I was really looking forward to the Gabba test at the time scheduled to start from 4th December and I must confess I was driven by the sheer possibility of how our young brigade would combat the grenades thrown by Mitch Johnson. But then came the ‘news of tragedy’ (Spare a thought for young Sean Abbott!!). At first I was completely in a state of denial refusing to accept the thought of fatality (Come on he was 25. Talent is not supposed to end at this stage. Moreover, He was deemed to conquer the world with his spellbound talent). Slowly, we all had to move from denial to remorse. Weighing around 156g and about 22cm in circumference, a cricket ball can be dangerous. As it is now it has shown it can be fatal too. Phil Hughes was done in by a bouncer .From then on this word has rung alarm bells in the cricket fraternity. Some have thrown in their weight behind it while others have gone on the back-foot.
What happened to Phil Hughes was a catastrophe, but banning the bouncers would not be the correct step. Australia would be the first one to oppose it with the brand of cricket that they play. Hughes’ was a freak accident. Basically, his time in the middle was up. It was a one in a 10 million occurrence. In this helmet age, this incident was unprecedented. There is danger in every form of life. People have lost their lives tripping down the stairs. So should they stop climbing stairs???A batsman can smash a ball and it can hit the bowler in the head to kill him. So should the bowlers also start wearing helmets?? Intimidation is a part of strategy for a fast bowler. Bouncer tests the guts and technique of the batsman. As former England captain and top-order batsman Michael Vaughan recently wrote: “The bouncer is such an important part of the game. It is a test of mental toughness. It is designed to put the batsman off his game, upset his foot movement and get his head in the wrong position, which is what batting is all about. I hope that does not change.”
Already the bowlers are struggling, thanks to the docile tracks, better bats and shorter boundaries .Banning bouncers will take the fun out of the game and the batsman will simply plant their front foot forward and make hay. Game which is already batsmen’s ‘Half-Girlfriend’ will become completely skewed in their favor .Bowlers would become more of a caged-parrot. What I feel is instead of banning bouncers, there could be other safety protocols like better helmet design that should be incorporated and better coaching on how to combat the short ball would be a more logical response to the whole scenario. Technique and sound back-foot play are the essence of evading a bouncer. Gavaskar was the master of that. He played the quickest of pace men and the nastiest of bouncers without a helmet and sometimes even the skullcap(It was anyway more of an eyewash!!) which he wore later in his career.
It would be inappropriate to forever link Hughes and bouncer ban. He would not have wanted to be the catalyst for such a hasty response. To ban the bumper would be to disrespect him. Hughesy gave his life to cricket. He should rest in peace.