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Updated: January 17, 2013 23:49 IST

Are bowlers being exterminated?

Makarand Waingankar
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Bowlers are being treated as bowling machines for batsmen to practice their shots, writes Makarand Waingankar.
The Hindu
Bowlers are being treated as bowling machines for batsmen to practice their shots, writes Makarand Waingankar.

Kapil Dev recently said that bowlers seem to belong to the labour class while batsmen are the officers. Present day international cricket is converting bowlers into slaves of batsmen. Cricket is not anymore the contest between bat and ball but the pampering of batsmen at the expense of bowlers. The new rule of having an extra fielder inside the thirty yard circle is confirming the partiality towards batsmen.

Limited overs cricket was conceived half a century ago to make the game entertaining. With West Indies and Australia having some brilliant stroke makers, the first World Cup in 1975 became a great success.

Since then, there has been gradual tinkering with the rules to suit the batsman. But putting one extra fielder in the 30 yard circle is the limit. Does the ICC want a score of 400 in every match? Is that entertainment?

Present rule

The rule now is that two players will be out of the circle in the first power play of 10 overs which means that seven players will be inside. For the batting power play of five overs which has to be taken before the 40th over, there shouldn’t be more than three outside the circle.

Such field restrictions will make sure that spinners don’t flight the ball. It has made the condition so batsmen-friendly that there is every chance of a boundary even on a mishit. Of utmost significance is the issue of hardness and changing of the ball. With the rule of two balls to be used in an innings, the ball remains hard and becomes a cake to hit for the batsman. Then in the fast and small outfields the ball reaches the ropes in lesser time. Even when a spinner comes on to bowl in the 20th over, the ball will be only 10 overs old for him.

The matter is clear. Bowlers are being exterminated. They are being treated as bowling machines for batsmen to practice their shots. And what sort of players will these rules create? What will be the standard of International cricket?

Most teams have started keeping a different set of bowlers for the two formats and they practice accordingly. Indian team has most of its medium pacers on the injured list and one’s who are playing are not fully fit. The result can be seen in the hammering they constantly receive.

In the match played at Rajkot, Indian medium pacers gave 38 runs in the last two overs and that cost us the game. If we have to play Ishant Sharma in both the formats, there is hardly any time for him to practice according to each format. Even Brett Lee has struggled playing limited over matches immediately after playing Test.

One solution can be to introduce specialist players for each format. Ever since the advent of limited overs cricket, the bowlers have been constantly trying to restrategise themselves. Alas it seems the only thing that they can do to survive in the game.

They invented different versions of the slower ball to contain batsmen in the slog overs and it worked. But rules have changed yet again and sadly the bowler has to restart the process of readapting himself. Times are clearly bad for bowlers and they have every reason to feel dejected.

Thanks for the article. Very informative. Factors like manipulation of the bats, paddings, helmet and so many other type of devices, other actors helping out the batsmen, all lead to the onesidedness of the game. Makes one sick of watching the shorter format. add this to some of the comfort positions offered to some of the celebrities so that they can score ad nauseum. Sick, sick, sick.

from:  S. Lewitt
Posted on: Jan 18, 2013 at 07:29 IST

These days bowlers exist to serve as cannon fodder for batsmen. I am
so tired of ODIs with 300 plus scores and bowlers cutting a sorry
figure having conceded an unseemly number of runs.
Limited overs cricket has ruined the budding career of many young
bowlers by destroying their confidence. Spinners have turned into dart
throwers and fast/medium fast bowlers turn into trundlers as there is
no swing on offer and they aim at containing batsmen rather than
taking wickets.
Field restrictions and over limits must be removed to make it an even
contest between bat and ball. Why should bowlers only bowl 10 overs
maximum while batsmen can bat without any limit?

from:  Praveen USA
Posted on: Jan 18, 2013 at 05:39 IST
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