"Time is ripe for a worldwide review into on-field safety", opines Ian Chappell

Chappell gave his views amid calls to outlaw the use of bouncers by fast bowlers.

Ian Chappell | GettyIan Chappell doesn't believe the bouncer should be outlawed; instead, the former Australia skipper thinks it would be wise to "strengthen any law" that can protect tailenders when they face short-pitch bowling. 

The multiple blows to the head and concussion-related instances in the build-up to the Australia-India Test series retriggered debates around the use of the bouncers by pacemen. 

Read Also: Ian Chappell says Indian team need larger squads to combat bio-bubble fatigue 

Chappell, however, firmly rejected the proposal to ban the delivery and batted for a worldwide review of on-field safety measures. 

"Any talk of completely banning the bouncer should be dismissed as quickly as bowlers removed New Zealand batting bunny Chris Martin," Chappell wrote in ESPNcricinfo, adding, instead "the time is ripe for a worldwide review into on-field safety, including batsmen, bowlers and umpires, with batting technique a top priority."

"In conducting this review it would be appropriate to strengthen any law regarding the protection of tailenders in facing short-pitched bowling."

For Chappell, the complaints around who exactly is a like-for-like concussion substitute also "seems pointless". The rule introduced by the ICC became a subject of great discussions recently when India got leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal to fill-in for concussed all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. 

"The heat rose in this argument when Chahal claimed three wickets and the player-of-the-match award in India's narrow victory. Complaining about a player not being a like-for-like replacement seems pointless; it's always going to be difficult to please all parties." 

Amid issues raised against the fairness of the bouncer, Chappell feels little attention has been paid to the decline in batsmen's technical acumen. 

"...Just addressing the concussion-sub issue doesn't get to the heart of the matter - it's the rising number of batsmen hit on the head that then leads to the need for a replacement player." 

"Following the tragic death of Phil Hughes, Cricket Australia conducted a safety review. Incredibly, this process didn't include a look at technique, which is the most important aspect in ensuring fewer batsmen receive blows to the head."

"Often batsmen duck into a short ball and get hit. Many times a ball only bounces between waist and chest height but still hits a batsman in the head because he has taken his eye off the ball and ducked. Will Pucovski's latest concussion is a case in point."

The revisit on this topic reminded Chappell of the times when the great West Indies attack of the '80s was dominating world cricket. 

"There were rumblings in the '80s about banning the bouncer, when the West Indies were dominating. This wouldn't have slowed the West Indies' superiority, but it would have resulted in regular batting exhibitions that were boring to watch and commentate on."

Chappell wrote, "replacing a concussed player is not such a perplexing problem" during the COVID-19 pandemic, "because teams are carrying extended squads."

"However, in normal times, the touring party will be severely disadvantaged if they only have 15 players for a series while the home side can choose from a wider range of replacements."

(With PTI inputs)


By Kashish Chadha - 21 Dec, 2020

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