October 5, 2011

Spinners and reverse-swingers under threat

The latest rule changes in ODIs are unlikely to inject excitement into the format. How well the Powerplay tweaks work will depend on a team's strength, and two new balls will handicap plenty of bowlers
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When Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, a one-time editor of Le Figaro, wrote Les Guêpes (The Wasps) in 1849, it included the memorable epigram: "The more things change, the more they stay the same." Look at the world around you and you could say that about a lot of things and people. Not about one-day cricket, though.

All sports evolve. Fitness levels change. Players become more athletic. Tactics are refined. Professionalism alters focus. Despite all that, the football that Lionel Messi and Barcelona play in 2011 is still comparable to that which Pele and friends played on their way to Brazil's first World Cup win in 1958. A doughty Rahul Dravid century in overcast English conditions can still evoke memories of Ken Barrington and other stalwarts of the black-and-white age.

But with one-day cricket, all comparisons fail. Consider the first Gillette Cup final, between Sussex and Worcestershire just over 48 years ago. In a game where both sides had 65 overs, Sussex were bowled out for 168 with 28 balls remaining. In fading light, Worcestershire fell 14 short. Their run rate was 2.43, which would be considered tardy in modern Tests.

Eight years later Australia and England played the first one-day international, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after the first Test of the Ashes was washed out. John Edrich made the first half-century, 82 off 119 balls, but Australia chased down 191 with 5.2 of the 40 eight-ball overs remaining. Ian Chappell, who made 60 from 103 balls, struck the only six of the game. There were 24 fours during the course of the day. Nearly four decades later, as he made the first double-century in the format, Sachin Tendulkar hit 25 fours and three sixes.

It could be argued that very little changed in one-day cricket till it turned 20. Teams learnt to up the ante, but the start of an innings was usually no different from that of a Test match, with shouldered arms and maiden overs commonplace. After Mike Brearley put most of his men on the boundary in a World Series game in Australia in the early 1980s, fielding restrictions came into the picture, but by and large coloured clothes and white balls only served to enhance the spectacle for television.

Things changed with the restriction in the number of fielders allowed outside the circle in the first 15 overs. The 1992 and 1996 World Cups saw most teams experiment with the pinch-hitter who could clear the infield and make the most of the overs bowled with the new ball. Innovative captains like Martin Crowe tried to surmount that by taking the pace off the ball, using the likes of Dipak Patel to bowl first.

In the two decades since, we've seen many more tweaks, including the Super Sub rule, which was quietly binned after 2005-06. While the flaws in that were quickly recognised, Powerplays injected more urgency to proceedings, giving teams as many as 20 overs to capitalise on the fielders being in the ring.

The latest changes are the most significant yet, and will force most teams to drastically reassess strategies. In recent times most teams have taken their bowling Powerplay right after the mandatory ten-over one at the start of the innings. Batting sides left their Powerplay till the very last, with the exception of those teams that preferred to target the ball changed after 34 overs.

It's curious that the one change that would make the most difference hasn't been considered. Back when the Gillette Cup started, each bowler was allowed as many as 15 overs. Even now, the easiest way to end the bat's reign would be to allow at least two bowlers to bowl on beyond the 10-over limit

The latest change in the rules forces teams to take the batting and bowling Powerplays between the 16th and 40th overs - the period of the game when batsmen often retreat into steady accumulation mode and bowlers focus merely on containment. The intent is to inject some storm into the calm, but whether it works will depend entirely on the personnel available to each team.

Powerful batting sides changed tack a while ago anyway. When you have six men capable of effortlessly clearing the rope in your line-up, the drip-drip approach is not really for you. During the 2007 World Cup, Australia and South Africa played out a memorable match in Basseterre, St Kitts. Australia scored 106 for 1 in their first 15 overs. Between overs 16 and 40 they added a further 182. The run rate didn't dip, it went up.

When India crossed 400 against South Africa in Gwalior last year, the Tendulkar-200 game, it was the same story. The first 15 overs saw India make 100 for 1. In the next 25, they pummelled 186. There was no hint of the handbrake, just full throttle.

