The series between India and Australia saw the hosts ending up as the winners by a narrow 3-2 margin, but something that became increasingly evident is that a definite change is underway in the way in which teams approach an ODI game.
Even till a few months back, the approach of most teams used to be one in which they went after the bowling at the beginning, slowed down during the middle overs and then again went hammer and tongs at the bowling in the last 10 overs as well as in the batting powerplay, which a team has to take in the 35th over at the latest. True, there had been exceptions but that wase the primary strategy that most batting teams had. However, series between India and Australia showed that batsmen nowadays are prepared to take risks right from the time the umpire calls ‘play’.
It cannot be denied that the pitches were as unresponsive as concrete strips and in addition to that the outfields were a nice copy of billiards table, but something that needs to be remembered is that such conditions have always been in place since the commercial boom in cricket in 1990s, although the batsmen were never as adventurous as they were during this series and whether it is good for the game or not as a whole is a different subject altogether. Moreover, the change in the rules of the ODI game has also aided and abetted the slow poisoning of the species known as bowlers, who have always been on the wrong end of mad rule changes that have taken place over the years.
The change or rather evolution in the approach has developed over the years and the introduction of T20 version of the game has also had a profound influence in the way batsmen approach an innings these days. In a T20 game, 160-170 is regarded as a par score, which comes to a run rate of 8-8.5 runs an over, a sort of run rate that used to be impossible to achieve in a different day and age.
However, this is something that is now being achieved in most T20 games with some teams even going on to post scores in excess of 200 on a consistent basis. As a result a batsman hardly fears a rising required run rate, since he knows it is not impossible to score the required runs and that has been proved plenty of times in the recent series by Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, George Bailey, James Faulkner and others.
A total of 350 is now simply looked upon as a chase of 175 runs in two blocks of 25 overs and although it can be argued that the chances of losing one’s wicket are higher in a 50 over game, one simply has to take a look at the rules of the game in order to understand that a batsman has the license of throwing his bat at almost everything due to the fact that no more than 4 fielders are allowed outside the circle even when field restrictions are not enforced. Sure, better bowling units like Pakistan or South Africa might not concede as many runs but the average scores would increase as time goes by. Be prepared to witness a new era in the game in which the long six is just another event.
By Soham Samaddar
Image Source: Indian Cricket Team@Facebook