Why Cricket is getting more and more Batsman Friendly
Cricket, is a sport of bat and ball. It started close to 1877. But, in last few years, cricket is becoming more batting friendly.
As is visible in the image above, the number of 300+ scores in ODIs have increased. The number of innings per 300+ score has reduced to 6.2 from 16.1 in the last 9 years.
In the list of the top 10 highest chased totals, 7 have come in the last 8 years.
Due to this reason, it’s enjoyment is becoming less and less. Bowlers are not getting any help as well. Imagine, in football, there are 2 teams with a lot of difference in ability. One team is strong and the another team is weak. The strong team is scoring goals continuously. So, the match would not be exciting compared to the match with less goals. Likewise, the high scoring matches would not be as exciting as compared to low scoring matches. Today I will tell you what are the factors which are affecting the bowlers and making the game less enjoyable.
We can divide the factors in these groups:
Changes in Cricket rules that favour the batsmen
Under current ODI rules, there are three levels of fielding restrictions:
- In the first 10 overs of an innings (the mandatory powerplay), the fielding team may have at most two fielders outside the 30-yard circle.
- Between 11 and 40 overs four fielders will be allowed to field outside the 30-yard circle.
- In final 10 overs five fielders will be allowed to field outside the 30-yard circle.
These field restrictions are in favour of the batsman. To make equal rights, there should be a powerplay in which bowlers can set their own fielding without restrictions.
In cricket, a free hit is a delivery to a batsman in which the batsman cannot be dismissed by any methods other than run out, hit the ball twice and obstructing the field.
The free hit allows the batsman to hit without the fear of getting out by the most common methods (caught or leg before wicket or bowled etc.). The advantage is to the batting side. Also, if the ball hits the stumps, the batsman could steal single runs (a bye) because the ball is normally considered a dead ball. Another thing is that after the no-ball, in free hit there cannot be any changes in the field unless there is a change of striker.
This is also a reason that the bowlers are suffering a lot. Even if after an extra run of no-ball, the punishment is given to the bowlers. That is why, more runs are coming in these days and because of more runs, nowadays matches are not exciting.
Number of Bouncers
In 1991, the International Cricket Council (ICC) introduced a “one bouncer per batsman per over” rule in an attempt to discourage use of intimidation. … One Day International cricket allowed one bouncer per over in 2001 (and a one-run no-ball in case a bowler exceeded the limit).
This is another rule affecting the bowlers. If the batsman has the right to hit 6 sixes in an over, why should bowlers have the restriction to throw only 1 bouncer. They should also get the right to throw 6 bouncers in an over if they wish.
Fine Leg Restriction
There cannot be more than 2 fielders behind the square leg in any format.
In my opinion , there should be no limitation on the number of fielders in fine leg. As of today, the fielding side can put in only one fielder in fine leg. If the fielder is wide and batsman plays a fine shot, there is a four. And if they put a fielder fine, and the batsman plays a wide shot, then also there is a four. This is also one of the main reason for more runs.
2 New Balls From Both Ends
Tendulkar recently said, “Having 2 new balls in one day cricket is a perfect recipe for disaster as each ball is not given the time to get old enough to reverse. We haven’t seen reverse swing, an integral part of the death overs, for a long time,” Tendulkar tweeted from his official handle.
- Two new balls were introduced in ODI cricket in October 2011 — one from either end, and each ball is used for a maximum of 25 overs in an innings.
- This means the ball never gets old enough to aid reverse swing.
- It has also made life harder for spinners, who tend to prefer bowling with an older ball.
- A harder ball is also easier to score off in the last ten overs of the innings.
The biggest change since the two new-balls rule has been the increase of 300-plus totals.
This is also a reason cricket is batsman friendly. The bowlers didn’t get reverse swing because of less overs by a single ball. This is the reason more runs are came in last 10 years as compared to before 2011.
Bats were not always this shape. Before the 18th century bats tended to be shaped similarly to a modern hockey sticks.