The mandatory ball change after 34 overs clearly impacted the bowling side, with only a tiny window possible for reverse swing, and that too usually only on abrasive pitches in the subcontinent. Now, with a new ball to be used from both ends, fielding captains may not be able to call on reverse swing at all, unless teams can figure out how to make the white ball go Irish as quickly as Zaheer Khan did the red one in Mohali in October 2008.

The use of two balls could also handicap teams that rely on spin. The slow bowlers have usually been employed between overs 16 and 40, with the odd exception like Saeed Ajmal trusted even at the end of an innings. Now, with two Powerplays in that period and a ball that will hardly be scuffed, spinners face their most significant challenge since Shane Warne, Anil Kumble and Muttiah Muralitharan revived the craft.

The ball staying hard will undoubtedly help the strokeplayers, and also bowlers artful enough to use the seam. There will be some spinners who prefer to bowl with a harder ball under lights, rather than a beat-up one that feels like a bar of soap.

It's curious, though, that the one change that would make the most difference hasn't been considered. Back when the Gillette Cup started, each bowler was allowed as many as 15 overs. Norman Gifford and Antony Buss bowled their full quota in that first final. Even now, the easiest way to end the bat's reign, especially in the subcontinent, would be to allow at least two bowlers to bowl on beyond the ten-over limit.

The sight of a part-timer being walloped for six is not edifying, and it is one of the prime reasons why limited-overs cricket is considered a "lesser" form of the game. Cease giving batsmen such freebies, and a format that's had more obituaries written for it than we can count may yet summon up an Indian summer.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • PiyushD on October 7, 2011, 10:34 GMT

    Fully agre with the author, ICC is hell bent on killing cricket 2 new ball rule is absurd , if you really want freshness in the ODI better do some meaningfull changes that are visible.

  • SumitG on October 7, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    I believe there is a little bit of 'Astro-turf' mentality in this kind of decision. Astro-turf was introduced in hockey which ended in making it a game more of speed game , of long passes , instead of dribbling skills . Which suited most european teams .

    Now this is done in cricket , which means spinners have a lesser role to play with a similar mentality going in. But cricket is not hockey, and Sub continent teams will still be the one day leaders

  • on October 7, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    (Contd)The ICC spends damn lot of money to make Cricket popular in Non-Cricketing countries.But when the ppl there see today's Cricket,they think its a game of Grandpas.Ironically,TEST CRICKET is the ''toughest'' CRICKET.See the WI & AUS of 80s & 90s or for that matter YOUTUBE the FLINTOFF spell to Kallis at EDGBASTON(2008).Thta's the kind of sport we fell in love with & that's the sport that everyone(even the AMERICANS & CHINESE) will take to.The world doesn't want a short duration sport,it just wants an Interseting sport.

  • on October 7, 2011, 8:16 GMT

    I tell u what the problem with today's Cricket is.You are on the verge of making it a DECEIVER's game.The spinner deceives by NOT turning the ball & bowling fast.The pacer deceives by NOT bowling fast.So they bowl five slowers an over.Batsman deceives by playing SCOOPS & SWITCH HITs.And all this happens pretty regularly.You spoiled the game in the 90s,by mking it a less athletic & physical sport,contrary to what the writer mentions.Now the FAST Bowlers don't run and bowl fast.Batsmen don't run coz they deal in boundaries.Feilders don't have to run because they stand within the CIRCLE,from where you either give up chasing the ball assuming the shot will go for a four or get it straight in your hands.Consequently,the batsmen also don't have to run TWOs & THREEs. Cricket becomes interesting the moment it gets TOUGH.And that's why you loved the HOLDINGs,LARWOODs,GARNERs,RICHARDs & FLINTOFFs(Not the MUNAFS,PRAVEENs & SAMMYs).Just do away with the powerplays and make it interesting to all..

  • on October 7, 2011, 2:28 GMT

    2 balls... makes sense for a gentleman's game..

