Over the years cricket has predominately become a batman’s game. Gone are the days when bowlers like Michael Holding and Joel Garner could intimidate the batsmen with a mere sight instead, in today’s modern day cricket it’s batsmen like AB de Villiers and Brendon McCullum that strike fear in the hearts of bowlers across the world. The recently concluded ICC world cup 2015 was a prime example of how the batsmen dominate the game of cricket today. During the world cup more centuries were scored than in any other edition and the 300 and 400 run mark was crossed in almost every game. Under such circumstances it was important to change some of the rules in order to maintain the balance between bat and ball. Thus ICC introduced new laws for one day cricket allowing five fielders outside the thirty yard circle in the last 10 overs and getting rid of the batting power play in order to give the bowlers some breathing space. As part of these new rules free hits were to be awarded for all types of no balls. Even though bowlers are the ones who were going to get the benefit of these rules the balance is still in the favor of the batsman and here are few reasons why.
The two new balls in ODI
In 2011 ICC announced that two new balls will be used by the fielding team from each end in one day cricket. While many people argued that this was done in order to make sure that bowlers got more help from the new ball, the actual result of this rule was that it effectively lessened the effect of reverse swing, something that is considered by many cricket pundits as the most potent weapon of a fast bowler, later in the innings,. In the past bowlers like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Zaheer Khan could completely take the game away from the batsman due their ability to reverse the cricket bowl. Since the two new balls have been introduced it has been a common trend for the bating sides to score more than 100 runs in the last 10 overs. A lot of that is because it has become difficult for the bowlers to utilize reverse swing to its full effect. Reverse swing is an art that has been appreciated by cricket fans and lack of reverse swing has given batsmen an unfair advantage because of which sometimes when a batsman is attacking a bowler in the last few overs it feels like there is nothing the bowler can do.
The Crackdown on off Spinners
In the last year and half a lot of off spinners have been suspended due to suspicious actions. The list includes some big names like Saeed Ajmal and Sunil Narine and while most of the cricket fraternity believes this has been done for the better of the game and in order to eliminate chucking, in a lot of ways this has been proven to be beneficial for the batsman. You see Saeed Ajmal and Sunil Narine are bowlers who have dominated the batsman in one day cricket for the last three years due to their variations and asking these bowlers to remodel their bowling action has made them less effective as they are unable to utilize their variations to full effect. ICC should consider an increase in the bend limit from 15 degrees for bowlers who can bowl the Doosra as suggested by former cricketer and current commentator Rameez Raja. Doosra is an art that has long troubled the batsman and something that ICC has always been skeptical about. With their new laws regarding a bowler’s action ICC has asked some of the most dominating spinners in the world to remodel their actions making them less effective and dangerous for the batsman.
Type of Pitches
Most cricket fans would know that subcontinent conditions are the most batting friendly conditions in the world. On the other hand England conditions are considered by many to be bowling friendly where as Australia is host to some of the fastest and bouncy tracks in the world. While the conditions in subcontinent have largely remained the same, conditions in other parts of the world have increasingly become batting friendly. The world cup 2015 took place in Australia and New Zealand conditions which are historically not considered the most batting friendly and yet in most games pitches were batting friendly resulting in a lot of runs being scored. Furthermore in the recent ODI series between New Zealand and England the series run rate was almost 7.15, the best ever in an ODI series/ tournament of two or more games in conditions which are historically considered bowling friendly. In order to maintain the balance between bat and ball ICC needs to make pitches that offer some help to the bowlers rather than making standardized pitches in all parts of the world.
So in conclusion it has to be said that the batsmen are still at an advantage in the game of cricket and in order to maintain the balance between bat and ball ICC needs to reevaluate its rules and policies regarding the above mentioned issues. There are also other factors that ICC needs to evaluate like the bat and boundary sizes. It is understandable that games with high scores attract more people but ICC also needs to consider the fact that the best match of the world cup was the pool match between New Zealand and Australia which was a low scoring thriller. Furthermore fans of the game always enjoy a good contest between bat and ball and according to many fans the best portion of the world cup was the spell of Wahab Riaz against Shane Watson because it was a fantastic contest between bat and ball.