Another reason of suffering of bowlers. There are no change in the ball since cricket has come and bat has changes like the width of bat is increasing day by day as technology. So, as my opinion there should changes in ball also. The bat making has improved and so the bats can now be much thicker without increase in the weight. This causes outside edges to go for sixes. Meanwhile, Ravi Ashwin recently shared in an interview that the seams have got flatter over the last 10 years, and the number of stitches have also reduced. This decreases seam movement.
The 2017 update to the Laws saw no changes to the maximum length of the bat, which is still 38 inches/96.52 cm, but a new specification stated that the edge of the bat cannot be more than 1.56 inches / 4cm while the depth cannot be more than 2.64 inches / 6.7cm. The umpires are now given a bat gauge so they can check the legality of the bat at any time. This is good news for the bowlers. However, there should be a rule for the material of the bats as well (type of wood).
Like many other sports, cricket players are required to wear protective gear in order to ensure their safety during the match. Batsmen usually wear an abdomen guard in order to protect themselves against the impact of the ball hitting the body. Leg pads are also worn by batsmen in order to protect the shins.
Additionally, a helmet (sometimes with a visor attached) is worn by batsmen in order to protect their heads from the incoming ball. Batsmen also wear special gloves. These are very thickly padded at the top of all five fingers, compared to the thinner wicket keeper gloves.
Now, the technology reason. Before 1980, there were no helmets. But now, there are helmets. This allows batsmen to play without fear, specially as the number of bouncers is also limited.
A 20-overs a side game with significant alterations, including fielding restrictions, batting and bowling powerplays, the “free-hit” after a no-ball for overstepping has become popular.
Again, one more rule for making cricket batsman friendly. the changing of formats is making overs less. Due to formats, the pitches are also made according to it. Also, as there are only 20 overs, the batsmen are less afraid to lose wickets. In my opinion, there should be no needless changing of formats.
Fast outfield means that when the batsman hits the ball for boundary and the ball beats the fielders and goes grounded very fast and fielder is not able to stop it easily before reaching the boundary.
Still, the batsman is getting advantages. the batsman just touches the ball and it goes to four due to fast outfield. Disadvantage for bowler. There should be slow outfield to make batsman take effort for hitting a four and the fielder stop the ball easily.
Flat and hard Pitches
The pitches are completely flat with no grass and no moisture. The grasses on this pitch are rolled down and each drop the moisture is taken away. These dark-colored pitches are heaven for batsmen as it has no help for bowlers.
When a flat pitch comes along, the batsmen get plenty of runs on it, but the bowling fails to keep up.
“I see flat pitches as a huge problem for the health of cricket,” -Justin Langer
The major problem for getting more and more runs nowadays. Flat pitches make absolutely no help for the bowlers. There is no much seam movement, no bounce. Only the ball on which the batsman can hit a boundary very easily.
The dimension doesn’t remain constant across the playing field, resulting in shorter boundaries. The ICC recently took some steps, such as limiting bat size and allowing an extra fielder outside the inner circle for the last 10 overs, to make limited-overs cricket more competitive.
cricket has always been a batsman’s game and with the advent of T20 cricket, it has just made the sport more inclined towards the batsman. Spectators are rather interested in watching high scoring matches as compared to low scoring ones.
As a result, the average size of the playing field has been limited to a meagre 65–70m from the centre of the pitch in most stadiums compared to 80–85m stadiums earlier. This has led to top edges and miss-hits going for sixes, teams scoring heavily during the middle overs, etc.
To back this argument with numbers, in the list of the top 10 highest chased totals, 7 have come in the last 8 years.
Another major reason for affection of bowlers in cricket. Why should cricket should have shorter boundaries? Before 2000, the end of the ground was regarded as a boundary. But after 2000, there were cones or ropes. This is not the problem. But the problem is that the cones have been coming close and close to the batsman, the stadiums are becoming small. So there would be shorter boundaries and as I told above, it leads to more and more sixes. That is why the ratio of boundaries is growing more and more by year.
There should be a balance in the rules. The rules should not favour batsmen all the time. An interesting cricket match can only happen if there is a good contest between the batsmen and bowlers and both can do well.