  • SixoverSlips on October 6, 2011, 22:43 GMT

    I agree. Not sure 2 new balls from either end is the right way to go about for ball discolouration. Why not produce balls that don't discolour? May be change the material inside so that it does not get scruffed up with green or doesn't lose the white tint?

  • on October 6, 2011, 14:14 GMT

    I see most sides going in with 4 seamers for every match not for reverse swing but to use the new ball more effectively. Spinners are going to die out!

  • on October 6, 2011, 10:29 GMT

    This will lead to an increase in ball tampering, by the players who have grown up swinging the ball, and don't want to relearn their game.

  • deepak_sholapurkar on October 6, 2011, 9:06 GMT

    To faster the death of one day cricket ICC can make few more changes

    1)Remove the seam from the Ball, so that Swing/Spin/Movement of the pitch every thing will go out So that more runs can be stored.

    2)All the 50 overs will be power play, and the batting team will have the control on placing the filders.

  • on October 6, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    one thing is per sure. modren rules will provok young generation to like becoming batsmen but i think reverse swing is not on stake. beacuse two masters of swing waqar and wasim have given a life to this art and still youngsters in sub continents specialy in pak would want to bowl like them and craze of fast bowling will stay alive. cortsy these two swing kings

  • PiyushD on October 7, 2011, 10:34 GMT

    Fully agre with the author, ICC is hell bent on killing cricket 2 new ball rule is absurd , if you really want freshness in the ODI better do some meaningfull changes that are visible.

  • SumitG on October 7, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    I believe there is a little bit of 'Astro-turf' mentality in this kind of decision. Astro-turf was introduced in hockey which ended in making it a game more of speed game , of long passes , instead of dribbling skills . Which suited most european teams .

    Now this is done in cricket , which means spinners have a lesser role to play with a similar mentality going in. But cricket is not hockey, and Sub continent teams will still be the one day leaders

  • on October 7, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    (Contd)The ICC spends damn lot of money to make Cricket popular in Non-Cricketing countries.But when the ppl there see today's Cricket,they think its a game of Grandpas.Ironically,TEST CRICKET is the ''toughest'' CRICKET.See the WI & AUS of 80s & 90s or for that matter YOUTUBE the FLINTOFF spell to Kallis at EDGBASTON(2008).Thta's the kind of sport we fell in love with & that's the sport that everyone(even the AMERICANS & CHINESE) will take to.The world doesn't want a short duration sport,it just wants an Interseting sport.

  • on October 7, 2011, 8:16 GMT

    I tell u what the problem with today's Cricket is.You are on the verge of making it a DECEIVER's game.The spinner deceives by NOT turning the ball & bowling fast.The pacer deceives by NOT bowling fast.So they bowl five slowers an over.Batsman deceives by playing SCOOPS & SWITCH HITs.And all this happens pretty regularly.You spoiled the game in the 90s,by mking it a less athletic & physical sport,contrary to what the writer mentions.Now the FAST Bowlers don't run and bowl fast.Batsmen don't run coz they deal in boundaries.Feilders don't have to run because they stand within the CIRCLE,from where you either give up chasing the ball assuming the shot will go for a four or get it straight in your hands.Consequently,the batsmen also don't have to run TWOs & THREEs. Cricket becomes interesting the moment it gets TOUGH.And that's why you loved the HOLDINGs,LARWOODs,GARNERs,RICHARDs & FLINTOFFs(Not the MUNAFS,PRAVEENs & SAMMYs).Just do away with the powerplays and make it interesting to all..

  • on October 7, 2011, 2:28 GMT

    2 balls... makes sense for a gentleman's game..

  • SixoverSlips on October 6, 2011, 22:43 GMT

    I agree. Not sure 2 new balls from either end is the right way to go about for ball discolouration. Why not produce balls that don't discolour? May be change the material inside so that it does not get scruffed up with green or doesn't lose the white tint?

  • on October 6, 2011, 14:14 GMT

    I see most sides going in with 4 seamers for every match not for reverse swing but to use the new ball more effectively. Spinners are going to die out!

  • on October 6, 2011, 10:29 GMT

    This will lead to an increase in ball tampering, by the players who have grown up swinging the ball, and don't want to relearn their game.

