So we saw another high scoring game on Wednesday between India and Australia. While India did manage to win, it makes me wonder how the new ODI rules are simply making bowlers irrelevant especially in India where the outfields are superfast, grounds smaller and pitches are a batting paradise. The entire game has been made very lopsided. Earlier, I used to think that the Indian bowlers have lost their mojo, but now I think it is just that they don’t stand a chance against these rules. Reverse swing is a crucial asset for a bowler, especially in dry conditions. But with the two new balls and ball change at 35 overs mark, that advantage has also been taken away. Meanwhile the batsmen have everything going for them. Broader bats, smaller grounds, one less fielder in the outfield – nothing to stop them. If we observe the changes that have been introduced in the game of one day cricket over the last 20 years – most of the changes have been made to make cricket more entertaining – whereby losing the aesthetic value of the game. First came the 15 over rule, which was then extended to 20 overs and has now been reduced to 15 overs again – where in 2 fielders and now 3 can remain outside the circle during this period. Earlier, you could have fielders anywhere and it wouldn’t matter. This gave rise to the batsmen like Jayasuriya, Kaluwitharna from Sri Lanka, Adam Gilchrist, Sachin Tendulkar – the list is endless. Not sure if the bowlers got anything in return. Then the smart men managing cricket decided to come up with a interesting change of allowing 2 bouncers in an over – while this did help bowlers to some extent. Bowling bouncers on Indian pitches is some kind of a joke as the ball sits up nicely to be hit. So the smart men thought.. what else can we do to make it more spicy – right lets now play with 2 new balls at either end and reduce one more fielder from the outfield. So that basically makes bowlers even more handicapped. The truth is – cricket grounds in India have been turned into a slaughter house for bowlers (ours and theirs).
I am not sure how many youngsters out there would really want to take up bowling. What role models do they have? There was Kapil Dev, Javagal Srinath, and Zaheer Khan. Who do we have now? I am sure no kid would want to look at Ishant Sharma and be like I want to bowl like him after seeing get whacked for 30 runs in an over. I believe the pitches in this country need to be changed drastically to ensure that our bowlers get a chance to perform, else the rules need to be changed. I completely agree with MSD that in these conditions the bowlers would prefer a bowling machine then them throwing the ball. There is nothing more awesome than seeing a fast bowler run charging in and send thunderbolts at the batsmen who is ducking, weaving, leaving good balls and punishing the bad ones. But when the good ones start going over and above the boundary rope very frequently, something needs to be changed or very soon we would have ODI’s being played as 4 innings T20 game and that would be a serious blow to cricket.