Time To Redress Balance Between Bat And Ball?
The World Cup is over and what we saw was an extraordinary display of cricket. The World Cup was like a honeymoon period for players like Kumar Sangakkara, AB de Villiers, Mitchell Starc and Trent Boult whereas it was nothing less than a nightmare for others, like Dale Steyn and James Anderson.
So we can say that those who applied their basics right got the result in their favour. But the question we are asking to ourselves is - was this a fair contest between bat and ball? We saw teams scoring more than 150 runs in the last 10 overs with wickets in hand.
Bowlers seemed to be helpless at times. So what made the balance between bat and ball shift towards the bat?
Batsmen have invented new shots to gain an advantage
We will have to give credit to the batsmen for the shots they have invented. Whether it is the reverse and paddle swipe of de Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan’s Dilscoop or MS Dhoni’s Helicopter shot, they have changed the way we think about the game now.
Even the good balls now can be sent into the stands at will.
Are fielding restrictions too hard on the side in the field?
Having only four fielders outside the 30 yard circle has provided the opportunity for batsmen to play lofted shots. It’s tough for the captain to set the field when the batsman is looking to go after the bowlers.
It has also limited the role of spinners in the ODI format. Traditional spinners who rely more on giving the ball some air and beating the batsman in flight are finding it difficult to succeed in such conditions.
Two new balls
Two hard new balls come on to the bat really well which has made scoring runs much easier. Balls no longer get old enough for bowlers to exploit reverse swing.
New balls are also hard to grip for the spinners. If the batting team does not lose wickets in the early overs then they can really come hard at the bowlers in the death overs. This leads to a trend of preserving wickets for the last overs .
Time for a review?
So, is it time for the ICC to review their rules so that the pendulum between bat and ball can again be shifted to the centre?
I think so.
© Cricket World 2015