With T20 being the new kid on the block, ODIs are starting to look middle-aged with rheumatoid joints. But despite everything, ODIs are still the 'semi-classic' form of cricket (after tests), which means that they continue to make money for the ICC. So it makes sense that they'd want to keep it alive for as long as they can. What doesn't make sense is the crazy new rules that they think will 'save the game'. Let's review them, shall we?
Two new balls from each end shall be useth each innings. This one should keep fast bowlers from grumbling. Two new balls each innings means a more durable seam and balls that will bounce like they are 10 overs old halfway through the 20th over. Batsmen face more bounce during their time at the crease. Fast bowlers should have a ball (pun absolutely intended) and quite a few wickets too. We can already see the English and Australian bowlers smiling broadly. On the other hand, batsmen also get better visibility due to less wear and tear of the ball. Hmm, maybe the fast bowlers shouldn't stop grumbling just about yet. And if you are a reverse swinging paceman, well, bad luck for you. If you have a spin based bowling attack [hint: we do], you're screwed. Period.
Batsmen deemed to be obstructing the stumps shall be dismisseth. Sneaky batsmen who used to lunge towards the wicket at the last second now have this new rule to worry about. A batsman could be given out if found guilty of obstructing the wicket. This is where all the cameras and guesswork come in. Although the rule itself seems fair, putting it to practice is another matter altogether.
Runout is now possible at non-strikers' end before delivery. Non-strikers who used to be half way down the pitch before the ball was released have to be more careful now. They can be run-out any time before the bowler completes his delivery. This makes sure that batsmen do more of those mad dashes to the other end that provide much of the entertainment in cricket. This rule rules!
Runners shall no longer be provided to injured batsmen. A batsman who is injured now has options of retiring hurt or coming back to the crease later on in the innings. Inzamam must be thanking his lucky stars he doesn't play cricket anymore!
Second and third Powerplays shall be taken between the 16th and 40th overs. Now this is the real game changer; the one that has even Mr Cool, Dhoni, scratching his head. When Powerplays were first introduced a couple of years back, it had the potential to revive the ODI format of the game. But what we see on the field today is that even Powerplays have fallen into a predictable pattern. The bowling Powerplay is taken early in the innings and the batting side saves their fireworks for last. The new rule aims to spice up the middle overs.
Now, what do all these rules actually mean for cricket? It means that the previous rules didn't really work and the ICC is just trying to cover that up by confusing people with a new set of rules. On the field, the new ball rule and the Powerplay rule seem to be causing the most worry, while the other three may cause a few upsets now and then.
The new rules come into effect from this October. October also happens to be the time when India are playing England at home in what is dubbed as the 'revenge' series. Dhoni rightly tells us that the rules “will be giving different results till we get used to them”. Will the new rules be just what is needed to disrupt the power structure in cricket once again? Will it give us more excitement? Will Ashraful finally be able to score more than 25? We'll just have to watch and find out!
Last week, our topic was High Voltage. While the entries left much to be desired, the piece below had a few moments of brilliance. Next week, our topic is: Shift. Try for some innovative aspect of the topic. The submissions have to be sent in to firstname.lastname@example.org before Sunday noon. Word limit: 500 words. Good luck.
By Nabil Rahaman
Vengeance is often considered malevolent and dark, because of its conspicuous tie to spite. I used to sermonise others, screaming, "Forgive and forget." But time taught me to realise that not all can be forgiven, let alone forgotten. Now my motto is, "Blood for blood."
The war began a few months ago when the weapons came out in the markets. Seemingly flawless, they encouraged me to get out of my protective net. And I carried out an appalling massacre against an indeterminate number of foes.
Before hitting the kill switch, I admired myself in the mirror; the fire in my eyes, the sparkle in my goatee and the electricity in my hands. I loved the look. But like the UN, my little sister had to interrupt the war. She loved insects, animals and stuff. That little devil threatened me. I paid little heed to her. Next day, I woke up to find that she stuck a paper on the racquet-shaped device, "Danger! High Voltage." I laughed at the absurdity. The mosquitoes couldn't possibly make anything out of her bad hand writing.
Turns out, she was being sarcastic. She'd messed up the wiring of the racquet using her knowledge of O'level Physics. The System is annoying when it actually does function.
Necessity is the mother of all inventions. I decided to get a larger device. I made a list of necessary things and went to a store. The shopkeeper gave me weird looks, like my Physics teacher gave me when I praised her saying she looked like Rabindranath. After my wallet was finally emptied, I set up a lab inside my room.
Researching is a difficult task! It's not like you press the big red button, everything goes up in smoke and they hand you a medal with the image of Alfred, the King of Kaboom. Researching is about uninterrupted attention and dedication. Like sleeping while standing.
After tedious hours, my labour finally came to fruition. "Behold my latest invention! The high-voltage-mosquito-terminator!" I cried out. I'd wanted to say that for so long! I plugged it in for charging. Suddenly, the lights of my room winked out and a smell of burnt wire started permeating the air near my invention. It didn't work. All my hard work went down the drain as I stood watching. Perhaps, a problem with the circuit? I reached out and took the wires in one hand and as the Fates would have it, that was the exact moment the electricity rushed back. The blue flashes I loved so dearly surged through my body. I was stuck; an expression of rigorous pain and paralysis. It may have lasted for only a few seconds. Or it may have been a couple of eternities.
Then, it all stopped. My hand was badly burned. At that very moment, a mosquito chose to land on my other hand and decided to take a sip of my blood. And I couldn't slap it away. There was an irony here somewhere, but a brain muddled with high voltage couldn't comprehend it.
But the war wasn't over. It never is.
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