Stop the slaughter, cricket can't become bat versus bat

Updated: 14 November 2013 15:18 IST

Cricket is a battle of bat against ball, one bat versus one ball. But the way the one day contest unfolded it become a bat against bat contest. The bowlers are peripheral, incidental, almost irrelevant, their role merely to turn up to get slaughtered.

Stop the slaughter, cricket can't become bat versus bat
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The one day series has been a cracking contest with batsmen lighting up games with spectacular hitting, putting up and chasing down massive scores. For batsmen in both teams this has been an extended Diwali, time for celebration.

But what is that has sparked such explosive batting, the complete destruction of bowling where forget bad balls, even good ones, are sent into orbit with ridiculous ease?

Admittedly, the tracks were totally batsmen friendly, they held no devils to frighten players who only needed to get into line to muscle the ball away. Yes, it is correct that batsmen growing up on a steady diet of T20 cricket are emboldened to embrace risk, are unfraid to go over the top even when fielders are straddling the boundary. And of course we all agree that on grounds with small boundaries, once the field restrictions come into play -- not more than four outside the ring -- the bowlers have to rely more on prayer and hope than anything else to keep runs in check.

In Bangalore the other night, Rohit Sharma exceeded 200 (only the third instance of a batsman reaching the landmark), 16 hits from his MRF stickered bats landed clear of the fence, the most ever in a one day innings. And Rohit Sharma is no Viv Richards, no Kieron Pollard, not even Yuvraj Singh.

Other records were also made in Bangalore. Rohit's teammate Vinay Kumar achieved the dubious distinction of scoring a hundred while sending down 9 overs. Maxwell bludgeoned to a rapid half century, Faulkner sped to the quickest hundred by an Australian batsmen. In the run feast from both sides more sixes were smashed than any other game in ODI history.

To some, this would be thrilling: batsmen punishing the bowler, the aggressive intent resulting in the batting maximum. After all, this is what spectators are supposed to want, this is the fuel that drives cricket's economics, this masala is fantastic for the cricket box office. Yet, there is something wrong about the carnage, somehow it does not sit well and hurts cricket's appeal as a sport that promises a compelling, even contest.

Cricket is a battle of bat against ball, one bat versus one ball. But the way the one day contest unfolded it become a bat against bat contest. The bowlers are peripheral, incidental, almost irrelevant, their role merely to turn up to get slaughtered.

It is a great feeling for India to triumph in such grand style and Diwali could not be brighter with batsmen releasing rockets. But it would be better if bowlers too could fight back, and throw up bombs instead of lollipops!

Topics : Cricket Sreesanth Rohit Sharma
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