Author : Abhijit Dey
Following the recently concluded slog-fest of a series between India & Australia, apparently a disgruntled breed of cricketers (not batsmen or fielders) have written to the ICC hoping for some rule changes, to allow an even playing field when pitted against ever broadening bats in an ever shrinking universe (by that I mean the size of a cricket field).
Now, it is not known for certain as to who these people might be (my sources tell me they rhyme with “howlers”), or what traumatic childhoods have turned them into warped, miserable naysayers intent on ruining everybody’s fun. But there have been reports that their incessant grizzling has prompted the ICC to vote in favour of major alterations to the way the game is played.
Following consultation with players & officials alike, the new set of rules will be trialled in the next World Cup before the all important bilateral ODI series between India & the West Indies later in the same year. The following changes are to be implemented:
1) Flat belters are to be deemed unfit for play. Instead, vicious, unplayable greentops/dustbowls, where the keeper collects the ball at backward point due to the amount of outswing/spin, will be the norm.
2) Hopefully with the new ‘Can’t be hit for six off a full toss’ rule Vinay Kumar will evolve into a miserly death bowler by conceding less than 8 runs per over. While the ‘Can’t be hit for six off a full toss’ rule will come as a shot in the arm to India’s bowling, efforts have also been made to nullify their dominant batting line up. The ‘One Hand, One Bounce’ rule will apply, and should give fielders a greater chance when MS Dhoni is in full flow.
3) The ‘Six and Out’ rule will also cut down on runs haemorrhaged during the death overs. Notorious death bowler Ishant Sharma is being lined up to fully exploit the Six and Out rule. Additionally, fielding teams will need to be on their toes to run-out batsmen who are forced to take risky singles due to the ‘Hit and Run’ rule.
4) In the event of a batsman nicking one behind and not walking, the fielding side is entitled to demand an instant on-field lie-detector test to ensure that he is telling the truth. If it transpires that he has fibbed, he should be paraded around the boundary, booed & pelted with biscuits shaped like Stuart Broad’s face.
5) Should a batsman be caught in the crowd, he shall be deemed as out. He will also be declared out should the ball knock a beer out of someone’s hand in the crowd. Play will then be required to be temporarily suspended in order for the batsman to buy the fan another drink.
6) Invite Shiv Sena to dig up one side of the pitch just before the batting powerplay. For added effect, also allow Shahid Afridi one hearty chomp at the ball.
7) On field MRI scans to reveal the umpire’s inner thoughts while refusing close LBWs. Also, involve the crowd in video replay decisions by allowing them to adjudicate by audience poll.
8) Grant the fielding captain the option to play a ‘joker’ – which gives them the power to choose the next two batsmen to come in at the fall of the first wicket.
9) Introduce a powerplay in which the commentary – done by a team comprising of Sidhu, Ravi Shastri & Danny Morrison – is made audible to the entire ground while a man dressed in a Sreesanth costume dances in front of the sight screen.
10) Introduce another powerplay in which two bowlers are to run up from either side of the wicket with the underlying promise that only one will deliver the ball (promises are meant to be broken), all this while two cardboard cut-outs of Sreesanth are strategically placed, one at silly point & the other at short leg.
11) To give an added perspective to the phrase ‘Hands like Buckets’, slip fielders will be allowed to carry one bucket each to the field of play, which they can use to snaffle up catches that come their way, without needing to pull off any Mark Waughesque stunts.
12) All scores in excess of 350 will be counted in base 12 instead of decimal. So, a target of 352 immediately becomes a much more gettable 254.
13) Play will no longer be suspended in case of rain or streaking. In the case of rain, the bowler has to designate exactly what shot the batsman has to play in the first three balls of the over; in the case of streaking, the bowler has to designate exactly what shot the batsman has to play in the last three balls of the over. Any attempt to play what a majority of commentators judge to be a “hoick across the line” will result in the batsman being summarily executed & two runs deducted from the score.
14) Batsmen will be required to change into their slippers during the death overs in order to encourage bowlers to deliver yorkers.
15) Finally, the most radical of all changes is the decision to replace drinks with actual ‘drinks’. It will be required of all batsmen to finish his innings with a breathalyser score of 90 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. Should a batman register a lower reading, he will be docked 50% of his match fee & suspended for the next two matches. Additionally, DRS referrals to account for Hawk-Eye predictions of where the ball would have gone if the bowler had also been drunk.
Is there a cricket fan alive who would not like to see these developments in the game? It is baffling that the authorities have not implemented this yet. TRPs would shoot through all available roofs. Six and Out.