Questions and Answersfoobar
Q: I am concerened about the lack of protection given to some colts players by umpires when applying law 42.6 regarding the use of short pitched deliveries. My interpretation is that there should be little or no use of this type of delivery in colts cricket, as the ability of the young players to deal with them is very limited. Therefore, I wonder if the ECB should issue a directive on the matter, pointing out that 42.6 declares short pitched bowling to be illegal if the umpire, after taking into account the ability of the striker, considers it likely to cause injury. Too often I see umpires finding the use of the bouncer as a source of amusement, whilst neglecting their primary duty of protecting young cricketers.
A: Thank you for expressing your concerns about short-pitched bowling in colts cricket. In general we only issue Directives to cover areas of cricket that are not directly addressed by the Laws. MCC are the Guardians of the Laws and are responsible for introducing any changes that are felt necessary from time to time. In the case of short-pitched bowling the issue is complicated by the fact that the umpire is the sole judge of what is dangerous, and has to make that judgement for each batsman, so what might be acceptable in an Under 17 match might be unacceptable at a younger age and what is acceptable against a top order batsman might be unacceptable against lower order players. The umpires have a clear duty of care to the young players taking part in a match and should be umpiring the match in accordance with the Laws, including Law 42.6.
The ECB is developing new courses for umpires which will include a section on health and safety issues and on child welfare and we will look at the issue of short-pitched bowling as part of the development of these courses.
Thank you for raising the issue.