Jeremy Wells

Jeremy Wells on cricket

Jeremy Wells: No balls? Shock the guilty parties

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Tim Southee. Photo / Getty Images
Tim Southee. Photo / Getty Images

As our national cricket side slid out of the ICC T20 World Cup last week, I started wondering about legitimate and illegitimate deliveries.

I know no one bowls no balls on purpose apart from Pakistani fast bowlers looking to supplement their incomes, but surely bowlers around the world should have learned the benefits of staying well behind the line by now.

Poor old Tim Southee is the latest front foot felon. His overt overstep bowling the first ball of New Zealand's super over against the West Indies was heartbreaking for both him and his teammates. The fact that the no ball went for six made for particularly unpleasant viewing, but who hasn't been smashed for six by Chris Gayle. Certainly no crime there.

Bowlers are under far greater scrutiny today than ever before. When a wicket falls in test cricket it's become de rigueur for the umpires to check for a no ball. It happened to Doug Bracewell last year bowling to Michael Clarke at the Gabba.

In the old days when someone was given out they were out. Sometimes they clearly weren't out. Sometimes they clearly were out. Either way the decision stood.

As soon as umpires started looking at replays after every dismissal, international bowlers should have adjusted their run-ups to ensure they never crossed the line again.

There's no better cricketing dry hump than watching a batsman being recalled when the decision has been reversed because of an overstepping offence.

So how, as a nation, do we stop this feeling from occurring again? Simply put, we can't. Mistakes happen. But players should be incentivised to stop no balling.

It sounds harsh, but if I were Mike Hesson I'd introduce a penalty for any no ball bowled during test matches.

An electric collar like the ones they put on dogs to teach them to avoid kiwis would probably do the trick. Every time they bowl a no ball they get zapped. Hesson could administer the zap remotely from the comfort of the players' enclosure. Easy. Problem solved. It would certainly make for good viewing.

It was hard to find the positives from our performance in the T20 World Cup.

Luckily, post cup catastrophe, I had to wait only three minutes for the next commercial break before my spirits were lifted by Stephen Fleming's award-winning performance in the latest Fujitsu Heat Pump ad.

God, I love those ads. Flem, self-consciously looking neither hot nor cold, casually wandering around his home spouting the benefits of whacking a massive piece of Japanese plastic on your wall.

If I'd seen them during winter I would have bought 10 pumps just to show my support. I can totally understand why Fujitsu has become New Zealand's favourite air.

Flembo's been peddling those pumps for a few years now but his latest piece to camera has, in my opinion, taken sports endorsement advertising to new heights.

The new-look wardrobe, laugh talking and tracking shots have added massive amounts of production value.

Meanwhile Flem's tagline - "no wonder it's New Zealand's favourite air" - has a polish that rivals our greatest cricket star product/service endorser Sir Richard Hadlee's in the Crown commercial when he ducked out of shot and then re-entered to the voice over "arise, Sir Richard".

I seem to remember commentator Henry Blofeld a few years back barbecuing surrounded by bikini-clad women. The end line was something about "having a few maidens over?"

I wonder if the ad creatives who wrote it experimented with the term "no balls".

- NZ Herald

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