West Indies in Bangladesh 2012-13 November 28, 2012

New fielding rules hard on spinners, captains

Kieron Pollard, the West Indians' stand-in captain for the warm-up game against BCB XI in Khulna, has said the new playing conditions for fielding restrictions in ODIs were challenging for bowlers and captains. West Indies and Bangladesh will be the third and fourth teams to experience the amended playing conditions when they begin the five-ODI series on November 30.

"It was very challenging," Pollard said, after winning the warm-up match with the new playing conditions. "The bowlers have to mind their Ps and Qs. They can't let it stray because there are not many guys outside [the circle].

"Having said that, the rules have been set and players have to just follow, so I think it is something that we have to get used to. I hope we can get the right combination and have the right tactics to counter the restrictions."

Under the new conditions, only two fielders will be allowed outside the 30-yard circle in the first ten overs, and three during the Powerplay. At other times, a maximum of four fielders can be placed outside the circle, a reduction from the earlier five.

The one-day series between Sri Lanka and New Zealand earlier this month was the first with the new restrictions and Mahela Jayawardene said they were harsh on the spinners. That sentiment was shared by left-arm spinner Enamul Haque jnr, who played for BCB XI against West Indians and Bangladesh, and had to bowl without that extra fielder outside the circle for the first time in his career. Enamul took 3 for 31 and 0 for 58 in those games.

"I think it is going to have a negative impact on Bangladesh's cricket on the international stage," Enamul told ESPNcricinfo. "We depend mainly on spinners but with this new rule it will become very difficult to cut out the runs. Today we conceded 12 boundaries from the one gap that couldn't be filled during those non-Powerplay overs. I think these extra runs will hurt the chances of Bangladesh because of the higher number of spinners we usually pick in limited-overs cricket."

The introduction of two new balls in one-day internationals was supposed to be a disadvantage for bowling attacks like that of Bangladesh, which depend heavily on spin, but Enamul said it wasn't as damaging as the new fielding restrictions.

"Spinners have been more adaptable to the new balls than the fielding restrictions. What this new rule does is it takes out the security of an extra man in the deep," he said. "The only thing to do is bowl as straight as possible and to think about using variations with a lot of accuracy. Otherwise runs will be leaked."

Pollard said the powerful batsmen in the West Indies line-up will enjoy the larger gaps in the outfield, but cautioned against playing over-ambitious shots. "It can be good and bad," he said. "If you want to hit the ball outside, being too eager because of the four fielders, you can still find one of them. We have a lot of power-hitters so clearing the boundary and the ball falling in gaps is important for us. Hopefully we can capitalise on it until there's any further changes.

"I think captains will have a hard job in setting the fields and bowlers will have an even tougher job trying to restrict the batsmen. You'll see a lot more 300-run games in place of the 270-280 games because of that extra guy inside."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

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