Can tweaking with rules help Cricket get more exciting? Is there a scope for innovation in a game which is already being followed by masses? Given the recent trends and the fact that at least two of the three formats are getting predictable, the answer would surely be Yes.
Everyone loves innovation. We all love to see little twists and turns when things are going in a regular and predictable way even in our day to day lives let alone cricket. Now the next question which comes to mind is how can we innovate and what are the changes one could suggest ? No problem, we do have few answers to this in our article.
Scrapping the Toss in Test Matches
Provided how the Test cricket is largely predictable because of most of the teams winning at home and struggling outside their comfort zone for a major part of the results ( there has been few exceptions to the above statement as India, New Zealand and England won in Australia, UAE and Sri Lanka respectively ), Toss can be made a part of the history books as suggested by a number of cricket pundits already.
The challenges of playing Test cricket across the globe vary differently from one place to another. In Indian subcontinent, a team would like to bat first and put up a big total making full use of the flat conditions on first two days. In countries like New Zealand, it is a bit different where batting gets easier in second inning, a captain would like to bat second.
Scrapping away with the toss would mean letting the visiting captain decide whether to bat or bowl first since his/her team is less combatant for those conditions compared to the home team. Teams taking a home ground advantage isn’t unfair by any means but it combined with home captain winning the toss and deciding what to do next takes away the competitiveness factor out of equation making the game predictable and boring for the viewers.
Again, it doesn’t mean away teams would start producing better results overnight as outcome of a Test match doesn’t entirely depend on the toss but it would surely give them a better chance in the game making it exciting for everyone.
Ranking based on different zones
Not for the viewing purpose but if a team manages to win an away Test in the conditions they are unfamiliar with, they should be awarded with a bonus point. Let’s make it more clear :
Test playing nations can be divided into two zones. Host countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan/UAE , India and Bangladesh can be put into spin zone while Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand can be categorized into pace zone. Now if a team from spin zone goes on to win a Test Match in pace zone and vice versa, the victorious team should get a bonus point.
In the current ICC ranking system, only strength of the opposition is given weightage. The rating points are assigned on the basis of only three factors – Number of Test Matches won and Drawn in the series, Total number of matches played and strength of the opposition against which the win has been collected.
Even giving bonus points for an away win in World Test Championship or rankings is a good idea but an interzonal win would would require the team to play out of their skins compared to Pakistan winning on spin friendly pitches of Sri Lanka, i.e a victory within the same zone.
5-6 wickets in a T20 Inning !
This might not be a popular idea but it certainly looks interesting. With the kind of decks and batsmen thrashing poor bowlers from Ball 1 in the shortest format, the idea of restricting a T20 inning to only 5 or 6 wickets might look unconventional but not foolish.
In the existing format, a team plays with 8-9 batting resources in general meaning it can afford to lose a wicket in every 2-3 overs ( afford to lose a wicket doesn’t mean the team would not be disappointed with losing the wicket of it’s main player ) which gives them the leverage of keep going for the shots. With just 5 wickets to play with, the same team now will also look to save it’s wickets.
“ It would make T20 batting slow and simultaneously boring ” is the best argument against this creativity which is correct at it’s own place but what also makes it boring is to see no balance between bat & ball and teams posting over 190 runs in two out of the three games.
This little tweak will also allow teams to play with more specialist bowlers & batsmen (they can now play with 6 batsmen and 5 bowlers ) instead of bits & pieces cricketers taking the mediocrity away from the game.
Allowing a bowler to bowl couple more than his full quota of overs
Since there is no restriction over how many overs one particular batsman can bat, one or two bowlers could be allowed to bowl for more than their full quota of overs depending on the format. This would give bowling captain some breathing space in case one of his bowlers is having a bad day.
In an ODI match, Mitchell Starc for Australia is bowling with great rhythm with the new ball, his captain obviously wants him to bowl as much as he can to achieve the best possible result but he has to take him off because he has only 10 overs of Starc in his armory.
Now in the same match, a certain Virat Kohli is going all guns blazing, he as captain has nothing to worry about apart from his batting as he can bat till he gets out.
” If the best batsman can face most number of balls, best bowler having a go at him for as long as can he sustain his energy ” seems a more than decent argument however, the counter argument ” batsman tries to play out the main bowler so that he can go hard against the less potent bowlers ” wins the debate and the above rule tweak might complicate things for the batsmen.
Therefore, allowing one bowler to bowl more than his 10 or 4 overs in a match isn’t a bad idea at all but his quota should only be extended to 2 more overs covering for one struggling bowler making it fair and balanced on both sides.
Some other rule tweaks which are the need of the hour :
- No run as Leg Bye. Bowler shouldn’t be penalized for beating the batsman.
- No overthrow run if the ball hit the stumps or bat or any part of batsman’s body.
- No extra run if the batsman gets bowled on a free hit. Ball should be considered dead when it hit the stumps.