Friday, March 30, 2007

A suggestion to make one-day cricket more interesting

There is a problem with one-day cricket. No, I am not talking about match-fixing or the over dependence on Indian market or too many meaningless tournaments or chucking or any of those. Those are bigger issues. But the problem I am talking about is to do with the game itself. Which is that there are very few exciting games taking place these days. Even if the teams are evenly matched, even when we can't tell in advance who is going to win but what we can tell with fair amount of certainty is that it is going to be an easy win at the end for either team. In nearly 80% of the matches, result is obvious within the first 15 overs of the second innings. They are either chasing a low total and get off to a good start or chasing a huge total and lose a couple of key early wickets. In first case there is very little the bowling team can do except going through the motions and in the second the batting team does that.

This has mainly to do with the fact that a couple of key batsmen can have a huge impact on the fortunes of a team. So if those key batsmen get out cheaply, match is as good as lost. So here are a couple of changes to fix this problem:
- A batsman can continue to bat when dismissed.
- Deduct 30 runs from batting team's score per dismissal [1]
- Maximum limit of 50 deliveries per batsman

- One mistake by batsman doesn't put him out of the game thus substantially reducing the luck factor (or bad decision factor)
- One or two batsmen cannot dominate the entire innings. Just as a bowler is limited to 10 overs, batsman is limited to 50 deliveries.
- Match is not over till all the 100 overs are bowled. Even if the chasing team is 100 runs past the target there is always a chance for bowling team to take a hattrick and win back the game.
- More importance to attacking bowling and taking wickets.
- Just as a bowler can be taken off if he is not bowling well, batting team captain can recall a batsman if he is struggling and send him back in at a later stage. More thinking to be done by captains.
- Since only 6 batsmen are required to bat, teams can go with 4-5 pure bowlers rather than going with bits-and-pieces players as done currently.

Now, tell me why it won't work.

[1]: If you think deducting 30 runs leading to negative scores can be confusing to viewers, add 30 runs to bowling team's score instead.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

ICC, call off the world cup

Now that the Jamaican police have confirmed that Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer was murdered, I think ICC should cancel the world cup if they have any sense of decency left. It is bad enough that they got on with the event without missing a beat when an important member of the cricketing community died under suspicious circumstances. But to carry on with the carnival when it is confirmed that it was a murder and probably related to cricket would be totally improper. World cup is supposed to be a celebration of the game and how can you carry on with the celebration when the game itself is under the cloud?

Besides, all the caribbean governments have invested heavily on this event and it is in their interest to make sure that it is a success. It is not inconceivable then that pressure is brought to bear upon the police to delay the investigation till the world cup is over. If ICC is really interested in getting to the bottom of this murder, they should call off the event so that the police can carry on the investigation without any fear of their own governments.

C'mon ICC, for once act with courage. If you have to, return all the money you have received from your sponsors. But don't let cricket and justice down for a few million dollars.