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An extra over for one bowler - would it help counter the battering in T20s?

With batting records being broken regularly in IPL 2024, bowlers need a little something to make it a slightly more even contest

Nagraj Gollapudi
The sympathy for bowlers in the IPL has never been as strong as in this season, where batters have pulped everything thrown at them and broken records with scary frequency. We will know soon, at the T20 World Cup in June, if international teams will deploy a similarly aggressive approach to their batting, but the need to equip bowlers with something that can help them counter the battering has never felt more urgent.
ESPNcricinfo asked three of the sharpest minds in the game - Ricky Ponting, Ian Bishop and Tom Moody - if allowing one bowler an extra over in addition to the regular quota of four is a feasible option.
You can also have your say via the poll below.

Ricky Ponting

It has been spoken about a lot: give an extra over or even more [to a bowler] - maybe another two overs if needed. The flip side of that, and this is what I've always said, is it will be interesting to ask a bowler that question.
Do you reckon they would want to bowl more than four overs? I remember it was brought up at one of the MCC World Cricket Committee meetings, and I raised that question. I don't remember what the response was, but let's ask that question to the bowlers. If they bowl four overs and have done a really good job, what if their fifth over goes for 30?
No doubt the teams would love that: Mumbai [Indians] would love [Jasprit] Bumrah to bowl one more over.
Also, it will help with bowling plans where you can find the right way to use the bowler [to bowl the additional over] as well: you will not find him bowling three overs in a row at the death because one thing you stay away from is letting batters line up bowlers to hit. If you have an additional over or two, you will be able to mix and match to get through their five or six overs.
It will be an interesting thing to trial, though. A lot of these things should be trialled in lesser competitions before it comes to bigger tournaments.

Ian Bishop

Our first port of call should be the pitches. When I reflect on the last two T20 World Cups we've had - in the UAE [in 2021] and in Australia [in 2022] - there was a little bit more in it for bowlers. There was a nice little balance in the game. So you still want to see the high-scoring game, but you also want pitches that give you a nice good contest - whether it's a spinning surface or whether it's a seam-bowling surface.
It doesn't have to be every pitch, but some will have bounce, some spin. As we have seen in the World Test Championships, teams have started putting more into the pitches. In the last six to seven years, fast bowlers have come back into Test cricket because pitches or conditions or balls have done more.
I just love the test of somebody having a weak link in their bowling line-up and having to cover for that, and having a batter exploit that. I love that challenge as opposed to having someone who is able to give a captain a buffer. So I'm talking from a viewing perspective. If you put on a captain's perspective, he might have a different view.
And maybe if that doesn't work, you can investigate the extra over and stuff. But I am a traditionalist in the sense that I still don't want to see too many things changing in the game too soon. And maybe to a fault because the product is reasonably good at the moment.

Tom Moody

I 100% agree with the point Bish makes on the pitches. As for the extra over for a particular bowler, I have made the same suggestion but only to try to counter balance the Impact Player rule in the IPL. I wouldn't do it in other T20s around the world.
I agree with Bish. The art of having to navigate an innings as a captain is one of the tactical skills required in this fast-moving format. The charm of finding solutions during the highs and lows of your attack along with the conditions and game situation has been compromised.
It is part of the beauty of the game - watching a captain manage his attack. He thinks, "one of my bowlers is having a poor day and I will need to find an over or two, or I may need to spend a key bowler early for a key matchup or to change momentum before the game is lost." Now they've got potentially six specialist bowlers on the field, which makes it so much easier.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo