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    August 09, 2007

    Double standards, Athers!

    Mike Atherton argued for a one match ban for bowlers who bowl beamers. In a post on AOL blogs, I pointed out that England's bowlers and fielders were guilty of a similar offense - hurling the ball back to the keeper with every chance of it making contact with unsuspecting batsmen. And they've been doing this for 2-3 years now!

    The reason I see double standards in Atherton's call for a ban is that he was very charitable to Brett Lee in 2005 when Lee bowled a beamer to Trescothick in the NatWest Series final. He wrote then:
    The furore that has followed his rather too frequent use of the beamer is easier to justify. The beamer is the hardest ball for a batsman to pick up precisely because it pitches (or doesn't pitch) so far from where the batsman expects. If it is bowled on target, as Lee's invariably is, then it can be lethal. Lee was visibly sheepish after his latest beamer at Marcus Trescothick during the NatWest Series final. After taking Andrew Strauss's wicket shortly afterwards he remained head bowed rather than celebrating in his usual fist-pumping fashion.

    His visible embarrassment and immediate fulsome apology convinces me that Lee's beamers are unintentional, although other international bowlers doubt that such a quality performer can be so far out of kilter. The other reason for giving Lee the benefit of the doubt is that he is such a demonstrably decent fellow. His popularity among team-mates, current and former, is legend. Michael Slater, one of the few Australian pundits prepared to speak frankly about former team-mates, says "he's just a champion".
    So Brett Lee's popularity lets him get away with bowling a beamer ever now and then! If Lee kept having a 'bowed head', offering a 'fulsome apology' and looked 'visibly embarassed' every time he bowled a beamer, he'd never be able to turn his head, for he'd have a royal pain in the neck!

    Update: Just realized that Mukul Kesavan has written on similar lines on Cricinfo!

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 2:39 PM |
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