  • deepak_sholapurkar on October 6, 2011, 9:06 GMT

    To faster the death of one day cricket ICC can make few more changes

    1)Remove the seam from the Ball, so that Swing/Spin/Movement of the pitch every thing will go out So that more runs can be stored.

    2)All the 50 overs will be power play, and the batting team will have the control on placing the filders.

  • on October 6, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    one thing is per sure. modren rules will provok young generation to like becoming batsmen but i think reverse swing is not on stake. beacuse two masters of swing waqar and wasim have given a life to this art and still youngsters in sub continents specialy in pak would want to bowl like them and craze of fast bowling will stay alive. cortsy these two swing kings

  • on October 6, 2011, 3:52 GMT

    obviously when there is compulsion to take powerplays (especially batting), the players should adapt to the situation and will have to adjust their stroke plays. ODIs are insipid in lack of powerplays and when there are two powerplays within 16-40 overs, it should obviously add excitement in ODIs.

  • wittgenstein on October 6, 2011, 3:31 GMT

    A white ball that lasts without discoloration for a full Test innings has now been developed. It is undergoing some field trials, and should be ready soon. The problem discussed in this article will soon cease to exist.

  • johnathonjosephs on October 6, 2011, 1:44 GMT

    James Badge Wing, well said. You hit it on spot on.

  • johnathonjosephs on October 6, 2011, 1:42 GMT

    The way I see this, technology increased the batsman strength by making great bats. Something mus be compensated for the bowlers and the ICC did the opposite of that. Putting an extra powerplay for the batsman? Making the death overs even harder for the bowlers? Then they made the "free hit" rule, making life even harder for bowlers.The author of this piece is greatly mistaken in his arguments for the reverse swingers. With the white ball (a cheaper ball than the red one) the ball degrades faster.While the Red Ball lasts a good 80-90 overs, the white ball lasts around 40-50 overs. In the old days, during the 50 over game, the white ball did all kinds of things in the end, making the death overs extremely difficult for the batting side. Since the white ball lasts less, many bowlers can get reverse swing halfway through the game. The New ball benefits fast bowlers instead of hindering them. I think an additional rule should be brought up though.. How about allowing 2 bouncers in an over?

  • on October 6, 2011, 1:25 GMT

    can anyone tell me the two ball rule clearly.....plss

  • Nerk on October 5, 2011, 23:23 GMT

    The I.C.C. has an interesting attitude to ODIs. "Lets keep changing the rules. Eventually we'll come up with ones that will make the game more exciting." What hasn't occured to them is that perhaps if we had less quantity of ODIs. None of these superfluous 7 match series for no other reason than to make money. When they do that, ODIs will become special once more, and more interesting as a result. Quality, not quantity. And rule changes don't help, they just make things more confusing.

  • Meety on October 5, 2011, 22:24 GMT

    I think its a fallacy that the ball WON'T reverse with the new ball rules. I've seen many instances where a ball after about 12 overs can reverse. Also - given the numerous occasions we now see spinners opening the bowling, I don't think this will hurt spinners, rather it will mean the D Hussey style spinners may struggle, whereas the Vettori/Swann's will be business as usual. == == == What people MAY see is that GOOD seamers will do better, in Oz the trend was for lower scoring matches under the 2 ball condition. Sides could defend 140 runs in some matches, they were Test Match-like quality matches, (IMO)!

  • landl47 on October 5, 2011, 22:21 GMT

    ODI cricket has transformed the game, in a good way. I grew up in the 1950s and 60s, when the first-class game was played at a funereal pace. ODI cricket forced batsmen to learn to score faster and fielders to become more athletic. Bowlers adapted and one of the more surprising adaptations was that slow bowling was often more effective than extreme pace. It's interesting to watch young bowlers like Dernbach and Cummins- they bowl almost as many slower balls as fast balls, though both are capable of bowling over 90mph. Players will adapt to these new changes. Interestingly, I think both bowling and batting sides have realized that the 2nd and 3rd powerplay are actually good for the fielding side, which is why the fielding side takes the PP immediately and the batting side delays as long as possible. ODIs help players to expand and reinforce their techniques. T20s, unfortunately, have the opposite effect, because only slogging and defensive bowling succeed in that format.

