ODI bowlers deserve sympathy

While cricket lovers in this country sing praises of Rohit Sharma, who slammed a double century in the seventh and final one-day international against West Indies at Bangalore, the big totals which have been witnessed in the recently concluded India vs Australia series calls for some sympathy towards the bowlers. 

From October 30, 2012, teams have been allowed only four fielders outside the 30-yard circle in non-Powerplay overs. This makes it very difficult for the bowlers and many pundits tend to agree with India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni when he suggested after the defeat in Nagpur that the bowlers are unjustifiably at the receiving end.

A mind-boggling 3,596 runs were scored in the recent series. And there was a high scoring match involving host Bangladesh and New Zealand yesterday as well.

Cricket bosses on the world stage must do a rethink on anything that is currently lopsided. In many ways, cricket is primarily a batsman’s game, so why make more in his favour when matches are played on the sub-continent where pitches are traditionally not kind to bowlers?

The smart heads in the International Cricket Council’s Cricket Committee have some thinking to do before recommending corrective measures that will make an ODI contest well balanced.

The Indian captain will surely be concerned about what will happen to his bowlers in the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year when their confidence has taken a beating by big-hitting batsmen in home series preceding the mega event.

What India can do in the meantime is to encourage curators to prepare tracks that have something in them for the bowlers. No player can be a Test match specialist nowadays and all bowlers have to cope with the one-day load. If their confidence is going to be shattered in one-day cricket, there is every chance that will trickle into their Test match activities.

Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma’s 209 will still go down as an epic one-day innings. His form makes him a certainty in the playing XI in Wednesday’s Test against the West Indies in Kolkata. Hopefully, he’ll be able to do enough to retain his place. 

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