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The practice of bowling bouncers to tailenders is under the spotlight as international cricket authorities launch a review of short-pitch bowling laws amid heightened awareness of concussion in sport around the globe.
The Marylebone Cricket Club’s influential World Cricket Committee has announced it will survey key figures and bodies around the world to determine if the laws are “fit for the modern game”.
Tailenders, such as Harry Conway, may get more protection from bouncers under the MCC’s review of short-pitched bowling. Conway was concussed after being struck by a bouncer while playing for Australia A in December.Credit:Getty
Respondents will be asked to consider the “balance between bat and ball”, with many former Test players saying the banning of the bouncer would fundamentally change the game.
“With research into concussion in sport having increased significantly in recent years, it is appropriate that MCC continues to monitor the Laws on short-pitched bowling, as it does with all other Laws,” the MCC said.
There is increased pressure on cricket to get rid of the bouncer, with one head-injury specialist saying it should be outlawed at youth levels, while Auckland Cricket has banned the delivery from some grades it administers.
“Does cricket really require intimidation to make it interesting?” Michael Turner, the medical director and chief executive of the International Concussion and Head Injury Research Foundation, told Reuters this month.
“I do not believe that it should be allowed in matches involving players under 18.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan slammed the idea, describing it as a “ridiculous suggestion” as it would not prepare players for the top level.
His comments echo those of former great Greg Chappell, who believes there should be more emphasis on teaching youngsters how to play the delivery rather than legislation.
If the laws are passed by the MCC, they would still need to go before the International Cricket Council for implementation at the top level.
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