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HomeSportsTwo-bouncer rule allows fast-bowlers to set up the batters now:Brett Lee

Two-bouncer rule allows fast-bowlers to set up the batters now:Brett Lee

Australia fast-bowling legend Brett Lee has given a stamp of approval for the two-bouncer rule in an over, introduced in the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), saying it allows the pacers to set up the batters well by tying them down and restricting their scoring flow.

The rule underwent a successful trial in the 2023/24 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy before being introduced in IPL 2024. “I think the two-bouncer rule is good, as essentially, what we have seen in the history of Indian Premier League tournaments is that it favours the batters – through small boundaries and the one-bouncer rule, either at shoulder or head height.”

“Free hit and wide lines are scrutinised, so there are a lot of things that go against the bowlers. Now that we have the option to see two bouncers per over, it allows fast bowlers to set up the batters coz they now have two cracks at the bowling the short ball.”

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“Before this, if someone bowled one short ball for the over, he generally wouldn’t bowl a bouncer as there are five balls remaining in the over and know it cannot be short anymore. So now, they got the option to bowl a short ball on the first and potentially, in the last ball of the over, which is great,” said Lee, an IPL expert, in a select virtual media interaction organised by broadcasters JioCinema.

In 14 matches of IPL 2024 so far, pacers have been dominant by picking 119 wickets, as compared to 39 scalps taken by the spinners. What’s been more interesting to see is slower deliveries making a bigger impact in the tournament so far.

According to statistics provided by Cricket-21 to IANS, batters have so far made 189 runs off 106 balls, including hitting 26 boundaries against slower balls, while being dismissed by them ten times.

Punjab Kings and Gujarat Titans have three wickets each off slower balls, while Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Lucknow Super Giants, Royal Challengers Bengaluru and Mumbai Indians have a scalp each. Pacers like Mustafizur Rahman, Harshal Patel, Mohit Sharma, Andre Russell, and Vyshak Vijaykumar have benefitted from bowling their repertoire of slowers and cutters to be the standout bowlers for their respective sides.

“Wickets aren’t really conducive for fast bowling, as seen from the last couple of years. We had the highest score in IPL history a few nights ago and there’s been some consistent scoring throughout in the tournament so far. Yes, we did see a wobble in the other evening, where Mumbai Indians managed to get only 125.”

“But above all, the wickets on offer haven’t been as quick, compared to what we have seen in previous seasons. The reason why they are bowling a lot more slower balls and why they are effective is because they are working very well on slower wickets,” observed Lee.

Amidst all this, Mayank Yadav, the young tearaway quick from Lucknow Super Giants shone with a blistering three-wicket haul against Punjab Kings. Nine of his 24 deliveries went above 150kmph, with the fastest being 155.8 kmph. Lee is eager to see what the future has in store for Yadav and isn’t willing to put any undue pressure on him.

“First things first, I don’t want to put any extra pressure on him because if we talk about the chance to represent India, it could put pressure on the guy who’s 21 years of age. I am super impressed with what I have seen of him so far – he’s got great pace, and nice action. I am really excited to see how his future progresses in the next 12-18 months.”

Mumbai Indians are the only winless team in the competition, and Lee thinks Jasprit Bumrah should have bowled with the new ball from the opening game, citing him giving away 20 runs in his first three overs in the six-wicket defeat to Rajasthan Royals on Monday night. “I’m still impressed with Bumrah, even though the other evening he didn’t bowl the best that he’s bowled, but he’s still world-class. There’s one thing I’ll say about Bumrah: I don’t think they (Mumbai Indians) have used him in the correct fashion (in this tournament).”

“He has bowled the fourth and fifth over in a couple of games, and in the last one, he took the new ball. Even though it was the second over, it was hard for him to control the swing because he hadn’t bowled with the brand-new ball in the last few games. So, I’d love Bumrah to take the brand-new ball from the first over.”

Lee signed off by backing an unsettled MI to get past their usual slow start to the competition, considering they have been there and overcame it in the last few years. “If you have a look at their record, they’re the most successful team in IPL’s history. I think back to the time when they won a tournament (the 2015 IPL trophy), despite losing four games on the trot.”

“So, I’m not concerned about MI at the moment. They do have a couple of issues with not scoring runs, and bowlers not bowling their best in different areas, but they’re still showing signs of how good they are as a team. I think patience is the key with Mumbai at the moment (to get back to winning ways).”

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