Former Sri Lanka cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga is apprehensive that the repeated changes in the rules of One-Day Internationals have shifted the advantage so overwhelmingly in favour of the batsmen that very few youngsters in future would opt to be bowlers.
“A lot of people say it (new rules) is good for the game, but as far as I am concerned, it is not. Young boys, when they are 8 or 10, will not pick up the ball, they will pick up the bat,” said the 1996 World Cup winning captain on the side lines of a media conference here last night to announce the formation of “Wills Realtors” by 14 of that victorious squad’s members.
“Lots of people think cricket is a batsman’s game, but I feel it should be 60:40 if not 50:50 (in favour of batsmen) because otherwise the bowlers would be getting killed. Some of the greats are getting thrashed in this T20 thing. I don’t know whether they (youngsters) can look up to people. Now it looks like 90:10 and sometimes it looks like 95:5 (in favour of batsmen),” said Ranatunga.
The former cricketer was of the view that the general bowling standards around the world have declined steeply.
“Apart from Pakistan and South Africa, general bowling standards have gone down very badly. If you take South Africa, in our days their bowling was much better than the present bowling. Generally I feel the bowling apart from one or two countries has gone down very badly. Even the wickets have been flat in most of the places. They cater for batsmen,” he said.
He was of the view that there should be a contest between the bat and ball.
“The bowlers will not survive. The way they play, the junior cricketers will stop bowling and they will try to bat.
Asia will face a huge problem in the future,” he said.
On the two new-ball rule (one from either end in ODIs) he said, “When we started, we played with two balls but ultimately we as captains in a captains meeting could convince the ICC that two balls is not good for one-day cricket. And they changed.
“I feel depending on the places, sometimes when you play in sub-continent, the ball can be damaged within no time.
It is the other way round when you go to Australia and South Africa and play on seaming tracks, the benefit will be for the fast bowlers.”