In recent years the ODI has been threatened by T20. (if you don’t know what either of those two terms mean, you can stop reading now, for none of the following will make any more sense. However, you can use Google to find out, or take the help of a friend who does know and thus be enlightened. For Knowledge is Power they say…)
I challenge the fallacious thinking that high scoring games are more fascinating to the viewer / fan. Therefore, here are my recommendations for improving ODIs and making them more relevant.
1. Eliminate the no-ball free hit. You’ve already penalized the bowler by making him exert himself physically, added at least one run to the batting side’s total. May be more than one if the batsman hits it (for a 4 or 6) or the batting pair cross over. Why must you then penalize him even further by denying him a chance to get a wicket off a perfectly legal delivery? This is just wrong on so many counts.
2. Reduce (at worst) and Remove (at best) the fielding restrictions. Even out the challenge. Let the batsman work out how to score. Yes, scoring rates may drop but as skills develop they’ll come back up again. Maybe they won’t reach the lofty heights they are at today, but they will rise. Remember the other side has to bat too and will face similar restrictions. This should make the bowler / batsman balance more, ahem, balanced.
3. Stop this Powerplay nonsense. If you reduce the fielding restrictions but not remove them entirely, then reduce the restrictions to the first 10 overs only. Anything after that is open house.
4. Go back to one ball per innings. Bring back the dimension of ball wear, possible reverse swing and attacking (real) spin bowling.
5. DRS. To be covered in it’s own
6. Remove the bowling restrictions. If a team decides it wants to run it’s best bowler into the ground by making him bowl 25 overs on the trot, let them! What this will do is bring back attacking bowlers and reduce the reliance on bits and pieces players, such as NZ’s famous Wibbly, Wobbly, Dibbly and Dobbly. Or if you’re hell bent on bowling restrictions, then allow any two bowlers a maximum of 15 overs each. The other twenty can be bowled by any combination. Attack!! Defend!! Score nah!! as the little West Indian wicketkeeper would say.
7. Regulate the bat’s thickness and weight.
8. Increase boundaries to keep up with bat technology. There are way too many sixes these days.
The net result of the above would be to provide younger players, those in their formative years a taste of tactics and strategy. It would serve as the ideal proving and training ground for the rigours of multi-day cricket that lie ahead. Reaching all the way up to Tests. <cue heavenly music>
Others who feel this way.