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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Jury out on Steve Smith's 'bouncer-bar' proposal as Australia currently play opening Test against New Zealand

According to former Australia captain, a pacer should be allowed just one or two such deliveries, after which he should be warned or delivery be called wide

A Staff Reporter Calcutta Published 01.03.24, 10:43 AM
Steve Smith evades a bouncer during a Test

Steve Smith evades a bouncer during a Test Getty Images

Steve Smith feels the cricketing authorities should urgently address the issue of fast bowlers persistently bowling leg-side bouncers to a packed leg-side field, as it restricts a batter’s ability to hit the ball “anywhere in front of the wicket”.

According to the former Australia captain, currently playing the opening Test against New Zealand in Wellington, a pacer should be allowed just one or two such deliveries, after which he should be warned or the delivery be called a wide.

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“I think there could be some slight rule changes in terms of balls going down the leg side when you set that field. You really can’t hit the ball anywhere in front of the wicket really, and I feel like it is almost like when a (left-arm) spinner comes over the wicket and they get the warning down the leg side, and then they start getting ‘wided’,” Smith was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.

Pacers, on the other hand, aren’t on the same page with Smith.

“Quicks, in any case, cannot bowl more than two bouncers an over. And if the ball is outside the line (when bowling leg-side bouncers), it does get called a wide. So, where’s the discrepancy here?” Umesh Yadav, who has represented India in 57 Tests, 75 ODIs and nine T20Is, told The Telegraph from Nagpur.

“Besides, on a pitch where nothing is happening, we, bowlers, have to try such things like bowling leg-side short-pitched stuff with a leg-side heavy field. We also had done it in some phases during the tour of England in 2021, because there’s not much option then. If another set of rules come in (to bar pacers), there will be nothing left for fast bowlers then,” Umesh, who has dismissed Smith in Test cricket, explained.

Lakshmipathy Balaji, another former India pacer, echoed Umesh. “If you impose a rule or two in this case as well, it becomes almost like the white-ball format. There will be nothing left for fast bowlers then. So, I don’t agree with what he (Smith) said,” Balaji, who played eight Tests, 30 ODIs and five T20Is, stated.

“Also, as a batsman, you can make room and try aerial shots to tackle those leg-side bouncers. Nothing stops you from doing so,” Umesh added.

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