fast bowlers’ union
- noun an unofficial and unspoken ‘understanding’ supposedly existing among fast bowlers of opposing teams, whereby they are guaranteed immunity from bouncers or other forms of intimidation while they are batting. The agreement is upheld by the obvious sanction (also unspoken) that any fast bowler who bowls bouncers at his opposite number can expect similar treatment when it is his turn to bat. The arrangement, though apparently ‘sporting’, tends to have little effect when there is an obvious imbalance in the fast-bowling strengths of the two sides, and in recent years the bargaining power of the fast bowlers’ union has all but disappeared. Other factors contributing to its decline are the arrival of the helmet – which makes any batsman ‘fair game’ – and the near-extinction, in the intensely competitive modern game, of the genuinely incompetent number 11 slogger.