Lambasting the “ridiculous” suggestion of banning bouncers in under-18 cricket, former England skipper Michael Vaughan says it would be potentially more dangerous if youngsters are exposed to a short-pitched delivery straightaway in men’s cricket.
Recently, concussion specialist Michael Turner, the media director of the International Concussion and Head Injury Research Foundation, had urged authorities to consider banning the use of bouncers against players below the age of 18 in order to limit long-term complications.
His suggestion had come after the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodians of the game’s laws, started a consultation process to discuss if bowlers should continue to be allowed to use bouncers.
However, Vaughan did not find any merit in the suggestion.
“It is a ridiculous suggestion and yet another example of the world we live in these days where anything risky is deemed too dangerous,” Vaughan wrote in ‘The Telegraph’.
“It would be much more dangerous for young kids to only be exposed to the short ball for the first time when they play men’s cricket at a high level. They just would not be equipped to face it,” he added.
Explaining that kids at the junior level do not have the strength to bowl short-pitched deliveries, Vaughan said if bouncers are banned at the junior level, the authorities will have to get rid of it at the elite level as well.
“I see kids coached at junior level and watch my son play. There is very little short-pitched bowling. The bowlers do not have the physical strength as kids to bowl bouncers and the pitches are too slow anyway.”
“It is in the nets where young batsmen can be pinned but they have to learn to play the short ball. If we ban it at junior level then we have to ban it at elite level too,” he added.
The tragic death of young Australian batsman Phillip Huges after being hit by a Sean Abbott bouncer during a domestic match in November 2014 had triggered a debate on players’ safety.
The 25-year-old was hit on the neck, just below the helmet. It forced the manufacturers to redesign the helmets to enhance safety of the batsmen.
“Protective equipment is very good these days. We had one tragic incident involving Phil Hughes but it is very rare there is a serious injury caused by a bouncer.
“It does happen, but batsmen do not suffer the same repeated blows to the head as contact sports. The danger is bowling in T20. I reckon one day there will be a serious injury suffered by a bowler having the ball hit back at him,” Vaughan wrote.