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Rooting for bowlers

Rooting for bowlers
Highlights

If necessity is the mother of invention, then the ones using this dictum as extended innovations are the sports administrators from across the globe. In a bid to boost interest in their respective disciplines, many have toyed with myriad measures to help sustain patronisation by sponsors and fans. Name a sport and it has believed in innovating with the intention of ensuring that excitement would be the buzzword.

It is rather pitiable that amid innovations, cricket has become overly batsman-oriented

If necessity is the mother of invention, then the ones using this dictum as extended innovations are the sports administrators from across the globe. In a bid to boost interest in their respective disciplines, many have toyed with myriad measures to help sustain patronisation by sponsors and fans. Name a sport and it has believed in innovating with the intention of ensuring that excitement would be the buzzword.


Each sport has undergone experimental transformation. Cricket, for instance, has witnessed tremendous changes in the past four decades, particularly since the time Kerry Packer’s pajama cricket caught the fancy of the players and fans. If ODIs appear here to stay, so will be the T20 version. It is rather pitiable that amid these innovations, the game has become overly batsman-oriented and bowlers are reduced to being journeymen in the 11-member team composition.


More precisely, they are lambs which have to be slaughtered.Even though the purists (read it as Test connoisseurs) dreaded the importance given to batsmen, the administrators running various bodies, including the International Cricket Council (ICC), played down the importance of bowlers.


Against this backdrop, the latest decision taken by the ICC must be a cause for celebration. The very fact that they hope to bring about a balance between the bat and the ball, and make the sport an even more exciting proposition has to be welcomed by all and sundry. It is a matter of maturity of thought that there has been a rethink on three specifics that have made the sport increasingly batsman-oriented. Batting power play between the 10th and 40thovers has been a bane that has only rendered harm to the sport.


Captains have taken undue advantage of this rule, which virtually reduces the importance of bowlers. The decision to allow five fielders outside the 30-yard circle in the last 10 overs of an innings should be applauded. This coupled with the proposed removal of compulsorily having two close-in fielders in the first 10 overs and the likelihood of extending the boundary line to the maximum stretch will go a long way in generating further interest, particularly from a bowler’s point of view.


The committee has rightly justified that these measures will allow fielding captains’ greater freedom to both attack and defend and make a match of it. At a time when the authorities are still pondering over the pros and cons of introducing ICC World Test Championship in 2017, and replacing Champions Trophy with a mini-IPL (whatever that implies), the ICC administrators are raising eyebrows over the proposed recommendations to the ten Test playing nations.

It is a bit too utopian to expect crowds at the stadiums to watch Test matches under floodlights. It does not matter that the revised rulings will come only for ODIs. At least, an honest beginning has been made, which hopefully will restore the importance of bowlers and fielders.

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