Innovations — one step forward, two backward?

June 25, 2008

File photo of N.Ananthanarayanan, Reuters India sports correspondentAre the winds of change blowing on the cricket pitch pushing the game forward or tying it up in knots?

First, England batsman Kevin Pietersen changed his stance and, more importantly his grip, to hit New Zealand slow medium bowler Scott Styris for two sixes, triggering a debate whether it was fair to the bowlers or the umpires who have to decide on leg
before appeals and rule of wides.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) will test a new umpire referral system during India’s test tour of Sri Lanka, allowing the batsman at the striker’s end or the fielding team captain to ask for a review of the umpire’s decision with the teams allowed three “unsuccessful” appeals per innings.

For cricket fans who are suddenly being stuffed with plenty of Twenty20 cricket, innovations such as Pietersen’s could be the perfect way to spice up the 50-over version.

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar says the ICC is already looking to make the 15-35 over period more interesting in the longer limited overs game.

Although Pietersen’s “switch-hit” has been cleared by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodians of cricket rules, it is still unclear how much it would affect the bowlers, who can’t switch their bowling arm on their run-up, and the umpires
who will have to make leg before decisions and judge wides.

The ICC has been forced to come up with the referral system to end umpiring controversies, particularly the kind which erupted during India’s test tour of Australia.

Many sports are tweaked to meet the demands of television, whose technology also magnifies every umpiring error. However, reviewing decisions by on-field umpires could affect the flow of the game, which goes against the fundamental requirement of TV.

There will be much debate on both issues in the coming days.


MCC is starting to become irrelevant. An englishman did this, they allow. I wonder what would have been if some other did it. Only a batsman who ran out of strokes does this.

Posted by vivek | Report as abusive

The golden age is always behind us, goes a saying. Frankly cricket died with the 80s. What we have now is a bunch of heavyhitters, aided by bazooka shells for bats, and bowlers, who have been reduced to lambs for slaughter, due to a number of restrictions. I’d like to see these bullies with all their gear handle Dale Steyn if he is allowed 4 bouncers an over! I’m sure you’ll agree…. Anyway, the game that we all knew died long ago…. Compton, Cowdrey, Gavaskarl, Gower, Dias, Chandra…. Those were good days…

Posted by Essar | Report as abusive

I second the thought that if batsmen are allowed all the leeway in the world to do what ever they want at the crease, the bowlers should also be allowed to bowl any way they want without any notice, right arm bowler suddenly bowls left arm, bowler decides to stop and throws the ball over arm like in baseball instead of the bowling action, bowler decids to bowl around the wicket or over the wicket without any notice based on the batsmen stand before he bowls the ball……….

That’d make cricket interesting ;-)

Posted by SP | Report as abusive

I’m wondering when something’s going to be done about all the ads/product placement during matches. I’m tired of going to watch a game but seeing nothing but “Drink Pepsi,” or “apply for business loans” or to “wash my car with minwax.” I understand that everyone needs cash and it’s the wave of the future but, my gosh! Can we just focus on the game please?!

Posted by Dianne | Report as abusive

good post, thanks

Posted by Dianne | Report as abusive

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see