Despite the external easiness, cricket is considered not quite a safe sport. There is a reason that cricketers use helmets in the game. At the amateur level, people do not play with a professional ball, but most often use a tennis ball, which is lighter. Athletes experience the greatest risks when bowlers throw. One of the unpleasant ones is the beamer. With it, the ball passes at the level between the waist and the batsman’s head.
Beamer: the basic meaning
Why do players perform beamer, having information about its danger? The fact is that such a throw is not always made intentionally. Most often, such actions can be seen from young players who have not yet fully developed their technique. Sometimes throwing players bowl a yorker which goes askew. Sometimes bowlers are hindered by a wet ball or sweaty hands. In a fit of struggle, players may not wipe the ball from moisture properly. And if there is a fine rain, then everything becomes even more difficult.
Technically, it is more difficult for a bowler to control high throws than low ones. In turn, the batsman can expect the ball to hit the wicket and therefore may not pick up the flight of the ball and may be struck by it. Law 41.7 prescribes how the umpires should act in such episodes. In test matches for beamer, the umpire punishes the player with no-ball and issues a warning. In the One Day International and Twenty20 International cricket formats, the umpire indicates a free hit and also issues a warning. Repeated violations of this rule can lead to the suspension of a cricketer for the end of an innings or even a match.
In cricket, there is also a similar type of strike – bouncer. In this case, the bowler can legally send the ball towards the opponent’s head. Why is this strike legal, unlike beamer? It is believed that the bouncer is much easier for a batsman to reflect because in this case, the ball flies along the same trajectory.
Beamer: disqualifications of players
Most often, the umpires make do with warnings, after which the players are careful and no longer throw the beamer. However, there are exceptions in the history of cricket when cricketers were removed from the field for violating this point of the rules:
- Waqar Younis from Pakistan was disqualified at the World Cup in 2003. In the 49th over of the match against the Australian national team, Younis twice made a dangerous throw towards Andrew Symonds. Umpire Clive Lloyd, after consulting with his assistants, decided to remove the player before the end of the game. “The first one slipped from my hand and he [Shepherd] warned me, and then it happened again and that is why I couldn’t bowl my last few ball. I did apologize to Simmo [Symonds], you should ask him,” Waqar Younis explained the incident. It should be noted that the disqualification did not affect further participation in the tournament. Andrew Symonds accepted the opponent’s apology, although he admitted that he was very angry during the game. Now Waqar Younis is the coach of the Pakistan national team.
- At the 2014 Asian Cup, another Pakistani player, Abdur Rehman, was removed from the field during the match. He threw three consecutive beamers in a game against Bangladesh. For the first time in the history of cricket, a player remained without actually bowling a single legitimate ball, although at the same time he took 8 wickets. It should be noted that the two beamers were invited by the match umpire Cloete to the conversation of the captain of the Pakistan national team Misbah-ul-Haq, warning about the dangerous actions of his teammate. As a result, the warnings did not affect Abdur Rehman, he made another mistake. In the 2014 season, the player played for the national team for the last time and soon announced his retirement.
For sure, strict punishments for beamer appeared in cricket after several cases when players died on the field due to strong hits of the ball in the head.