire the game and think players would like it changed

  • POSTED BY bluefunk on | February 2, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    George, I appreciate the intent behind the article, the modern game probably does favour the batsman over the quick to an extent. Nevertheless, I can't help feeling that your suggestion comes somewhat from an armchair observer's perspective. I doubt any of the modern quicks would endorse this rule change either, considering they have to face the music too when the time comes. I remember being hit on the head one cold winter morning when playing school cricket a lot many years back, and I still remember it all too vividly. Let's not begrudge the batsmen the tender mercy of an evasive action run, shall we? Note that Mitchell Johnson is still merrily breaking quite a few rather accomplished hands, despite all the modern protective equipment around.

  • POSTED BY InsideHedge on | February 2, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    With all due respect, Brian Close was wearing a thigh pad too. George, you didn't need to omit this fact just to make your point, it would have been just as valid without a deliberate omission. Thigh pads were being worn decades before the 1970s, and most certainly by all the batsmen in the 1976 series between Eng and WI. The photo of Close is from the rear (keeper's perspective), Close was a leftie, the thigh pad would be on his right leg (outside) which obv can't be seen given the photo's viewpoint. Poor journalism.

  • POSTED BY on | February 2, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    No.This one may be dismissed summarily.You might have all the protection you may need,but there still is required a lot out of a batter to take a red 150gm missile aimed at his body.This rule does not need any tinkering with;it's fine with me if a batter can take a hit and it's awarded runs against the bowler's name.Seems very fair. I would also like to make a point in general about trying to change the laws of the game.We shouldn't do it just for the sake of it.There are a few rules that can be done with,silly and absurd as they are,but we should avoid getting carried away.Balance is always the key to getting things right,isn't it?

  • POSTED BY on | February 2, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    How about banning helmets from Test Cricket altogether and the keeping rules as they are? That would make Test Cricket damn intersting!

  • POSTED BY Stouffer on | February 2, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    I completely disagree. Why not change the laws to remove helmets and arm guards, and lets have uncovered pitches too while we are at it. I hardly think that the few times in a match that a couple of runs might be scored warrants a change to the laws, especially when the logic behind it is flawed. Do you really think that batsmen faced with a short ball will try and head it somewhere to get runs?

  • POSTED BY sandy_bangalore on | February 2, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    Absolutely! Especially the Indian batsmen(with 1 or 2 exceptions) who bat like Bradman on Rajkot, indore and gwalior, but hope around the moment the ball does something(even on Indian pitches, like Dharamshala last week). No batsman in the world likes the short ball, but atleast they try to take it on their body or practise for hours to tackle it

  • POSTED BY nnvv on | February 2, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    I think cricket should come out of this medieval mentality in order to be a better SPORT. Its not supposed to be a war, I mean. Just think how difficult would it be to implement the suggested rule change. Imagine a team needing only one run in the final ball of an important ODI/T20. The current rule is simple to implement and causes no controversies. But if what is being suggested is implemented, there will be a lot many controversies. Also, its not that batsman like to get hit even on the protective gear; and in case it is a deliberate attempt, the umpire can declare it a dot-ball.

  • POSTED BY SARAR on | February 2, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    I wrote a piece in a local paper on these issues. Its a travesty how the balance between ball and bat has changed in favour of the ball. This was a great game and its been made somewhat into a T20 circus. To compare batsmen from previous eras -say 1975, when the covers on pitches came on and later the protection equipment- the average of modern batsmen should be reduced by 10-15 runs.

  • POSTED BY jhabib on | February 2, 2013, 4:29 GMT

    I think this would be a good and welcome rule change. Cricket batsmen shouldn't be afraid to face a fast bowler. Only teams that lack genuine pace could argue that this rule change puts them at a disadvantage.

    Imagine a medieval war where a knight, if struck by his opponents sword on his armor got a "free" swing back!

  • POSTED BY Rahulbose on | February 2, 2013, 3:51 GMT

    Even watching reruns of that Michael holding over is painful. Changing the rule as you propose though will invite bowling short balls at the body to restrict runs. In modern game bouncers are often being used to get a dot ball.

