Former Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has slammed the International Cricket Council for implementing batsmen-centric rules in One-day International cricket, calling for more bowlers to get involved in the apex body’s thinktank to ensure a fair balance between bat and the ball.
Harbhajan Singh was commenting on a recent conversation between Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly where the duo had taken a subtle dig at the ICC for the current rules which mandate the use of two new balls and allows only four fielders outside the 30-yard circle between overs 11-40.
It all started when the ICC Twitter handle put out a tweet where they had hailed the most successful pair in the history of ODI cricket- Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly. Sachin and Ganguly batted together in 176 innings during their careers and racked up 8227 runs at an average of 47.55. No pair in history has even crossed 6000!
Sachin commented on ICC’s tweet, asking his former opening partner how many more runs would they have scored under the current rules of two new balls and just four fielders outside the 30-yard circle.
“This brings back wonderful memories Dadi. How many more do you think we would”ve been able to score with the restriction of four fielders outside the ring and two new balls?” tweeted Tendulkar.
This brings back wonderful memories Dadi.
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) May 12, 2020
Ganguly was quick to reply that they would have scored 4000 more runs.
“Another 4000 or so…2 new balls…wow…sounds like a cover drive flying to the boundary in the first over of the game…for the remaining 50 overs.” Ganguly replied.
— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) May 12, 2020
‘Such a bad rule’- Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh then went on to reply to Sachin’s tweet where he lambasted the ICC for the ‘bad rule’, urging more bowlers to be a part of the cricketing body to ensure a fair balance between bat and ball.
“Such a bad rule this is..need few bowlers in @ICC to keep the balance right between bat and ball.. and games become more competitive when the team scores 260/270 nowadays everyone scorning 320/30 plus and getting chased as well often,” Harbhajan Singh tweeted.
At least few more thousands runs easily..such a bad rule this is..need few bowlers in @ICC to keep th balance right bitween bat and ball.. and games become more competitive when team scores 260/270 now days everyone scorning 320/30 plus and getting chased as well often https://t.co/7h41xWKVYD
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) May 12, 2020
ODI cricket has changed a lot since the days when Sachin and Sourav used to open. The duo batted together at a time when two fielders were allowed outside the circle in the first 15 overs and five in the remainder of the innings. Not to forget, only one ball was used throughout the innings.
With the ball getting roughed up as the innings progressed, reverse-swing and conventional off-spin came into the game during the second half, which used to make life difficult for the batsmen. The ICC did away with the use of one ball in 2011 in a bid to bring a bowler back into the game. But the moves have significantly taken away reverse-swing and off-spin away from 50-over cricket and with just four fielders allowed outside the 30-yard-circle between overs 11-40, run-making has increased to a great extent.
Tendulkar has always been a strong critic of the rule of using two white-balls.
“Having 2 new balls in one-day cricket is a perfect recipe for disaster as each ball is not given the time to get old enough to reverse. We haven’t seen reverse swing, an integral part of the death overs, for a long time,” Tendulkar had said back in 2018.
As far as the powerplay is concerned, two fielders are allowed outside the circle in the first 10 overs which increases to four and five in the second [11-40] and the third powerplay [41-50] is concerned.