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Indian Premier League 2023

‘It’s restricting the fast bowlers’ – Sunil Gavaskar unimpressed with bouncer playing conditions after du Plessis handed a life

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Sunil Gavaskar was not impressed when Faf du Plessis was handed a second life despite hammering the ball into the hands of the fielder at deep mid-wicket in RCB’s victory over SRH yesterday (May 18).

Nitish Reddy’s marginal above shoulder height bouncer was called a no-ball for being the second bumper of the over, which left the commentator unimpressed with how short deliveries are policed by officials..

Chasing 187 to stay alive in the competition, RCB got off to a flier, scoring 79-0 in the first eight overs. Openers du Plessis and Virat Kohli went on to score 172 for the first wicket as RCB convincingly chased the total down, but the game could have gone differently if du Plessis had departed in the ninth over when he was batting on 41, especially with RCB heavily-reliant on their top three.


Reddy’s first ball of the over was hit for six but he recovered well, conceding three runs in the next three deliveries. He could have ended up with his first-ever IPL wicket on the fifth ball after du Plessis went for a pull against a shorter ball, only to see Mayank Dagar latch onto a stunner near the ropes.

RCB immediately reviewed the delivery in the hope that replays would show that it was the second above-shoulder bouncer of the over. Reddy was in for a disappointment after the TV umpire confirmed that it was a no-ball. According to the IPL playing conditions, only one fast, short-pitched delivery above shoulder height is permitted per over, and clause states a no-ball would be signalled in case of more than one such ball. “In the event of a bowler bowling more than one fast short-pitched delivery in an over, the umpire at the bowler’s end shall call and signal no-ball on each occasion,” the playing condition reads.

Clause also defines what accounts for a “fast short-pitched delivery.” “A fast short-pitched delivery is defined as a ball, which passes or would have passed above the shoulder height of the striker standing upright at the popping crease.”

The decision to call it a no-ball was criticised by Gavaskar on commentary, who said such rules “restrict” the fast bowlers.

“I’m talking about the bouncer,” said Gavaskar. “Even if it’s a little bit over the helmet, if the batsman can reach it, it should not be called a wide [or a no-ball in this instance]. You’re actually restricting the fast bowler. Yes, if it’s above the helmet, way above the helmet, by all means, call it a wide. You might as well tell the bowler to tie your hands behind your back and bowl, particularly the fast bowlers.”

Deep Dasgupta, who was also commentating with him, said, “What a shame.”

Du Plessis ended up scoring 71 in 47 deliveries, with Kohli making his sixth IPL hundred in 62 balls.

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