1 JUNE 1985, Page 16


Sir: Having read Christopher Booker's article on 'The coarsening of cricket' (11 May), I would like to expand on his comments concerning fast bowling, and the apparent necessity today to wear helmets. Back in the early 1970s, very few people, if any, dreamed of wearing such shields, despite the pace attacks of John Snow, Freddie Trueman, Dennis Lillee and such- like (the last of whom was regarded as a demon until only a few years ago), and yet there was a minimal number of injuries. This was because, when a bouncer was bowled, the batsman would simply duck or sway back to watch the ball go by, instead of attempting, as they do today, to get in line and hit the ball for runs, which results in them themselves getting hit if the ball moves off the seam or bounces less than expected.

A second point is that no boy at school would dare to wear a helmet — even if only for fear of being teased — in spite of the speed at which the ball is hurled at him, which, taking into account his lower stan- dard of batting, smaller size, and his untrained reflexes, is proportionately at the same speed as that bowled in Test matches. I do not like the speed of the bowling, so if it is a good ball I try to get in line, and if it bounces too high, I simply get out of its way. If I can do that at my under-14 standard of cricket, why can the Allan Lambs and Allan Borders of this world not do the same?

Mark Davies

Penlee, Southlea Road, Datchet, Berkshire