5 Reasons why the bouncer is still relevant in ODI’s
The bouncer is often associated with bowlers of the 1970s, when the likes of Michael Holding inflicted mayhem in the opposition’s camp through a barrage of balls near the batsman’s head, so much so that Bishen Singh Bedi once had to withdraw his Indian team from the field due to injuries inflicted by the Caribbean pacers.
Since then, though, there have been changes to the rules of the sport to curtail the number of bouncers for safety reasons. Both Test and ODI cricket have limitations of two shoulder-height bouncers in one over. Previously one bouncer per over was allowed in an ODI, but since 2012, the limit has been increased to two bouncers.
Bowlers enjoy the smell of the leather, while it’s synonymous to nightmares for batsmen. Cricket, being predominantly a batsman’s game, levels the field for bowlers with the use of bouncers, especially in the limited overs formats.
The below reasons will give a fair idea of the relevance of bouncers in ODI cricket.
#1 To keep batsmen on the back foot
In the ODI format, it’s imperative for batsmen to stamp their authority on the bowlers. As a result, batsmen either plant their feet forward or shimmy down the track to shape up their dominance towards the bowlers. Brendon McCullum fits in well as an example of a batsman who likes getting inside the bowler’s nerves.
The bouncer’s role comes in here. Some chin music along with a glare at the batsmen might turn the equation in favour of the bowlers. More than physical attributes, it’s the mental subterfuges that come into the fore. Batsmen make initial movements, which more or less give the bowlers an avenue into the batsmen’s mind.
It may not curb the batsmen’s instincts, but it’s enough to spin a web of muddle in their minds about taking bowlers for granted, never mind spicing up the contest.