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Friday, June 11, 2010

Neil Pinner and the new rule on bowling

The name of 19 year old Neil Douglas Pinner who plays for Worcestershire 2nd XI was in news all over England.

Way back in 2003 in a World Cup match Andre Adams was hit for a six by Andy Bichel; but at Mirpur in 2007-08 AB Devilliers was caught and bowled by Mohammad Ashraful.  Steve of Cricinfo once wrote that Iqbal Abdulla of KKR bowled two deliveries against Chennai.

What is the connection and what is the news about these deliveries. The answer is all of them were ‘double bouncers’. After it rained sixers in the T20s each Team were devising strategies to gag the batsmen and have some delivery which will not be hoisted out of the ground. The traditional Yorker is not working any longer.  Neil Pinner, an off-spinner who plays for Worcestershire's second XI, perhaps had the answer. He developed a delivery which bounces twice before reaching the batsman and thus making it harder to be hit out of the ground.

According to law 24.6, the umpire at the bowler's end will only call no-ball if a delivery "either (i) bounces more than twice or (ii) rolls along the ground before it reaches the popping crease."

It is reported in  Telegraph.Co.Uk  that English Cricket Board has outlawed (reproduced as it is -  double bouncer  )
Warwickshire's idea to start bowling double-bouncing deliveries. The report states “ It is hard to disagree with the old adage that cricket is a batsman’s game following the latest directive from the England and Wales Cricket Board outlawing an innovative double-bouncing delivery being worked on by Warwickshire.

Telegraph Sport has learned the ECB issued instructions to all counties on Wednesday stating the delivery will be called a no-ball even though it does not contravene the Laws of Cricket, which rule the ball must not bounce more than twice or roll along the ground. The delivery, the brainchild of Warwickshire bowling coach Graeme Welch, was being specifically designed for use by seam bowlers in Twenty20 cricket and was due to be trialled for the first time in Wednesday evening's televised match against Derbyshire.

Welch first had the idea when, as a player, he saw Derbyshire off-spinner, Nathan Dumelow, accidently bowl a double-bouncing delivery that bamboozled batsman Darren Stevens, who was then at Leicestershire.  He thought he had stumbled upon a new innovation but after a meeting of its cricket committee on Tuesday, the ECB decided to tinker with the playing regulations of the county game to prevent it being bowled in first or second-team cricket.

An ECB directive to county coaches and umpires stated: “Further to an ECB Cricket Committee recommendation, it is confirmed that the practice of bowling a ball that bounces twice should be disallowed with immediate effect. It is considered inappropriate for the image and spirit of our game.”
The ECB feared a repeat of one of cricket’s most controversial incidents when Australian Trevor Chappell bowled an underarm delivery to Brian McKechnie with New Zealand needing a six off the last ball to win at Melbourne in 1981. That led to the banning of underarm bowling by the ICC. It is argued the difference in this situation, though, is that any part-time player can bowl an underarm delivery, but a deliberate double-bouncing ball requires skilful execution.  But MCC, who are the guardians of the Laws of Cricket, have given the delivery their blessing, meaning it could still be used in tournaments outside the ECB’s control such as the Indian Premier League or World Twenty20. “We don’t think it is against the Spirit of Cricket or contrary to the Laws of the game,” said Keith Bradshaw, the chief executive of MCC. “We see it as the same as the switch-hit and unless it changes the balance between the bat and ball we see no reason to change our view.”

Two years ago after Kevin Pietersen first played a switch hit, when he swaps from a right-hander to left hander’s stance, the MCC deemed it legal on the grounds it takes great skill to execute the shot. Warwickshire feel that has set a precedent. “Not just anyone can do it and it takes skill,” Welch told Telegraph Sport. “The margin of error is small.” Welch believes it is a greater weapon in the hands of a quick bowler who has the element of surprise on his side. “The batsman thinks it is a bouncer and by the time he has realised it is not he has cut down his reaction time,” he said. “You need a bowler who can bowl out of the back of the hand and bounce it as close as he can in front of him so that when it bounces again it is on its way down.

"The trick is getting the pace right on the second bounce. I am disappointed about it [being outlawed]. Batsmen are smacking it out the ground and this is just the way the game is evolving. We are always trying to think of new things. I am a bowling coach and my job is to do that.”  The key to the delivery is getting the length of the second bounce right and Welch says the hardest part for the quick bowlers is bowling the correct line. “They are not used to bowling out the back of their hand so it can go badly wrong,” he said.

The slower ball bouncer was a key weapon for England’s seamers at the recent World Twenty20 and has replaced the yorker as a stock delivery.

Regards – Sampathkumar S


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