The English team have reintroduced the infamous bodyline approach to their cricket. The 20th century euphemism for it was “leg theory,” in the 21st century it is better described as “head theory.” “It isn’t cricket” used to be the Englishman’s definer for noble values. Not any more.
In the second test Australian batsman Steve Smith was felled by a bouncer and ruled out of the following test with concussion. He was easily the outstanding batsman in the first two tests, increasingly compared to Bradman. And it was to neutralise Bradman that the English tourists introduced bodyline in 1932, with fast bowler Harold Larwood instructed to bowl at the body to a close-in leg field of catchers. No helmets in those days either.
Smith will be back for the fourth test. Stuart Broad, England’s senior bowler, has promised him a ‘brutal” return, having to face the speed of England’s latest import, Jofra Archer. Cricket is still important here and it is as though the whole country is delighting in yet another aim to maim expression of their sportsmanship along with the “of course we don’t mean to hit them” hypocrisy.