Tuesday, 14 March 2006

400 up!

It has finally happened! The 400 run mark has been breached in an ODI for the first time ever. How fitting that it should be in a match between the two best ODI teams in the world, in batting terms at least! Bowling is scandalously thin in both sides, with obvious frailties when the two metronomic magicians Pollock and McGrath are absent. In the age of Twenty20 cricket it was to be expected sooner rather than latter and it can only be good for the game, if it draws such awesome crowds. Spare a thought for those bowlers though!

I am a fan of such high scoring ODI and Twenty20 games, it is what they are here for. The crowds want to see that type of game, cramed with shots and action. The purest may well stand back aghast, but this is the modern era and things change. A few decades ago you would have seen 10 goals in a Premiership match more often than not. Besides the bowlers only have to bowl 10 overs a piece and most ODI bowlers enjoy themselves with the bat now anyway, Brett Lee, an obvious example.

To the Test match arena however and I am more concerned. Test cricket is about skill, a solid defence, the ability to play a range of shots and taking 20 wickets. As such, flat tracks, as seen in many ODI's, are unacceptable, as a predictable draw usually ensues, as is often the case in Pakistan! It is boring. It's far more interesting to see a bowler on top of his game against a batsmen resolutely resisting for his country. Then we would see how many batsmen can maintain their averages above 50. I doubt Mr Sehwag would last long! Rahul Dravid would though as he is just pure all round class.

So no flat tracks in Tests and plenty in ODIs please. Then we will see thrilling finishes, strokeplay and totals as in the 5th ODI between South Africa and Australia and a higher percentage of results in Test matches and a more exciting and tense game for the viewer in complete contrast to that of the shorter version of the game. Oh and then maybe more players will take up the game as bowlers, knowing that their 30-40 overs of toil per innings will not be in vain on an unresponsive wicket. Prehaps then we might also conversely see a higher level of bowling in the shorter version of the game which would reduce those heady totals which we are often seeing today and give the batsmen something to think about!