  • tradetekbiz on October 5, 2011, 19:35 GMT

    Spin bowling is an art and a way of survival, the fittest will survive and the lesser of kind will be kicked out like harbhajan, that's life. But one thing I must point out that I'm getting kinda sick of is cricinfo writers putting kumble in the same category as shane warne and muralitharan, enough is enough, if numbers don't speak for themselves (which they should), look at what each has done for the game or their impact on it.

  • Leggie on October 5, 2011, 19:31 GMT

    One minor change to the rule could be that after 32 overs, the bowling team can at a certain point in time decide to use only one ball. This would mean that after having been used for 16 overs each (ie. each of the balls), there would still be 18 more overs of life left in it - considering that a white ball's life is 34 overs. So in essence, two balls would be used (as always), but the new twist it brings in is that just like a batting powerplay, the bowling team also can make a choice that is most likely to suit them. The spinners then would probably become very effective towards the 40th over and slogging at will cannot be taken for granted. YES, the one rule that must definitely change is the quota on bowlers. The overs must be split between 4 bowlers and that's the only way some balance can be brought in.

  • bilalabdullah on October 5, 2011, 15:58 GMT

    there is a saying when people used nets to trap the fish the fish seldom learned jumping. so what ever changes are made in rules as you accepted yje plaayers will come good!!!!!

  • on October 5, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    spinners becoming lesss effective, west indies shud b feelin good then

  • addiemanav on October 5, 2011, 12:48 GMT

    I am not sure if this new rule will really reduce the batting advtg in ODIs!the ind-eng series in which this experiment will be done,it will be disadvantage to bowling side,bcoz the flat tracks wont give anything to fast bowlers & the spinners also wont get much!not everyone is capable of reversing the ball in15-16th over!on the other hand in a place like NZ bowlers will be able to toy with batsmen for almost 40 overs! Powerplays restrict fielders in the outfield.why not have a set of 5 overs to probably reduce the batting team's advtg,and allow 'NO RESTRICTION' for those 5 overs?it will be interesting how a captain decides to place his fielders anywhere in the field when he has that luxury..maybe 3 fielders between leg umpire and wkt-keeper!!also increase quota of overs for 2 bowlers to 12 overs!!

  • Allan716 on October 5, 2011, 12:35 GMT

    The use of two ball is fine. The 1992 World Cup was an equal contest between bat and ball and was one of the best World Cups to date in the coloured clothing era, the next being the 1999 World Cup in England. The two balls made it tougher for the batsmen and the innovations by captains like Martin Crowe made the game exciting. Reverse swing is only a phenomenon that works well in the sub continent yet there are tons of runs scored there. Chasing 300 plus scores is now the norm. The two new balls will add some equality and test the batsmen's capabilty. Another thing to factor now is the bats. They are just too strong for the ball. There are so many innovations made with the bat these days and the size of the meat is just too much. Even a medicore batsman can flick the ball for a six. So where is the skill in batting? More focus should be placed on standardizing bat thickness or developing better quality balls that offer more of a challenge. Two Balls get a Thumbs Up From Me!

  • VEXXZ on October 5, 2011, 12:16 GMT

    How much more does the Batsmen need ? . The Bowlers are always the one to SUFFER in the short version of the cricket game .

  • Bilal_Choudry on October 5, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    pakistan is the only team that can take the game away from other team between 20 to 40 overs because of the best spinners

  • DieselsDonz on October 5, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    In the 2010/11 Australian Domestic Season, 4 bowlers were allowed to bowl the allocation of 45. As well, new balls were used at either end. As Tasmania (who finished second) demonstrated, spin was even more effective at the start of the innings than in the 16-40 period. Jason Krejza and Xavier Doherty both opened the bowling at different stages of the season, and both picked up early wickets and restricted the opposition. The 2 new ball theory also meant that teams opted to bring in a more solid, arguably slower batsmen at 3 to counter early movement. Essentially, this meant a return to the old days of a player batting time, and picking up 1's and 2's, instead of boundary bashing before accelerating at the end. This actually lead to higher totals, because nos 5-8 had a platform that they could accelerate from. Interestingly, the increase in the overs per bowler did little to cap the scores by the end of the season. Initially this was the case, but like all teams, they adjusted.

