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Sight Screen

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Lee-thal weapon

Brett Lee, we learn, is embarassed by the beamer he bowled at Marcus Trescothick in the Natwest final.
Not sure why he should be -- he's done it enough times to be quite accustomed, by now, to the 'embarassment'.
Peter Roebuck, in fact, stirred things up earlier this year when he characterised Lee as a deliberate deliverer of the bean ball, who should be thrown out of the game before he injures someone.
Linking the beamer Lee bowled at Brendan McCullum earlier this year to the one he aimed at Abdul Razzaq in Sydney, Roebuck said:
Brett Lee must be dropped from the Australia side for the rest of this tour of New Zealand. His beamer directed at Brendon McCullum on Saturday was merely the latest in a series of violent deliveries sent down by a pace bowler at best reckless in his approach and at worst utterly unwilling to remain within long-accepted parameters governing conduct on the cricket field.

There's also a detailed -- and venomous -- write up of the Razzaq incident and related matters on The Armchair Blabbermouth
Then, as now, Ricky Ponting was quick to defend his bowler. Others, like Steve Waugh, Lenny Pascoe and Merv Hughes, also came to his defence; Rodney Hogg was pretty much the sole dissenting voice.
"A bean-ball at the head is not a slip. It's a cold, calculated piece of the game. When you release a bean-ball, you are releasing it at a different part of your action. You have to release the ball earlier," Hogg told Melbourne radio.
"Obviously, Brett down there (in NZ) is not acceptable. It should be mentioned by the umpires to the ICC (International Cricket Council), whether it be Brett Lee or any bowler around the planet who wants to bowl bean-balls. They (the ICC) should take action from there."
Hogg said Razzaq's two beamers to Lee in a tri-series final in Sydney, which preceded Lee's high ball to Razzaq, were also intentional.
"We saw Razzaq and Lee had a confrontation up in Sydney and Razzaq was trying to make out that it slipped, but it didn't," he said. "Lee gave him a real good one back . . . But it's not on.

Ponting's defence, then and now, revolve around a slipping foot; Lee too brought up slippery footwear in an interview on ESPN. The amusing part of the latest defence is this line:
"It knocks the confidence out of him straight away. If you look at him after that beamer that he bowled, he's holding back and (bowling) within himself immediately after that because he just can't keep his front foot (from slipping). That's why he moved around the wicket."

Ponting's talking of the Natwest Final? The game in which Lee, in the over after the one containing the beamer, took out Andy Strauss with a scorcher? And in the next over, did for Kevin Pietersen with a ball at top pace -- from over the wicket, thus presumably using the same slippery footing -- that hit length, beat the batsman for pace and late seam, and took the edge through?
The incident is raising some dust among fans; check, for instance, this debate on Sportal Forum.
All of this leads to a thought -- Lee is now three beamers this year and counting. And under current rules, no action will be taken, because you have to bowl two of them in a game before the bowler can be sent off (interesting, incidentally, that Lee's foot slips only once in each game). Is it time to rethink that rule?
If you grant that a full toss aimed at head or body, at speeds in excess of 150k, can be potentially lethal, why not then legislate to say that if a bowler sends down three of those in a calendar year, say, he has to sit out a few games? Such carry-forward punishment applies even to less physically dangerous ploys -- like, say, taking too long to bowl your overs. So why not for what is potentially life-threatening?

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