Sunday Star-Times

Bowlers let down by poor ODI rules


OPINION: Australia might be 2-0 down in the one-day series, but a possible plus is that game three will be at the SCG.

Their chances won’t improve necessaril­y due to a manic home town crowd distractin­g the visitors, or that the temperatur­e today will hover unBritishl­ike in the 40s, but because the Bulli soil of the SCG pitch might actually give the bowlers some sort of assistance in getting the ball off the straight (and narrow, ill-conceived rules that now frame white-ball cricket).

Australia have been out-batted in the first two games. Their bowlers have had neither swing nor seam nor spin to combat the aggressive strokes of a side well-equipped to thrive when they do not have lateral movement to counter.

In Melbourne, 300 played 300. That has become the standard storyline of 50-over cricket. Bugger the bowlers, let’s call wides that miss leg stump by a cigarette paper or pass a fraction above helmets, even though they are well within reach of a batsmen’s cut and hook. Who thought this stuff up?

Was it done to destroy limitedove­rs cricket as a contest, because that is what it’s done. In a piece of Orwellian reverse-engineerin­g, 50-over cricket has become an extended version of the Twenty20 game: same rules, same limitation­s.

Why are cricket’s ruling bodies promoting the shorter and shortest form of the game in the same way?

Surely the veteran version deserves its own niche that has a measure of gravitas above the new swaggering brat on the block?

The game has to stand up for its intrinsic value as an elite and entertaini­ng spectacle. It might start by restoring the balance between bat and ball, something that is not considered necessary in T20.

They could start with remodellin­g the essential ingredient – the ball. The seam that joins the two hemisphere­s on the modern white ball has retreated into Alice’s rabbit hole, which means neither swing in the air nor seam movement off the pitch are created.

The pitches in Australia and elsewhere are bland and accommodat­ing to run makers not wickettake­rs. Australia even left out wrist spinner Adam Zampa for the Brisbane game, arguably the main attacking weapon.

There is skill in swinging or spinning the ball, so how about those cricketers being given a chance to provide that contest? Are bowling heroes going to be limited to test cricket and then only after the pitch has cracked and dusted, or the grass is green and thick?

Bland pitches equal bland cricket, however you look at it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand