Sunday, September 13, 2009

Great Minds Think Alike (Ian Chappell And I)

I've always like Ian Chappell's commentary and insights on the game -- except perhaps in the last couple of years, when he's slowly but surely veering into the"whiny and know-it-all old cranky dude" category (other club-members: Boycott, Bedi, Bob Willis). Anyway, he had a really interesting column on changes he would like to see in the game. For instance, he argues that pitches really need to be reformed, and more even-handed contests between bat and ball is what we should aim for.
The improvements should include preparing pitches that encourage an even contest. If the limited-overs game constantly features teams chasing huge targets then there's very little likelihood of a close finish.

And here's me three years ago:
Dear God, when did 325 become a normal score? You remember the days when 250 was considered really good, and 280 extremely challenging? What the hell happened? Why are Afridi/Dhoni types allowed to plant their front foot down, swing through the line and have it go for four? Why are bowlers glorified bowling machines? So many analysts, from Harsha Bhogle to pretty much all the cricinfo guys, complain about this. Why does nobody listen to them? Pitches should offer an even chance to the bowler and the batsman. And even if they are "good" batting wickets, they should never be so completely flat that a bowler is only hoping to not go for 6 an over. No pitch should be that good.

Chappell also argues that fielding restrictions in ODIs should be banned.
There should only be one stipulation about field placings: four men should compulsorily be inside the circle in the final five overs. If captains aren't told where their fieldsmen have to go then they've got to think where to put them, and the regulation is only there to stop teams having nine men on the boundary in a tight finish.

And here's me three years ago:
For God's sake, let's make captains captain the team out there. With fielding restrictions, by and large, everything is already decided for them. As I complained earlier, this makes the game much more formulaic than it has to be. A captain should be allowed to put as many fielders wherever the hell he wants. If he's dumb enough to put 9 guys on the boundary, then he's going to be susceptible to 6 2's taken in the over, which adds to 12, which is a bloody good over. No forced catches, no 30-yard circles, no nothing. Let the captain decide what he wants to do, and the best way to go about restricting/bowling out the opposition.

Finally, Chappell argues for no limits on number of overs a particular bowler can bowl:
The other restriction on the fielding side should simply say that five bowlers have to deliver a minimum of five overs each. Apart from that the captain can utilise his bowlers how he sees fit. The more overs available to the better bowlers, the more likely a captain will attack rather than defend with stop-gap trundlers. Bowl well and you'll be rewarded with more overs.

And here's me three years ago:
The fifth bowler, for most teams, is a combination of dibbly-dobbly types who make the game boring to watch. I think a McGrath or an Asif should be rewarded for being able to bowl at a high level for long spells. If they want to bowl 15 out of the 50, let 'em. This too will give the captain more to think about. It will also ensure more interesting selection issues. Does a team go for the Australian style test-team, with 4 bowlers sharing 50? Do they play a batting all-rounder? A bowler who can bat? A keeper who opens allowing them 5 bowlers? Best of all, it will make the game tougher for batsmen, who too often play the good bowler out and take their frustrations out on the useless bowlers. They wouldn't be able to do that if they knew a guy like Murali is going to bowl 30 out of 50 [note from present day Ahsan: this was stupid, because technically the maximum any one bowler can bowl in 50 overs is, quite naturally, 25]. They'd have to go at him, which would make the game more even. Again, think how ludicrous it would be if the ICC said that batsmen are only allowed to play 75 balls, then have to retire. Why should it be any different for bowlers?

See? I'm so smart. I always tell you guys this, and no one believes me.


humairahumaira said...

you're smart

zeyd said...

Totally called it dude, and it makes so much sense that you just know it ain't gonna happen.

Kinda like making Waqar bowling coach and Wasim a talent spotter eh?