Bowlers are people too

There's a need to redress the balance between bat and ball to make ODIs fair to bowlers.

Ishant Sharma

The shorter versions of cricket have turned out to be a burial ground for the bowlers. The laws have shifted the balance totally in favour of batsmen, making the traditional arts of swing, cut and change of pace quite irrelevant.

Ishant Sharma is one such example. His action brings the ball into the right-hander. This at times results in a wide when he gets appreciable movement.

Bowling for him becomes easier to a left-hander because it goes towards the batsmen’s off-side. Bowling to a right-hander, his natural flair is thereby restricted and he delivers the ball wide outside the off stump.

Similarly, spinners have to curtail their flight and turn from outside the leg stump to ensure that they are not penalised.

Seeing batsmen making runs is a wonderful sight, but for them to do so without a challenge has made the shorter version of the game less skillful. A smile on the face of a batsman when a bouncer flies well over his head must make a bowler cringe in anger.

The time has come for the ICC to make the game more balanced between bat and ball. They could start by going back to the earlier field restrictions and the most important one would be to allow the bowlers to go down the leg side.

The strict leg-side rule needs to be a little more relaxed. The umpire also should be more flexible in judging wides by considering the stance, shuffle and movement of the batsmen, at times even before the ball is bowled.

The reverse sweep is another shot that needs to be reviewed, as a bowler is compelled to bowl on the off side whereas the batsmen has the luxury of using both sides bringing into play a double-handed backhand.

A bowler presently needs to indicate from which hand he will deliver the ball and from which side of the wicket. The removal of this restriction could give the bowler the freedom to choose his option without the knowledge of the batsmen.

The umpire would then need to place himself appropriately. That could make it even game. The two newball rule should also be seriously looked at. One way to make it more acceptable could be to give the bowling side an option to change the ball after 25 overs.

This would then give them the flexibility to decide the course of action according to their strength. Presently it is a sad sight to see fast bowlers performing well within themselves, delivering slow bumpers, leg spin and other such variations.

A turning or a green wicket attracts a plethora of criticism. A pitch allowing high scores is praised because the spectators feel they have got money’s worth and the television channel is over the moon for getting the maximum mileage for their commercial deals.

Sport is supposed to bring the competitive spirit into play, if the competition is fair. The time has come for a change or else the game of limited-overs cricket will dwindle into a farce.

(The writer is a former Test cricketer)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

On-field action set to divert from off-field drama

On-field action set to divert from off-field drama

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Bench refuses to grant access to recordings of Srini and Dhoni’s depositions before Mudgal committee. More »

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

A fractured little finger could now throw the Delhi Daredevils captain out of action at the start of this season. More »

SMA Trophy gets short-changed

SMA Trophy gets short-changed

Key players are away preparing for the IPL, taking the shine off the other domestic T20 fixture. (CYCSPL) More »