As a former fast bowler I was appalled and outraged at what I witnessed during the tea break on the second day of the fourth Ashes cricket test at the MCG when former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee faced off British media host Piers Morgan in the nets.
I am so incensed I felt I needed to make comment.
While there were media jibes and a build-up to this bowling and batting contest on Friday, I could not believe my eyes - Lee's brutal assault on Morgan was extremely dangerous and unnecessary.
It was clear that Morgan could not bat or defend himself against Lee's pace and intimidation - this was an unfair and one-sided contest that could have had severe consequences. Sadly, in the past batsmen have died from receiving blows to the body.
I only hope that Brett takes a few minutes to reflect on his stupidity - this was a brain explosion of the highest order - it was a deliberate attempt to hit, injure, hurt and maim his opponent that I viewed as a form of grievous bodily harm or a human assault that could have proved fatal. Morgan, aged 48, was hit four times on the body and if he was hit on the head or across the heart the result could have been devastating.
Lee bowled only one ball at the wickets, and the other five were directed at the batman's middle to upper body and head.
We agree wholeheartedly with Sir Richard on this one. It was crass, unnecessary stuff, and it could have had a very unfortunate ending, as Ewen Chatfield can attest and is in fact lucky to be able to.
And it's a double-banger Quote of the Day; Joseph Romanos points the finger of blame at the entertainment merchants from Channel Nine's Wide World of Sport:
It was shameful. Such bowling would never have been permitted in a genuine match.
What made it worse was that Mark Nicholas, Shane Warne and Michael Vaughan, three experienced cricketers now in the commentary box, stood there throughout grinning and encouraging him. There were also hundreds of spectators roaring with laughter.
What did Lee prove? That a 48-year-old who had never played at any level above village cricket was no match for him. Well done to the Australian on that score.
In 1932-33 Harold Larwood, Bill Voce and company engaged in the infamous Bodyline Ashes series at the direction of their skipper, Douglas Jardine. They bowled short to a leg-side field and all the leading Australian batsmen were hit, some many times.
The tactics were so repulsive that form of cricket was outlawed.
There have been hostile fast bowlers since, including Ray Lindwall, Frank Tyson, Jeff Thomson, Dennis Lillee, any number of West Indians, Allan Donald and Shoaib Akhtar.
I suggest none has ever set out as obviously to hit a batsman as Lee did.
At times Morgan had backed so far away he was into the netting behind him. And still the ball was aimed at him.
Only once in six deliveries did Lee pitch a ball up and aim straight, and not surprisingly, he hit the stumps.
The rest of the time he indulged in the sort of thuggery that could have resulted in a death. I wonder how he and the three laughing hyenas encouraging him would have felt then.
Now let's not beat around the bush here; Piers Morgan invites hostility. He has in fact built a career around it. But Romanos is quite right; Nicholas, Warne and Vaughan must cop some of the blame. It certainly wouldn't have happened had Richie still been the captain of the commentary team!