To Bounce, or Not To Bounce…

The untimely passing of Phillip Hughes has given cricket – and sports fans in general – time to reflect on many things in recent days: safety and mortality, to name just a few.

Gideon Haigh penned this thought-provoking piece for The Australian over the weekend.

The short, rising delivery has been an integral part of the fast bowlers armoury. Conversely, batsmen who could hook and pull with consummate ease have been worth their weight in gold when it comes to accumulating runs.

Do you think bowlers will still send down the venomous bouncer? Will batsmen spend more or less time working on effectively dealing with the short one?

For the pace bowlers: Will you still send down the odd bouncer designed to keep the batsmen in their place?

If you’re a batsman; have, or will, the events of last week cause you to reconsider and adjust your technique?

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts and reflections on Gideon’s piece…




About Steve Baker

Weapons-grade Grump. Quixotic. Jack of all Trades and Master of None. Ex-power forward for Melbourne Superules FC. Quoter of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm at inappropriate moments. Gun-for-hire, sleep enthusiast, contrarian. Meshuggener. Nebbish. Kibitzer. The dude abides.


  1. Now I know who “Lou” is. Gideon Haigh in mufti to protect his Murdoch contract.

  2. Good one Bakes.
    I reckon if the batsman was stepping onto the front foot in my delivery stride, he/ she would earn a bouncer to two.
    It’s about stopping him/her scoring. And getting them out.
    It’s the game.
    Playing it differently, even “more sportingly,” may be a good thing.
    But it’s a professional activity at the top, and if you score runs you keep your job.
    If you take wickets (at an appropriate rate of economy) you keep your job.
    At the lower park levels, individual performance keeps your spot, too.

    Perhaps the biggest change to the game will be in the way batsmen play the inevitable short stuff.
    I was never confident of the cross bat approach to short bowling. One decent pull shot in 15 years. (Bowled next ball – in a happy daze). But I got runs with turns off the hips/ chest for easy singles to fine leg.
    It’s largely in their hands (and feet) (and mind).

  3. I wonder how the bouncer will feature in the first Test. Will there be a seemingly respectful decision by all parties to suspend its use, or will it be business as usual? I expect a hostile crowd reaction when an Indian bowler first drops one in short, although I think this would be poor, and not taking a longer, more objective view of the game. Will there be détente or will spontaneity keep its rightful place?

  4. DBalassone says

    It’s an interesting question. I wonder if Mitchell Johnson will lose his fire & brimstone approach of last summer. Mitchell is a confidence player, and something like this might really effect his mindset. I read somewhere that Jeff Thomson was never quite the same after his flatmate Martin Bedkober was killed in a Brisbane grade cricket in 1975/76.
    The thing that worries me more about all this – and for what not much has really been said – is the potential danger to close-in fieldsmen. The ball is a missile and if a bloke is standing a few metres from the batsman, particularly if a spinner is bowling, he is a lamb to the slaughte,. Didn’t Merv Hughes smash a ball into Gus Logie in 88/89? The ball bent the grill on his helmet and broke his nose. I think also in danger are:
    1) keepers standing up at the stumps – I remember Greg Dyer having his nose broken in 87/88 after a wicked deflection
    2) leg-slips when a spinner is bowling
    3) bowlers on the follow through, if a straight drive is smashed back at them
    4) umpires – there have been recent deaths in lower forms of the game in Israel and Wales.

  5. Chris Weaver says

    There’s definitely a generational shift in how batsmen play short-pitched bowling.

    When I grew up in the early 1990s, it was much rarer to see batsmen get ‘gonged’ and I have a theory as to why that was. Even though they predominantly wore helmets, many of that generation grew up or learned their cricket either before or just as helmets entered the game. Consequently, they had developed better preservation skills and a more defensive mindset through their early cricket than their modern day counterparts.

    The other difference was the bats. Nowadays, smaller grounds and better bats mean you can have confidence that a mistimed cross-bat shot will still travel far. Back then, it was either time the shot perfectly, or get caught behind square.

  6. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Steve there are far more batsmen hit now than before helmets overall batters technique has fallen away far less feet movement back and across and really watching the ball . Out of the Hughes tragedy I really hope this facet of the game comes back in to vogue , yes it is going to be interesting to see the reaction of all bowlers and the game in general how it reacts and moves on I hope it is treated as a terrible 1 in a million accident and totally agree re Mitch Johnson above as we all are wishing Sean Abbott all the best

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