  • GlobalCricketLover on October 5, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    I agree with @wajidjawaid that increasing the quota of overs would only make teams packing more batsmen. I would actually go the other way and recommend that there should be a 'minimum' overs (say 8 or 9) to be bowled by 5 bowlers unless a bowler gets injured. Right now most defensive teams come with just 4 bowlers and 'try to make up' for 5th bowler, which is disgraceful. This is making the teams looking for batsmen who can bowl an over or two instead of looking for 5 genuine bowlers. By forcing a min no. of overs you are forcing teams to come to the ground with bowlers who are good enough to play in the side purely as a bowler. What do you guys think?

  • D.Nagarajan on October 5, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    To use two new balls makes a lot of sense,especially for the games outside the subcontinent, thats how D/N ODI's used to be, remember how tough run making was and how bowlers dominated in the WCC in 1985 that India won, the matches were wonderful to watch because the batsman had to have at least some skill and the new ball used to be respected and not some part timer bowling off two step run up to block run making , there used to be slips and the bowlers could take wickets, cricket is better when its an equal battle, I hope the next World cup in Australia will be the bowlers world cup, anything is better than cheap runs. But ICC needs to do away with field restrictions completely, then it will be truly strategic. Powerplays is pure nonsense.

  • on October 5, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    What I'd like to see is rule changes that allow and encourage fielding captains to exploit batsmen's weaknesses to get them out rather than simply containing them. For instance Raina is a very successful limited overs bastman but is rubbish when faced with a packed close field and fast, short pitched bowling in a test. Why is he not faced with this in ODIs?

  • mangloor on October 5, 2011, 9:07 GMT

    The beauty of game is destroyed by the ICC. First they disallow bouncers in one day then allowed one bouncer in game. The side effect of this new rule is that every playing nation prepare pitches on their strength. A team with two quality spinners and lot more in channel and two three good reverse swing bowlers now what ICC expect from these nation. I cant understand why ICC wanted to destroy the beauty of game. No one which i know personally who watch live games of Test and one days. Every one is interested in T20 and ICC is responsible for this.

  • Rahul_78 on October 5, 2011, 8:15 GMT

    ICC needs to be praised for ones. Using 2 balls in the ODI game is really an interesting change. If anything both ballers and batsmen will relish it in both format of the game. A hard ball is good for the strokemakers and with its shine and seam it will assist good quality fast ballers. I have seen some reversing the ball in 16th and 17th over of a T20 so real skillful exponenet of reverse swing art like Umer gul and Zaheer will still be able to extract reverse swing and that too between 40 to 50th over which will be really exciting to see. Also ballers like Steyn and Morkel will love to have new balls from both end in Eng, Aus and SAF. Spin balling has evolved over the year and new breed of unorthodox spinners have learned to ball with hard new ball thanks to T20 cricket. All the new rules will contribute to make the game more exciting.If only they will allow 2 bouncers during power play overs it will help to restore the balance between ball and bat for 20 power play overs.

  • wajidjawaid on October 5, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    I disagree that 2 bowlers should be allowed to bowl more than 10 overs. That will encourage teams to play with 4 bowlers and pack the side with batting, a negative move. That will also cause disadvantage to the sides who do play with 5 bowlers (including an all-rounder mostly), a positive move.

  • on October 5, 2011, 6:38 GMT

    I agree that something must be done to stop the imbalance of the game towards the batsman. However as pointed out this new rule seems poorly thought out as while it may benefit fast bowlers and conventional swing it is detrimental to spinners and reverse swing. This has the danger of making it easier to bowl in places suited to conventional swing e.g. England, new Zealand etc; but even harder to bowl in the subcontinent as the main bowling weapons in those conditions, spin and reverse swing, will have been negated.

  • jmcilhinney on October 5, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    I've often wondered when the ball change after 34 overs was introduced. I could have sworn that ODIs, at least those played in Australia, used to use a different ball at each end years ago. I'm thinking Benson & Hedges Cup games back in the 80s and 90s. Maybe I imagined it. Can anyone confirm or deny that?

  • WildAmigo on October 5, 2011, 5:04 GMT

    Its pathetic decision to have two balls in ODIs in an innings..it will kill art of bowling to have swing or cutters, spin. I have once commented that in tests its better to have Duke, Kookaburra or other brands available so tactically captains can use it. As we all know its easy to hit the new harder ball. May be this will end the Era for genuine spinners.

  • on October 5, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    First of all a very nice article! This article underscores a fundamental flaw in the modern game: the batsmen are getting their cake and eating it too. There has to be a contest between bat and ball otherwise it just becomes a game of slog till you drop. All arts need to be allowed to flourish and this change of ball after 34 overs totally favours not just the batting side but the side that has more skill in seam bowling. Whats the poor spinner done thats so wrong that he should be made useless. One day cricket needs an overhaul and these changes that are point blank in favor of the batsmen have to be removed otherwise cricket will lose its appeal. The balance between bat and ball has to be restored. Make some lively pitches and have the batsmen earn their keep

  • GlobalCricketLover on October 5, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    At least with this rule change i am hoping that Dhoni will change his sick tactics of packing his side with batsmen and hope to get thru 10-15 overs by them. And this is coming from an Indian. He might win matches but makes the watching 'sick'. Most of the so called 'spin' bowlers we see today are actually slow bowlers who 'occassionally spin'. New crop like Botha, Ashwin, Raina, Rahul Sharma, Yuvraj for example are all of the same breed. You do not see a ball pitching way outside offstump and hitting leg stump. It is only the unpredictability of whether the ball "will turn or not" that keeps these players to exist (and i hate it!). I would have been disappointed if the rule was imposed when Warne's and Murali's were around but there aren't any (occassionally Swann might dazzle). I am hoping that atleast more fast bowlers like Cummins will come up.

  • Thomas_George on October 5, 2011, 3:57 GMT

    In ODIs, balls are changed in 34th over with another ball that is weared similarly. Having two balls is better because balls are usually not changed in 25 overs and the same balls are used through out the match. Cricket will benefit more if bowler friendly wickets are used for ODIs and T20s. Captains have also become predictable pushing fielders to the boundary even if the opposition has lost a few wickets in the power play. ODIs and T20s must have an incentive for wickets taken. It would be better if two bowlers are allowed 15 overs each requiring only four bowlers to complete the quota.

  • JohnnyRook on October 5, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    I wonder if Asian block was having so much power people say it does, why did it let these changes pass. They definitely help genuine fast bowlers at the cost of spinner. BCCI should actually be named BCMCI - Board of Control for Money generated by Cricket in India. It just cares about the monetary aspect of cricket and not the actual cricket.

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  • JohnnyRook on October 5, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    I wonder if Asian block was having so much power people say it does, why did it let these changes pass. They definitely help genuine fast bowlers at the cost of spinner. BCCI should actually be named BCMCI - Board of Control for Money generated by Cricket in India. It just cares about the monetary aspect of cricket and not the actual cricket.

  • Thomas_George on October 5, 2011, 3:57 GMT

    In ODIs, balls are changed in 34th over with another ball that is weared similarly. Having two balls is better because balls are usually not changed in 25 overs and the same balls are used through out the match. Cricket will benefit more if bowler friendly wickets are used for ODIs and T20s. Captains have also become predictable pushing fielders to the boundary even if the opposition has lost a few wickets in the power play. ODIs and T20s must have an incentive for wickets taken. It would be better if two bowlers are allowed 15 overs each requiring only four bowlers to complete the quota.

