Strauss says bouncer ban must be avoided

Former England captain Andrew Strauss.
Former England captain Andrew Strauss.
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Andrew Strauss believes the game of cricket has never been safer despite the death of Phillip Hughes.

Former England captain Strauss, who played with Hughes at Middlesex, said a player no longer went out to bat “worrying that his life might be on the line” and urged the powers that be not to consider banning short-pitched deliveries.

Strauss admitted the natural response to such a tragedy was to assume “massive changes” were needed, but said: “The protection in the game of cricket has never been better than it is today.

“I don’t think any cricketer will go out there to bat these days worrying that his life might be on the line. I think in the old days pre-helmet that did used to take place quite often. These days it doesn’t happen.

“I think it’s really important we investigate this fully and see what can be done. I would hate to see a situation where bowlers can’t bowl short balls. There has got to be a little bit of an element of, not fear, but, as a batsman, you have to protect yourself and if you lose that I think it shifts the balance between bat and ball too firmly in favour of the batsman.

“Let’s look if we can do anything more on the protection side. I don’t know the full details of it, it sounds like he got hit on the neck, which is not usually a particularly dangerous place to get hit. I’ve been hit on the neck a number of times – I can remember twice by Brett Lee in the same Test match – so whether this is just one of those freak, tragic accidents or not remains to be seen.”

Another former England captain, Michael Atherton, said Hughes’s death would “shake” batsmen into recognising the importance of safety.

He said: “It’s an incredibly safe game, but I think this will shake batsmen slightly out of what might have been complacency.”