It rained fours and sixes. The batsmen made the most of the batting-friendly surfaces and offered us run-feasts. The curtains have drawn on yet another India versus Australia series offering the fans some moments to cherish and presenting the think tank of Team India conundrums to ponder upon.
The tournament was indeed a run-spree. It was value for money from a spectator’s point of view, something close to an outlandish dream for the batsmen and nothing short of a nightmare for the bowlers. A whopping total of 3274 runs (barring the rain-hit Ranchi ODI) were scored while the number of wickets to fall was 65. While 9 centuries were made, including a double century by Rohit Sharma, not even a single fifer was registered.
Cricket, being a contest between bat and ball, should ideally be offering both batsmen and bowlers equally opportunities. This is required to make any game of cricket an intriguing contest (a personal opinion). But as these stats reveal batting was the overall winner and that too by a huge margin. Bowling was trifled the size of a Goliath by a number of factors including the International Cricket Association’s revisions and pitch conditions, and batting assumed the gigantic proportions of that of a David. David has won and poor Goliath was not even in the hunt.
I am not trying to justify some of those wayward spells by bowlers from either sides nor am I trying to undermine the spectacular knocks played by the likes Rohit Sharma, Virat Kholi and Shikhar Dhawan and their Australian counterparts, but from purely a cricketing point of view these matches were heavily lopsided.
Fans are happy, so chill out?
Major stakeholders of the game, the millions of fans like you and I across India, whom the whole show is ran for, are happy. We ought be happy as long as India wins. We all want to imbibe the momentary sense of achievement but should we be blind to its bye-product, a pack of diffident bowlers, especially with a tough tour of South Africa lingering?
The confidence of Indian bowlers has surely taken a pounding. Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was quoted as saying that some of the bowlers asked him to replace them with bowling machine.
“It was more of a fight as to which side bowls less badly. With the extra fielder inside, if you are slightly off target, it goes for a boundary. A few of the bowlers are disappointed, they actually feel it will be better off to put a bowling machine there. It is a new challenge for the bowlers,” said Dhoni after the sixth ODI.
This revelation by the bowlers is sentimental to a certain degree but a closer examination of this would reveal to us the state of mind our bowlers are in. A deep-seated helplessness and futility is what this statement projects.
The selectors and the Indian team management have reiterated their confidence in our fast bowlers by retaining most of them in the Test squad for West Indies series. But they should do something (may be by offering them sporting wickets to ball at?) to instil some confidence back into our bowlers before the all important South African tour. The home series against West Indies is relevant in this regards apart from being the farewell tournament of one of our all time greats, Sachin Tendulkar.