At last, I could stop feeling like Mr Creosote ...
The editor of Cricket Statistician analyses recent events
After two ODIs between England and India had produced 1,453 runs (and 42 sixes), I began to feel a bit like Monty Python’s glutton Mr Creosote. Just another waferthin mint, perhaps, just one more six from Virat Kohli…and to think there was a time when 250 looked like a decent score.
So the new ODI system is to swing from the hip like it’s T20 and on a totally batting-friendly pitch pick a team with at least nine capable batsmen (since it hardly matters who does the bowling anyway, they are all going to suffer).You can lose early wickets – as India did every time – and still post a huge score. What India might score if they could get off to a decent start is unimaginable.
But then we got to the third game. The scores were not much lower but the bat got beaten a few times and I have to say I would have loved to be in that crowd at Eden Gardens. And, of course, there was a tight finish. But all the same, we end up with a record run total for a three-match series, and every team innings over 300.
To a TV viewer, one big difference at Eden Gardens was the length of the boundaries. Kedhar Jadhav’s last heave over extra cover would have been another six on a smaller field and the result would have been different.
Now, of course, you could legislate for minimum boundaries, though this would mean that many smaller grounds were ruled out from holding ODIs, which in India in particular would be difficult as the practice is to pass ODIs out to lesser centres rather than hold them all at the main Test grounds. And to increase the length of the boundaries would substantially increase the area that fielders have to cover.
To state the obvious, fielding standards are very different from what they were and a larger playing area would make sense.
This (once again) is something that has happened in football. The size of the pitch is very variable and as players have got fitter and faster, clubs can shrink their pitches to suit their style.
The ICC is looking at bats and in particular their thickness as a way of limiting massive hitting, regarding mishit sixes as a particularly unlovely feature of modern cricket. The problem is that what looks unlovely in a ODI may look wonderful in the hyped-up atmosphere of the IPL or the BBL. It may be that the laws for the sponsored T20 tournaments may diverge further from those for the real game.
It could be seen as rather like the pre-War problem of superflat pitches in Australia, South Africa and the rest, leading to massive scores exacerbated by “timeless” Tests running for six, seven or eight days (though sometimes the run rate was very slow by modern standards).
In this case the War got in the way of pitch preparation.
Another six sails away: Virat Kohli hits out