Batsmen’s game

23 Jan 2010 by Mahendra Prasad in Cricket Rules

It’s been over 100 years since the game’s inception—a lot has changed. The game has swayed from bowlers to batsmen. Some of the factors deciding this could be:

Placid wickets: Flat decks are found in most stadiums across the world. This is due to the commercialization of the game as people like to see more runs scored. As the era has moved on, we see a gradual change from uncovered to covered pitches. In the times of English opener Geoffrey Boycott, the pitches were uncovered thus making batting extremely difficult.

However, in the recent era, pitches are covered to protect from adverse weather conditions. A stat to confirm the above – in the 1990’s, only Sachin Tendulkar, Steve Waugh, Brian Lara and XYZ averaged over 50 after playing 20 Tests where as in the 2000’s there’s been a increased rise in the number of batsmen averaging over 50.

In order to help batsman take advantage of the new ball, the ICC, after the 1983 World Cup, introduced field restrictions which basically meant that only two fielders would be allowed outside the 30-yard circle for the first 15 Overs. This was tweaked a little when in 2005 when the power-plays were introduced which is an extended version of the field restrictions.

One bouncer per over: To add to this, in 1992, in order to control the aggressive nature of the bowlers, the ICC introduced the one bouncer per over rule. Not a very famous rule amongst the commoners, the ICC had banned bouncers for a 7 year period. However, they re-instated the rule. Thank goodness for that!

Free hit: The inception of the free hit in 2007 just after the Twenty-20 World Cup only added to the agony of the bowlers. Yet, another rule in favour of the batsmen. The free hit means that if the bowler oversteps, the batsman has an opportunity to play a big shot without any fear of being given out. The only possible way of getting out is a run-out. And worse, one run is already added to the batting team’s total (no ball).

Equipments: One of the ongoing issues that has sparked off a debate amongst experts being the size of the cricket bat. Bat widths seem to be growing year after year. The fact of the matter being if that can happen; then why can’t something be done to the 5 and a half ounce cherry. Why isn’t the ball made smaller/lighter? Why favour the batsmen?
The ICC is still to answer this.

Ground sizes: Grounds in South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand are too small in size thus leaving the bowlers with no margin for error.

One of the major reasons to this (batting friendly game) is the sponsors. Take for case Test cricket. The sponsors in order to fill in maximum commercial slots try and take the game to 5 days which doesn’t happen on a green wicket. The ICC needs to take heed of this and make cricket a contest between bat and ball and not a ‘video game’.


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