Several batting records have tumbled in recent weeks. Just a week ago, New Zealand recorded the highest ever total in women’s ODIs when they piled 490 runs for four in Ireland. Then England bettered their own all-time men’s ODI record when they scored 481 runs against Australia in Nottingham.
But while everyone is preoccupied with writing and rewriting the records, cricket experts have a different point to make.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly tweeted,
“To see almost 500 runs scored in 50 overs in England is scaring me, about the health of the game and where it’s going.”
Former Indian cricketer and legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar also pointed out the pitfalls of introducing the concept of two new balls in White Ball cricket.
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. #ENGvsAUS
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) June 21, 2018
James Anderson, England cricketer who no longer plays limited overs cricket, said while commentating for BBC Radio on Tuesday,
“I want to see a close game, a battle between bat and ball.”
Why are they concerned?
Although watching batsmen shattering records is enthralling, seeing the game of cricket becoming lopsided is worrisome.
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Australia was the first team to cross the 400-mark against South Africa in 2006 in a 50-over match and England’s total at Trent Bridge was the eighth occasion since 2015 when a team managed to cross the 400-run barrier.
What has led to a change?
England scored a record total of 334-4 during the opening match of World Cup 1975 when ODI used to be a 60-over affair. India in reply could only make 132-3.
But, the shape of the game has changed over the years. The advent of T20 cricket has given rise to an increased number of run-fests.
Likewise, rigid restrictions on field placings have also worked in favour of batsmen and against the bowlers.
But, one of the biggest factors of this change is the use of two white balls, one from each end, during an innings.
The white balls are the standard part of the limited overs game but they swing less than conventional red cricket balls, thus it becomes easy for batsmen to hit through the line.
Earlier, it was perceived that having two white balls in an inning would help the quick bowlers as it would ensure bounce from both ends.
However, it has come has impacted the game adversely as it reduces the wear and tear of the ball making the ball conducive to reverse bowling.