Welcome to slam-bang show
Give Z security to bowlers, only way to protect them: Dhoni
Virat can break Sachin’s ODI records
Chanderpaul makes our job easier
Sports minister assures help to Jwala
Welcome to slam-bang show
Bangalore, October 31
The addition of the heft, though, is only to the batsmen. The bowlers have been put on a strict diet of just khichdi and water, given once a week. They’re enervated, starving, suffering. Then they’re asked to grapple with the gorilla batsmen.
This is exactly what the International Cricket Council wants. It’s bloody murder.
One single change in the ICC rules has blown the lid off the scoring on flat tracks and torn apart notions about big totals and chaseable targets in One-day cricket.
The ICC lists the rule change thus: “In a non-powerplay over only four fielders are allowed outside the 30 yard circle.” Rather bland, but it’s a decree to murder bowlers.
Powerplays must be completed by the 40th over; no more than four fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle in the last 10 overs. The batsmen, possessing more potent bats than ever before, are able to toy with the bowlers. These used to be called the slog overs earlier; they’ve now earned a more sinister name, ‘death overs’ — to connote the ending, or dying, part of an ODI innings. But they actually spell death for the bowlers.
This rule came into effect last year. India played eight ODIs at home in the previous season but 300 was passed only twice in those eight matches, because of two reasons. One, the wickets and conditions helped the bowlers in most of the venues — three ODIs were in the cold and dewy north, three in humid coastal cities, one in the damp Ranchi. It was in the lone warm central city, Rajkot, that both India and England passed 300. Two, the bowling quality of both Pakistan and England was better.
In this series, in the five matches so far, the team batting first has made 80, 122, 101, 57 and 99 runs in the final 10 overs. That’s a total of 459 runs, averaging 9.2 runs an over.
“I don’t know where it is going,” Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said after the win last night. “Is it good in the long run that we are seeing — for seven hours — only fours and sixes?”
Never before had India successfully chased targets over 330 before this October. Now they’ve done that twice, both times going in excess of 350, in the last fortnight. It’s no wonder that in four completed matches in this series, three times targets over 300 have been chased. The use of two new balls has killed off reverse swing. On flat Indian wickets, 350 could become the new 300.
The rule changes were introduced to “enhance the format”; more specifically, they emerged in reaction to Twenty20, which have undermined One-day cricket. ODIs are said to be under siege, fighting for relevance.
The ICC doesn’t permit a proliferation of international T20 matches; it limits the number of T20 matches in a bilateral series to three. Yet, right from its introduction and advent of franchise-based leagues, T20 has become the biggest source of revenue from domestic cricket for all cricket nations. The explosion in the popularity of T20 cricket, especially in the sport’s global financier India, can’t be ignored. T20 cricket threatens to devour One-day cricket because fans don’t like the relative inaction of ODIs. Even experts believe that ODIs go to sleep in the middle overs, overs 15 to 35.
One-day cricket, consequently, is being turned into a longer version of T20 cricket. That’s what the spectators, the consumers, seem to want; market forces are shaping ODI cricket.
Dhoni has expressed his unhappiness with the rule changes. As a killer batsman, he’d love these rules; but as a captain with very limited and diminishing bowling resources, he’s unhappy. His fast bowlers are slow, his spinners are losing their way. There’s no extraordinary bowling talent in the horizon. Dhoni doesn’t have the bowlers who could restrict the batsmen.
“I think the rules are something that we need to sit and think about if 350 is the new 280 or 290 or 300,” Dhoni said last night. “With the rule changes and everything, most of the bowlers are getting smashed with the extra fielder inside. Even the best of the bowlers, the fast bowlers, are bowling with third man and fine leg up.”
“I don't know what they want us to do,” Dhoni had said in Mohali before the match.
They certainly don’t want you, or anyone else, to dream of becoming a bowler, MSD.
Give Z security to bowlers, only way to protect them: Dhoni
Bangalore, October 31
After India beat Australia in the sixth ODI, Dhoni said that he was happy with the win, but less than delighted by the new ODI rules. Excerpts:
How would you rate the performances of your bowlers today?
