Former Australia captain Ian Chappell has called for a review of on-field safety measures in cricket, saying it would be a good idea to strengthen laws that can protect tailenders when they face short-pitched bowling.
The run-up to the Test series between India and Australia was marked by a series of blows to head and concussion-related substitutes, reviving the debate around the use of bouncers by fast bowlers.
Chappell, however, rejected the idea of banning the delivery altogether.
“The time is ripe for a worldwide review into on-field safety, including batsmen, bowlers and umpires, with batting technique a top priority,” Chappell wrote for ESPNcricinfo.
“In conducting this review it would be appropriate to strengthen any law regarding the protection of tailenders in facing short-pitched bowling.”
Chappell also stressed on improving the batsmen’s technique to face the bouncer.
“... 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,” Chappell said.
“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.”
Pucovski suffered a concussion after being struck on the helmet by pacer Kartik Tyagi during the warm-up game against India A and subsequently missed the second game and a potential Test debut at Adelaide. The youngster has a history with concussions.
Earlier, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar had said that a batter should be good enough to know how to play a bouncer.
“On the business of concussion substitute itself, I don’t agree with it. Maybe I am old-fashioned, I have always believed that if you are not good enough to play the bouncer and you get hit on the helmet, then you don’t deserve a substitute. I am sorry,” Gavaskar had said after the controversy over Yuzvendra Chahal coming on as a concussion substitute for Ravindra Jadeja in the first Twenty20 International.
Talking about that controversy, Chappell had said complaining about a player not being a like-for-like replacement is pointless.