In the terminology of the game of cricket, a beamer (less commonly beam ball) is a type of delivery in which the ball (bowled at a fast pace), without bouncing, passes above the batsman's waist height. Such a ball is often dangerously close to the batsman's head, due to the lack of control a bowler has over high full tosses. Worse, the batsman is expecting the ball to pitch on the wicket and therefore may not pick up the flight of the ball and may be struck by it.
This type of delivery can result in injuries to the batsman, and the penalty is an immediate no-ball signal given by the umpire and, in Twenty20 and one-day matches, a free hit. The use of beamers is governed under Law 42.6. The bowler is then given a warning by the umpire for dangerous bowling. Repeated or deliberate cases may result in the bowler being barred from bowling again for the remainder of the innings (or match), as happened with Waqar Younis in the 2003 Cricket World Cup. Fast or express bowlers, particularly younger players yet to fully refine their techniques, are likely to bowl such deliveries more often than other bowlers, albeit accidentally.
A beamer can severely injure a batsman, especially if the batsman's head is struck. Some cricket boards are considering introducing additional penalties in the form of monetary fines for the bowler if any batsman is injured as a result of this delivery.
A bowler can legally target the batsman with a ball aimed at his head that bounces, called a bouncer. These are much easier to play or avoid than beamers.
Typically, a beamer is quite hard to bowl because the ball is usually released very early on in the action. Beamers are sometimes bowled when the ball is wet and it slips out of the bowler's hand. Some excuses given have been that it was an attempted yorker that slipped but this is generally not the case as a yorker is delivered much later in the action.
Abdur Rehman, a Pakistani spin bowler, bowled three consecutive beamers in the 2014 Asia Cup against Bangladesh, and was banned from the match without actually bowling a single legal ball, despite giving away 8 runs. This was the first time this happened in the history of cricket.
- "A deliberate beamer is just throwing a punch by proxy", Mike Selvey, The Guardian, 3 August 2007
- "Bangladesh v Pakistan, Asia Cup, Mirpur: Abdur Rehman barred for three illegal full-tosses". ESPN Cricinfo. March 4, 2014. Retrieved May 25, 2016.