It was more of a fight as to which side bowls less badly. With the extra fielder inside, if you are slightly off target, it goes for a boundary. A few of the bowlers are disappointed, they actually feel it will be better to put a bowling machine there. When you are captaining and a side has scored 300 or 325, you are not really used to it. All of a sudden you see that 15 overs are left, 220-230 have been made and the Powerplay is left. You are not really able to digest that feat because it’s not really natural. Three and a half hours of batting, the opposition is just hitting sixes and fours. On good flat wickets, with a bit of dew around, it becomes a bit unfair on the bowlers.
Are you happy or unhappy with your spinners’ performance?
It is difficult to actually say that this is a bad performance. We don’t know in this format what is a bad performance -- 10 overs 80 runs is a bad performance, or 10 overs 60 is bad, or 10 overs 100 is a bad performance? We are still trying to find out. We don’t know what is a bad performance for bowlers. First five overs, you may have given 10 or 15, in the next two you might give away 20 or 25. Is that a bad performance or a good performance? When you see only stats, it becomes difficult to determine as to whether it was a good performance or a bad performance.
You’ve said some bowlers feel that with such rules on, a bowling machine should be put up in ODIs. How are they coping?
I think that came up when we last chased a 350-score because the bowlers were not feeling good, they are not really used to getting hit for 350-odd. That was when someone said that let us put a bowling machine and let them do what they want to do. But as far as adapting to the new rules is concerned, they will take time. The reason being some of the wickets we play on are very flat and with this two new ball rule, at not every venue are you able to get reverse swing. When you don’t have reverse swing and also the dew factor, it is difficult to bowl yorkers. Not to forget that one extra fielder inside the 30-yard circle.
Are you able to protect even one side of the wicket?
I don’t know what I am doing because still the opposition is scoring 350-odd runs. But what needs to be done is with a particular kind of field set, we must force the batsman to improvise so much that he has to hit over the fielder. That’s our best opportunity. If you have an offspinner bowling and you have the point up, you should not give any runs through point. That’s what the spinners’ gameplan will be, pack one area and if there is some turn, bowl into the rough and let them hit over the fielder. Try more of that than looking to deceive the batsman, unless there is someone who has a brilliant doosra or a googly which is very difficult to pick.
What should be done to protect the bowlers?
Give them Z-level security. That’s the only way to protect them. What else can be done?
Did the spinners bowl badly (They gave away 242 runs in 34 overs)?
I don’t really know because we too chased down the target. They played a lot of big shots. Our spinners bowled well in spells but there was a phase when one over went for 10, which spoilt their analysis. But sometimes when you go for a big shot, you can also get out and then the whole scenario looks different. I think overall I would be quite happy that we chased down 350 but whether it was a bad performance, I don’t know.
As captain, what do you say to your bowlers when they suffer like this?
I think they are also getting used to it. If I don’t know what is a bad performance, they also don’t know what is a bad performance. But there’s one thing that I can always tell them -- either in T20 or in ODI cricket -- and that’s that whatever has happened till the last ball, don’t think about it. Whether it is a wicket or a big six over long-on, what’s important is what you are going to do with the next delivery. What we say is, forget about what has happened because it has already happened, it’s in your analysis, now look forward and look ahead.
Mumbai, October 31
Ishant, who has been taken to cleaners in the ongoing ODI series against Australia, has come in for scathing criticism due to his poor form and was even dropped from the last two matches of the ongoing series.
Zaheer, on the other hand, had made a case for his selection by picking up five wickets in Mumbai's Ranji Trophy opener against Haryana but the selectors thought otherwise and decided to stick to Ishant. The 35-year-old Zaheer has been out of the Test team since December last year owing to fitness and form issues.
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and batsman Suresh Raina were also dropped from the squad. But while Jadeja went out due to a shoulder strain, Raina had to make way for a fit-again Shikhar Dhawan, who has shown sparkling form in the ongoing ODIs after recovering from a hand injury, striking a hundred in the sixth ODI last night.
“Ravindra Jadeja has a shoulder strain. The physiotherapist of the Indian team has advised two weeks' rest for him, after the end of the ODI series against Australia, as a precautionary measure,” BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement after the selection committee meeting.
Pacer Umesh Yadav, who had been rested after the tri-series in the West Indies, made his way back to the side.
Also there was young pacer Mohammed Shami. The pace attack was, in fact, notably overhauled by the selectors with Ashok Dinda making way for 23-year-old Shami, for whom it would be his maiden Test series.—PTI
squad: MS Dhoni (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, R Ashwin, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma.
Let the job be handled by the selection committee. And there are so many other criteria. One bad performance or one or two bad overs does not mean that the player is not good. Still (the) team has got faith in Ishant and we are sure that he will definitely improve (on) whatever mistakes he has done.
New Delhi, October 31
In the 112 ODI innings he has played so far, Kohli has scored 4919 runs with 17 centuries while Tendulkar at the same number of innings had scored 4001 runs with eight tons.
At the rate the youngster is scoring centuries currently, Gavaskar said Kohli can break Tendulkar's record of 49 ODI hundreds.
“Records are meant to be broken. While we know that some of Tendulkar's records are well nigh impossible to be able to get like 200 Test matches, nor anybody can reach 51 Test hundreds.
“But the manner in which Virat is batting, the record for (Tendulkar's) 49 hundreds looks possible. Now Virat needs 32 more hundreds to go and the number of ODIs Indians play he can do it. This cricketing season itself, Virat can get to 20 or 22 hundreds,” Gavaskar told 'NDTV'.
In a span of just 15 days in the ongoing seven-match ODI series against Australia, Kohli smashed two of the three fastest hundreds by an Indian to help the home side level the series 2-2.
On October 16, he scored the fastest century by an Indian off just 52 balls in the second ODI against Australia before hitting the third fastest ton in 61 balls in the sixth ODI yesterday.
Asked if Kohli can take Tendulkar's place in the Indian team after the senior batsman retires next month, Gavaskar said, “I think Virat has been simply outstanding. If you compare the statistics with what Sachin had achieved after 115 ODI games, you'll find that Virat is well ahead. I think Sachin took around 80-odd ODIs to get his first hundred.” He said Kohli was fortunate to have played alongside greats such as Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and V V S Laxman early in his career.
“India is blessed to have somebody of the talent of Virat Kohli coming through. The fact that he has in his emerging years spent a lot of time with the likes of Sachin, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman and put that experience to good use on the field speaks very highly of this young man's cricketing intelligence. That is the key,” Gavaskar said.
“He reads the conditions and situation well, he knows the opposition well and that's the reason why he is scoring so consistently,” said the former captain. Kohli is the fastest Indian to score 4,000 ODI runs and he needs 81 runs in his next ODI innings to break Vivian Richards' record of being fastest to 5,000 ODI runs. — PTI
Kolkata, October 31
“He's someone very special. He means a lot to the team. We know what he brings to the table. We just want to wish him best of luck in the series,” Bravo said of Chanderpaul, who struck an unbeaten 91 to help his side post a commanding 333/4 against the UPCA in a three-day practice match, here.
Chanderpaul has already eclipsed Courtney Walsh as the most-capped West Indies player and would be eyeing his 150th Test cap in Mumbai, which will host legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar's 200th and last Test.
Bravo said West Indies players happily seek Chanderpaul's advice whenever they want and look to build their innings around him.
“He's the most experienced player in the side. Whenever a youngster or any player needs some sort of advice, you can go and ask him any question. He's happy to help. While batting also, he makes it easier at the other end. It's great to have him around. Hope to have him for a long time as well.” Bravo hit a fluent 61 in a 112-run second wicket stand with Kieran Powell and the former said he was happy to be back among runs in the longer version after an eye surgery six months back.
“To be honest, this was my first competitive game with the red ball since my eye surgery. I've not played any competitive games with red ball since my eye surgery. It was good to spend some time out there in the middle.
“I grew in confidence once I started hitting my shots. I hope it would be a special series for me and the whole West Indies team. Having said that, I want to make sure that my game is going in the right way before the first Test,” Bravo added. — PTI
New Delhi, October 31
In response to Petroleum Minister Moily's sternly-worded missive sent to him last week in support of Jwala, Jitendra, in a letter, dated October 26, said all possible assistance has been extended to the ace shuttler.
"I have asked my department to look into the matter and take quick action," Jitendra said in his letter to Moily. —PTI
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