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Thread: How did Helmets Effect the Dynamics Between Fast Bowlers and Batsman?

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    How did Helmets Effect the Dynamics Between Fast Bowlers and Batsman?

    I found the following article is interesting as it is counter-intuitive.

    One would assume that the biggest impact of the protective helmet on Test cricket after it was introduced would be on the batsmans confidence and technique. However, while this is true of itself the most significant change appeared to be on the skill level of fast bowlers. It actually increased when the element of fear decreased. The stats of Lillee, Holding, and Roberts are good indicators of this.


    How did Helmets Effect the Dynamics Between Fast Bowlers and Batsman?

    .....It was Patsy Hendren who designed his own helmet way back in 1933 – a rubber hat with three peaks two of which fitted over the side of his head – as he faced Learie Constantine and Manny Martindle at Lord’s. But, it took 45 more years for the trend to catch on.

    The perception is that ever since the batsmen started donning helmets, fast bowling lost the edge of physical intimidation. Mediocre men could now get behind a Croft or a Dennis Lillee and get away with it.


    However, were the pace bowlers really affected by this change?......


    .......The figures under helmets


    The 1970s and 1980s were known for world class pace bowlers, lightning quicks by the dozen from the Caribbean; fire spewing, swear spitting nasty men from Australia and even a few genuine fast operators from England and Pakistan.* How did they fare when the helmets started butting into the game?

    If we look at the 70s till the fateful day for fast men when Yallop walked out under the white contraption, we find men like Lillee, Croft, Garner, Roberts, Jeff Thomson, John Snow, Michael Holding, Bob Willis, Imran Khan – all posing physical threat to batsmen.* On the other side of 1978, over an equal time span till June 1986, we have a sizeable portion of the earlier set appended by Malcolm Marshall, Pat Patterson, a young Courtney Walsh, Rodney Hogg and others.


    Considering only the fierce fast men – and subjectively ignoring seam and swing merchants Ian Botham, Richard Hadlee and Kapil Dev – we find:


    * 1971-78: The pacemen took wickets at 25.12 with a strike rate of 52.60

    * 1978-1986: They knocked over batsmen at 24.82 with a strike rate of 53.89.


    Hardly any difference. In fact, the average of the second group shows perceptible improvement if Hadlee, Kapil and Botham are included in the analysis......


    ......What does this mean in cricketing terms?

    i. With helmets, scoring runs did not get easier against the fast men of the generation. *However, getting wickets became more laborious. Batsmen could resist longer against the quick bowlers, perhaps powered by the protection aided confidence. Batting technique changed. People no longer bothered about moving to the off side of the ball to play the hook shot. The new batsmen were not necessarily inferior to the old brigade, it was the evolution of a different technique with the diminished risk of head injury.

    ii. When new fast bowlers arrived, they developed new skills to pick wickets at the same rate as their predecessors. With physical intimidation not being what it used to be, they extended their repertoire. In Marshall, Walsh and Wasim Akram we witnessed many splendored munitions in their arsenal. Waqar Younis perfected his toe crushers because no one wears helmets at both ends. In came the slower ball, reverse swing and other innovations.


    How did helmets affect the dynamics between fast bowlers and batsmen? ? Cricket Mythbusting, Analysis and History
    Last edited by watson; 05-12-2015 at 04:44 PM.

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    Hall of Fame Member Hurricane's Avatar
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    Good stuff Watson.
    1) Ross is Boss.
    2) See point 1.

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    Are batsmen more keen to get onto the fromt foot now and transfer their weight to play the short ball than before?

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    It could be that it helped Batsmen throw away the caution to winds, and not be able to play short balls and mix of short and pitched up deliveries..
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    Hall of Fame Member Hurricane's Avatar
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    Up until the age of twenty I never wore a helmet. At first I just ducked everything and didn't think twice about it. Then when I got bigger as a teenager I learned how to hook and doing so without a helmet teaches you how to do it correctly.

    Only wore one when occassion demanded it throughout my career (e.g. the bowler was 120 plus) until 6 years ago when I top edged a chest high pull shot on my teeth. Blood everywhere. Shattered my confidence and can't bat without a helmet now. Havn't had occassion to do a hook shot since.

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    Well, stats for fast bowlers may have improved after the invention of helmets simply because the fast bowlers who were around in the pre-helmet days were getting older and more mature.

    You could also argue that fast bowlers started to pitch the ball up more, and that led to better stats because pitched up bowling is what takes wickets.

    Similarly,you could argue that more batsmen began attacking quick bowlers when equipped with the helmet - pulling and hooking instead of ducking - and this lead to more wickets.

    All these seem like more feasible explanations than saying fast bowlers were forced to become 'more skilful' because of the helmet.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend zorax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daemon View Post
    Are batsmen more keen to get onto the fromt foot now and transfer their weight to play the short ball than before?
    Definitely seems like batsmen who have emerged from the late 90 onwards have been more willing to play short deliveries off the front foot. This may have to do in part with growing up with helmets? Bigger, more powerful bats may also be a factor.

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    International Captain indiaholic's Avatar
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    My guess would be that the batsmen who were a part of the group that first adopted the helmet did not change their techniques because they grew up with techniques to bat in a world without helmets. So their weaknesses and strengths were the same as that of the pre helmet generation. So bowlers just had to do what they were doing earlier and still get the same results.
    Quote Originally Posted by duffer View Post
    Heh.

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    When I played I didn't bowl bouncers unless the batsman had a helmet. Being 6'7" there was naturally a lot of surprise bounce, and I was pretty sure that if I put down a decent bouncer I had a good chance of hitting a guy.

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    Hall of Fame Member Hurricane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwiviktor81 View Post
    When I played I didn't bowl bouncers unless the batsman had a helmet. Being 6'7" there was naturally a lot of surprise bounce, and I was pretty sure that if I put down a decent bouncer I had a good chance of hitting a guy.
    Woah, You are 6 foot 7. Nice to know.

    Good sensible choices. 90% of bowlers run in bowling bouncers joyfully and then get shocked when they hit someone. 10% of bowlers enjoy hitting people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane View Post
    Woah, You are 6 foot 7. Nice to know.

    Good sensible choices. 90% of bowlers run in bowling bouncers joyfully and then get shocked when they hit someone. 10% of bowlers enjoy hitting people.
    In my experience, ALL fast bowlers enjoy hitting batsmen

    It's the odd serious injury that no-one likes

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    did the bowlers attack the batsmen's body more overtly after helmets came in ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwiviktor81 View Post
    When I played I didn't bowl bouncers unless the batsman had a helmet. Being 6'7" there was naturally a lot of surprise bounce, and I was pretty sure that if I put down a decent bouncer I had a good chance of hitting a guy.
    Think i once said **** off to you. Feel much safer while doing it with the key board
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane View Post
    Woah, You are 6 foot 7. Nice to know.

    Good sensible choices. 90% of bowlers run in bowling bouncers joyfully and then get shocked when they hit someone. 10% of bowlers enjoy hitting people.
    Bouncers seemed like a waste to me. All that energy to bowl a ball that is neither threatening the stumps nor the outside edge. I understand the need for it at first class level but at the level I played at it didn't seem right.

    Also, I was hit in the face by a bouncer and had my nose broken when I was 14. That influenced my approach a lot.
    Last edited by kiwiviktor81; 06-12-2015 at 03:25 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gob View Post
    Think i once said **** off to you. Feel much safer while doing it with the key board
    Haha. It's been 20 years since I last laid a finger on someone in anger. Although I agree that it's rare that I get told to **** off to my face haha.

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