  • GlobalCricketLover on October 5, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    At least with this rule change i am hoping that Dhoni will change his sick tactics of packing his side with batsmen and hope to get thru 10-15 overs by them. And this is coming from an Indian. He might win matches but makes the watching 'sick'. Most of the so called 'spin' bowlers we see today are actually slow bowlers who 'occassionally spin'. New crop like Botha, Ashwin, Raina, Rahul Sharma, Yuvraj for example are all of the same breed. You do not see a ball pitching way outside offstump and hitting leg stump. It is only the unpredictability of whether the ball "will turn or not" that keeps these players to exist (and i hate it!). I would have been disappointed if the rule was imposed when Warne's and Murali's were around but there aren't any (occassionally Swann might dazzle). I am hoping that atleast more fast bowlers like Cummins will come up.

  • on October 5, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    First of all a very nice article! This article underscores a fundamental flaw in the modern game: the batsmen are getting their cake and eating it too. There has to be a contest between bat and ball otherwise it just becomes a game of slog till you drop. All arts need to be allowed to flourish and this change of ball after 34 overs totally favours not just the batting side but the side that has more skill in seam bowling. Whats the poor spinner done thats so wrong that he should be made useless. One day cricket needs an overhaul and these changes that are point blank in favor of the batsmen have to be removed otherwise cricket will lose its appeal. The balance between bat and ball has to be restored. Make some lively pitches and have the batsmen earn their keep

  • WildAmigo on October 5, 2011, 5:04 GMT

    Its pathetic decision to have two balls in ODIs in an innings..it will kill art of bowling to have swing or cutters, spin. I have once commented that in tests its better to have Duke, Kookaburra or other brands available so tactically captains can use it. As we all know its easy to hit the new harder ball. May be this will end the Era for genuine spinners.

  • jmcilhinney on October 5, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    I've often wondered when the ball change after 34 overs was introduced. I could have sworn that ODIs, at least those played in Australia, used to use a different ball at each end years ago. I'm thinking Benson & Hedges Cup games back in the 80s and 90s. Maybe I imagined it. Can anyone confirm or deny that?

  • on October 5, 2011, 6:38 GMT

    I agree that something must be done to stop the imbalance of the game towards the batsman. However as pointed out this new rule seems poorly thought out as while it may benefit fast bowlers and conventional swing it is detrimental to spinners and reverse swing. This has the danger of making it easier to bowl in places suited to conventional swing e.g. England, new Zealand etc; but even harder to bowl in the subcontinent as the main bowling weapons in those conditions, spin and reverse swing, will have been negated.

  • wajidjawaid on October 5, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    I disagree that 2 bowlers should be allowed to bowl more than 10 overs. That will encourage teams to play with 4 bowlers and pack the side with batting, a negative move. That will also cause disadvantage to the sides who do play with 5 bowlers (including an all-rounder mostly), a positive move.

  • Rahul_78 on October 5, 2011, 8:15 GMT

    ICC needs to be praised for ones. Using 2 balls in the ODI game is really an interesting change. If anything both ballers and batsmen will relish it in both format of the game. A hard ball is good for the strokemakers and with its shine and seam it will assist good quality fast ballers. I have seen some reversing the ball in 16th and 17th over of a T20 so real skillful exponenet of reverse swing art like Umer gul and Zaheer will still be able to extract reverse swing and that too between 40 to 50th over which will be really exciting to see. Also ballers like Steyn and Morkel will love to have new balls from both end in Eng, Aus and SAF. Spin balling has evolved over the year and new breed of unorthodox spinners have learned to ball with hard new ball thanks to T20 cricket. All the new rules will contribute to make the game more exciting.If only they will allow 2 bouncers during power play overs it will help to restore the balance between ball and bat for 20 power play overs.

  • mangloor on October 5, 2011, 9:07 GMT

    The beauty of game is destroyed by the ICC. First they disallow bouncers in one day then allowed one bouncer in game. The side effect of this new rule is that every playing nation prepare pitches on their strength. A team with two quality spinners and lot more in channel and two three good reverse swing bowlers now what ICC expect from these nation. I cant understand why ICC wanted to destroy the beauty of game. No one which i know personally who watch live games of Test and one days. Every one is interested in T20 and ICC is responsible for this.