16 Dec 2019

Short balls split opinion

6:46 pm on 16 December 2019

One of New Zealand's finest batsman says it's time to review the use of short-pitched bowling in Test match cricket.

Black Caps all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme cops a short ball from Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc.

Black Caps all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme cops a short ball from Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

Australia completed a 296-run win over the Black Caps in the first Test in Perth, with both teams finding success using a heavy dose of short-pitched bowling.

Comparions are being made to the infamous 1932-33 Ashes series, where England captain Douglas Jardine introduced the Bodyline tactic.

But former New Zealand captain and opening batsman Glenn Turner isn't a fan of the approach, which was also used to great affect by the highly successful West Indies teams he played against in the 1970s and 80s.

"It was very hard to beat them because they were bowling only about 70-odd overs a day and rotating their four quicks.

"By bowling a lot of short stuff, it didn't leave oppositions with an equal opportunity.

"Short fast bowling is part of the game but people are going to get hurt and it also damages the game if you allow too much of it.

"The macho aspect of it appeals more to some than others, but believe me you get tired of any one type of bowling being exaggerated or overdone."

Black Caps coach Gary Stead, however, has defended their short pitched bowling tactics in the first test loss.

Stead has indicated they're unlikely to change their approach for the second test starting in Melbourne on Boxing Day.

"When you have your attack you have what you have.

"Unfortunately I can't promise you that I can pluck out guys that can bowl 150 [km/h] from New Zealand and bring them over here because I'm not sure we necessarily have them.

"Is it Bodyline? I don't know, I mean I think it's part of the game and bouncers are a legitimate delivery."

Australian captain Tim Paine said he expecting the rest of the series to have a Bodyline feel to it.

The first Test featured both teams setting fields for legside catches, both behind the wicket and for the pull shot that were seen during that 1932-33 Ashes series.

Australian cricket captain Tim Paine.

Australian captain Tim Payne Photo: PHOTOSPORT

But Paine said the match was played in good spirit and was impressed with the approach of the New Zealanders.

"I think it's going to be a bit of Bodyline for a lot of the series.

"There's been a lot of talk about it but regardless of the pace of the two teams, they are very very skilled at executing that ball, and they set great fields for it.

"It's a completely different challenge to what you get from other teams. They're very good at it and it's very clever."

Meanwhile Turner said the time has come to drop one of the victims of the short bowling in the first Test.

Opener Jeet Raval's place in the Black Caps red-ball side is on shaky ground after his poor run of form was compounded by two failures in Perth.

Turner said Raval needs to be replaced for the Boxing Day Test.

"When someone has a run like he's been having, you have to give them a break from it.

"He'll be really down on confidence at the moment, and he's being asked to do the hardest job in the batting line-up."