Cricket is a competitive game. And at times, in order to emerge on top of one another in this battle between the bat and ball, it is the bowler who resorts to some complex- if also helpful- tactics. Well, complex for the batting side and like an aid to the fielding unit. Truth be told, among the easiest tactics and also the most commonly deployed measures with which to dissuade the batsman (or to trouble his focus) is to use the bouncer. Now we know that helmet is a term that comes in handy when confronting bouncers. But just imagine what were to happen if the ball, delivered so ferociously, was to break the helmet and cause a serious concussion. Such a scene would make for hell being met by the batsman, right?
Imagine that entire sight: batsman crouching, holding his breath to avoid the mercilessly hurled bouncer, with the bowler exclaiming in thrill to witness the defence being breached and the helmet being contacted by the ball!
Easy to enjoy the great game of cricket but always this peril nightmare as a batsman to face the threat of concussion. So many have lost their lives, so many have been found wanting; bouncers, to this day, continue to challenge the authority of the bat versus the ball.
A fine sight for the fan but not so much so for the one facing chin-music – right?
Here’s a fact.
Now even as bowling a bouncer is far too common a sight and also the most frequently used tactics particularly at the international Test level, it simply does not mean that such practice is not deployed at much junior levels.
Perhaps one of the reasons why a concussion specialist made for some interesting observations regarding the usage of the bouncer delivered to the batsman, who more often than not, has to face musings by way of concussion.
In an interesting story published on world media, here’s what Mr. Michael Turner, who happens to be the Media Director with the International Concussion and Head Injury Research Foundation had to say:
“You want to avoid concussing the adolescent brain while it’s still evolving. You want to avoid concussions at any stage, but it’s particularly bad for youngsters,”
If stopping concussion in this age group means changing the rules to ensure that there are no short deliveries in in junior cricket, this should be a serious consideration by those in authority.
Helmets are designed to prevent skull fracture but do not stop concussion. The way forward is to prevent concussion taking place- by changing the rules if necessary.”
Now while his views may certainly hold more power and reason than some random buck-making idea like seeing Cricket being reduced to some 10 over or who knows, even a 5-over affair in the future, the question is- is this the way to go?
Can the powers that be actually allow for such an important change to be introduced in the game, even if that effectively means, the bowlers widening their armory (avoiding the bouncers and looking for more options) and the batsmen being given some breathing life?
What’ll be most interesting would be to see if something is actually done to, at least, address this very interesting idea!