  • POSTED BY Rahulbose on | February 2, 2013, 3:51 GMT

    Even watching reruns of that Michael holding over is painful. Changing the rule as you propose though will invite bowling short balls at the body to restrict runs. In modern game bouncers are often being used to get a dot ball.

  • POSTED BY jhabib on | February 2, 2013, 4:29 GMT

    I think this would be a good and welcome rule change. Cricket batsmen shouldn't be afraid to face a fast bowler. Only teams that lack genuine pace could argue that this rule change puts them at a disadvantage.

    Imagine a medieval war where a knight, if struck by his opponents sword on his armor got a "free" swing back!

  • POSTED BY SARAR on | February 2, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    I wrote a piece in a local paper on these issues. Its a travesty how the balance between ball and bat has changed in favour of the ball. This was a great game and its been made somewhat into a T20 circus. To compare batsmen from previous eras -say 1975, when the covers on pitches came on and later the protection equipment- the average of modern batsmen should be reduced by 10-15 runs.

  • POSTED BY nnvv on | February 2, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    I think cricket should come out of this medieval mentality in order to be a better SPORT. Its not supposed to be a war, I mean. Just think how difficult would it be to implement the suggested rule change. Imagine a team needing only one run in the final ball of an important ODI/T20. The current rule is simple to implement and causes no controversies. But if what is being suggested is implemented, there will be a lot many controversies. Also, its not that batsman like to get hit even on the protective gear; and in case it is a deliberate attempt, the umpire can declare it a dot-ball.

  • POSTED BY sandy_bangalore on | February 2, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    Absolutely! Especially the Indian batsmen(with 1 or 2 exceptions) who bat like Bradman on Rajkot, indore and gwalior, but hope around the moment the ball does something(even on Indian pitches, like Dharamshala last week). No batsman in the world likes the short ball, but atleast they try to take it on their body or practise for hours to tackle it

  • POSTED BY Stouffer on | February 2, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    I completely disagree. Why not change the laws to remove helmets and arm guards, and lets have uncovered pitches too while we are at it. I hardly think that the few times in a match that a couple of runs might be scored warrants a change to the laws, especially when the logic behind it is flawed. Do you really think that batsmen faced with a short ball will try and head it somewhere to get runs?

  • POSTED BY on | February 2, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    How about banning helmets from Test Cricket altogether and the keeping rules as they are? That would make Test Cricket damn intersting!

  • POSTED BY on | February 2, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    No.This one may be dismissed summarily.You might have all the protection you may need,but there still is required a lot out of a batter to take a red 150gm missile aimed at his body.This rule does not need any tinkering with;it's fine with me if a batter can take a hit and it's awarded runs against the bowler's name.Seems very fair. I would also like to make a point in general about trying to change the laws of the game.We shouldn't do it just for the sake of it.There are a few rules that can be done with,silly and absurd as they are,but we should avoid getting carried away.Balance is always the key to getting things right,isn't it?

  • POSTED BY InsideHedge on | February 2, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    With all due respect, Brian Close was wearing a thigh pad too. George, you didn't need to omit this fact just to make your point, it would have been just as valid without a deliberate omission. Thigh pads were being worn decades before the 1970s, and most certainly by all the batsmen in the 1976 series between Eng and WI. The photo of Close is from the rear (keeper's perspective), Close was a leftie, the thigh pad would be on his right leg (outside) which obv can't be seen given the photo's viewpoint. Poor journalism.

  • POSTED BY bluefunk on | February 2, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    George, I appreciate the intent behind the article, the modern game probably does favour the batsman over the quick to an extent. Nevertheless, I can't help feeling that your suggestion comes somewhat from an armchair observer's perspective. I doubt any of the modern quicks would endorse this rule change either, considering they have to face the music too when the time comes. I remember being hit on the head one cold winter morning when playing school cricket a lot many years back, and I still remember it all too vividly. Let's not begrudge the batsmen the tender mercy of an evasive action run, shall we? Note that Mitchell Johnson is still merrily breaking quite a few rather accomplished hands, despite all the modern protective equipment around.