Cricket: Mike Hesson open to new bouncer rules

Bangladesh's Mushfiqur Rahim ducks a bouncer. Photo / Photosport
Bangladesh's Mushfiqur Rahim ducks a bouncer. Photo / Photosport

New Zealand would have no issue if the rules for bowling bouncers were enlarged to cover the chest area, according to coach Mike Hesson.

He was speaking a day after the seven-wicket win over Bangladesh at the Basin Reserve, which included a pile of short-pitched deliveries, and had Bangladesh's captain Mushfiqur Rahim taken to hospital after suffering a blow on the back of his helmet.

The laws of the game limit fast bowlers to two bouncers an over in tests. A bouncer is deemed a delivery passing the batsman between shoulder and head height.

Much of lively left armer Neil Wagner's bowling was aimed at the Bangladeshi batsmens' chest. It's awkward to play for the less skilled batsmen and Wagner is a clever exponent of pushing the line, but not crossing it.

''Not really," Hesson responded when asked if his team would have a problem if the bouncer range was extended to include the upper chest area.

''We'll just play within the rules of the game and let the umpires' dictate that," he said.

''Obviously some players are more skilled at attacking or defending the short ball than others."

Hesson said it was wrong to compare banning bouncers with banning head high tackles in rugby. One tactic is legitimate, the other is not.

''Umpires are the judge of what is deemed to be appropriate and what's not. They are very diligent," Hesson said.

''When you play on a flat surface obviously you have to challenge back foot play at times, and most of the time you're creating chances from balls around the chest height than head height."

Hesson said the tactic was about seeking wicket taking opportunities rather than hurting a batsman.

''Neil is a particularly good exponent of the ball between the chest and shoulder height and that creates a lot of opportunities on flat surfaces."

Wagner, an aggressive character on the field, was struck on his helmet a staggering three times in 16 balls by Bangladesh fast bowler Kamrul Islam on the fourth day of the match. One drew blood on his chin.

His attitude is that if he's prepared to dish it out he has to cop it too.

Would Hesson like Wagner to give away the hook shot?

''I'd love him to put away the hook shot. He still thinks he's very good at it," Hesson quipped.

''Neil's quite a combative sort of character and he sees it as a scoring opportunity. I'd be keen for him to duck the odd one, no doubt about that."

- NZ Herald

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