Don't get carried away with bouncers

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iol sport pic jan8 David Saker

AFP

England bowling coach David Saker tells team member Ryan Sidebottom exactly which way is up.

Delhi - David Saker, the England bowling coach, said on Monday the side were adapting to the changes in one-day rules and promised they would have mastered them by the time of the first game against India on Friday.

England take on Delhi at the Faroz Shah Kotla Stadium today after their failure to get to grips with the new bowling regulations in the opening warm-up match against India A on Sunday.

“We definitely bowled more bouncers than we probably should have, there's no doubt about it,” admitted Saker, “it's just about making sure you assess the conditions well enough.”

He also revealed that given the absence of Jimmy Anderson and, for the start of the five-game series, Stuart Broad, England expect Steven Finn to lead the attack against India.

“I think that job comes with a lot of personality. I think Steven Finn is probably the one that needs to take that role,” said Saker. “We've had a chat about that and hopefully he will take that mantle.”

Back problems ruled Finn out of the fourth Test against India last month, as well as the subsequent Twenty20 series, but Saker sees no reason for long-term concern.

“The physio staff and the medical staff have said that the back isn't something that's going to be a long-term thing. It's just something that's flared up, we're confident that he'll be fine for this series.”

As England learned to their cost in Sunday's 53-run defeat, just because an extra 50 bouncers are now available doesn't mean they must be used.

“Over here in these conditions, as we showed yesterday, the bouncer probably didn't work as well as it could have,” Saker said.

The new changes to one-day cricket were rubber-stamped in October 2012, when the International Cricket Council announced that from the start of this year, bowlers can include two bouncers per over, up from a more batsmen-friendly one. In addition, the bowling powerplay, a five-over period when the fielding side is allowed only three fielders outside the circle, was scrapped.

Pace bowlers rejoiced. Since fielding restrictions were first introduced in 1992, bowlers have felt like an unprotected species. However, what the ICC gave with the right hand, they took with the left. They restored the balance in the batsman's favour by simultaneously announcing that during all non-powerplay overs (ie 35 of the 50 available), only four fielders - rather than the usual five - would be allowed outside the circle. The move is fuelled by a desire to banish the often turgid middle overs when a deep-set field restricts crowd-pleasing boundaries and makes the scorer's book resemble binary code.

Saker should be up in arms, yet he went so far yesterday as to profess himself “really confident that the new rules are good additions to the game”. He added he is “a big fan of the extra fielder in the ring. I think it's going to help”. - The Independent


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