“A while ago if you bowled a certain number of deliveries consecutively the umpires would step in, especially if it was used to control the game.
“I wonder if that comes into play at all. There were quite a few consecutive deliveries a foot down leg side. There’s another train of thought where the umpires need to step in. It’s not my position to run the game.”
Under the International Cricket Council’s Test playing conditions, umpires can call wides if they believe a bowler to be “bowling down the leg side as a negative tactic”.
“The strict limited over Wide interpretation shall be applied,” law 22.1.4 reads.
The rule is rarely applied, but Australia were on the receiving end during India’s second innings in last year’s Boxing Day Test.
Umpire Marais Erasmus called a wide on a ball that Pat Cummins sent down leg side to wicketkeeper/batsman Rishabh Pant so that spinner Ravindra Jadeja would be on strike for the first ball of the next over.
Erasmus later explained to Paine that it did not matter it was the first such delivery as the wicketkeeper had set up for it.
“If he had bowled a ball down leg and then you had then dived, I would not have deemed it to be deliberate,” Erasmus said.
Hick’s comments will undoubtedly raise more awareness of the Kiwis’ controversial tactics in the lead-up to next week’s Boxing Day Test.
The Australians are expecting the Black Caps to persist with the short ball, which Hick believes to be a defensive play designed to slow down the pace of the game.
“The situation of the game, if you try to set up the game and move the game forward, you’re tempted to try and attack it, which plays into their hands,” Hick said.
“You have to have a clear plan and be very disciplined. Whatever your plan is, execute it well. It’s without doubt they’ll use it again.
“We won the Test match quite convincingly. It’ll only get them ahead of the game if we don’t play it well. If they were ahead of the game, they’d be bowling in better areas to start off with.”
Some batsmen chose to attack Wagner and met their demise that way, while Wade opted to take the hits to the body during his stirring contest with the Kiwi enforcer.
Hick will let each player devise his own plan to tame Wagner, who claimed five of his seven wickets with the short ball – a delivery which has brought him a large portion of his 194 Test victims.
“If a batter ducks every short ball for five overs and has the discipline to do that they’re [New Zealand] not accomplishing much and the game’s not really moving anywhere,” Hick said.
“The wicket will determine how they’ll play it as well. There’s a lot of things that will come into
making those plans. Once you get out there you’ll get a feel of how the wicket is playing and you can go to plan A or B.
“It’s all part of batsmanship. You have to think on your feet for a lot of the time. There’s a lot of research, so it’s in your mind when you go out there and then you have to put your plan in place.”
Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald