Bowlers may be back in business after the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to scrap the batting Powerplay and permit five fielders outside the 30-yard circle in the last 10 overs instead of three fielders. However, former India pacer and current ICC match referee Javagal Srinath feels the damage has already been done to the bowlers' psyche with the earlier rules.
"Bowling is always a challenge now. (The change in) Powerplay rules may have given some sting to the bowlers, but the batsmen's confidence what they have gained over the last few years with Powerplays and three men outside the circle has pushed the mindset of the bowlers backwards, whereas the batsmen have psychologically gained out of those rules.
"Now, that psychological advantage will not diminish straightaway. They will be aggressive towards bowlers all the time," Srinath told mid-day yesterday in reference to India's bowling in the ongoing ODI series against South Africa. The ICC was forced to re-look at the rules with raging debate to restore the balance between the bat and ball. Several rules that the ICC introduced were deemed batsman-friendly.
'Be patient with Bhuvi'
Srinath, who enjoyed a lot of success against South Africa in his career, claiming more than 64 Test wickets which included four five-wicket hauls, urged pundits to be patient with struggling Bhuvneshwar Kumar. "On a flat wicket, it is quite hard for any bowlers. We judge a fast bowler's career on just one series. ODIs and T20s have always been cruel to bowlers of late. Test cricket is a better platform to judge. Bhuvi has been very consistent with his line and length.
He understands the dynamics pretty well. He understands the balance well (between pace and swing)," said Srinath, who is promoting the Red Bull Campus Cricket tournament. Bhuvneshwar struggled against the visitors in the first T20I at Dharamsala, conceding 40 runs and going wicketless. He bowled better (0-13 in two overs) in the second T20I at Cuttack, but struggled to find momentum on his home ground at Kanpur's Green Park where he finished with 0-67.
He bounced back in Indore with 3-41, but again went for runs (0-65) in the third ODI at Rajkot. Yesterday too, Bhuvneshwar gave away 68 runs, but was lucky to claim a couple of wickets (Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn) towards the end of the SA innings in addition to the big wicket of skipper AB de Villiers.