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Helping bowlers in limited overs cricket

Recent measures aim to make modern day cricket less difficult for bowlers and batsmen

Helping bowlers in limited overs cricket

A recent article on a cricket website discussed measures that have been proposed to make modern day cricket less difficult for bowlers. The measures that have been suggested include limiting the size of the bat and adding a fourth stump.

Bigger bats that are in use in today’s cricket have made it very easy for the batsmen to hit fours and sixes. Perhaps the big size of the bat is the reason why many mis-hits manage to cross the boundary line (one of the four successive sixes hit by Carlos Braithwaite in the final over of the World T20 final against England was not middled).

There are some other suggestions as well to make the game less easy for batsmen.

In my opinion, a most helpful change for the bowlers could be eliminating the rule that a batsman is not out if the ball hits him outside the line of off stump even if it seems to be hitting the stumps.

Even more helpful for the bowlers could be doing away with the rule that a batsman cannot be given out lbw if the ball has been pitched outside the leg stump.

Some people argue that these would be drastic changes and that they would lead to a number of low-scoring games.

But in my view these changes would be less radical than the addition of a fourth stump which has also been proposed by some people. Changes to the lbw rules would mainly increase the number of lbws. But the addition of a fourth stump would increase the number of “bowled” dismissals and lbws as well as catches by the wicketkeeper and slips because batsmen would be afraid of leaving the ball.

On the other hand, the lbw rule changes would only counteract the fielding restrictions of limited overs cricket which force bowlers to bowl only at a few spots of the pitch and as a consequence they get hit a lot.

Within the ambit of the current rules, a large number of beautiful, artistic deliveries by pacers as well as spinners fail to get the batsmen out although the batters are completely clueless and the bowlers deserve to get wickets. Watch any cricket match and you will see a number of brilliant deliveries deceiving the batsmen, but failing to get wickets just because they were pitched outside the line of leg stump or hit the batsmen outside the line of off stump.

Moreover, changes to the lbw regime would simplify the work of the on-field umpires a lot and there would be fewer controversial decisions. These changes would also save a lot of time of the spectators as well as of the TV viewers who get fed up by the number of replays required to make a correct lbw decision.

The umpires would only have to decide whether the ball was going to hit the stumps. When the current complex rules are gone, people will enjoy watching cricket much more than they currently do. And the people who call this game tedious would be attracted.

Mushfiq Ahmad

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