3 Changes the ICC should consider implementing to improve the quality and fairness in the ODI game
As the decade has progressed, it has become increasingly evident that batsmen are the dominant force in ODI cricket. The equality in the game has been lost, thus making it quite lopsided.
Not so long ago, 250 used to be an excellent score, which teams were able to defend without much trouble. But now, a total of 250 is no longer safe; even 300 does not guarantee a win, as was evident in the first ODI between West Indies and England where England chased down a score of 360.
But are there any ways to change the way things are and make them more balanced? Let's look at a few rules the ICC can implement to ensure parity in the game and at the same time keep it interesting.
1. Use of only one ball
Back in 2011, the ICC introduced a concept where two new balls would be used. This was one of the primary reasons why the game became more batsman-friendly. The rule eliminated one of the essential elements of death overs bowling - reverse swing.
Bringing back the practice of using one ball would mean that it will become soft towards the end of the innings, making it harder for the batsmen to whack it into the stands. Furthermore, the reverse swing will also make it harder for the batsmen to preserve their wickets, which will again be beneficial to the bowlers.
2. Bringing back the five-over batting powerplay
This rule was amongst the most innovative ones in cricket and was a delight to watch throughout the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. This law permitted the batting unit to select a powerplay anytime within overs 16-40.
The powerplay went on for five overs, during which just two fielders were permitted outside the 30-yard circle. It brought another dimension into the game, and it was captivating to see when and how each team decided to utilize it.
The rule did not last long, and the current powerplay law is far from exciting. The ICC should look to bring this rule back to make the game more interesting.
3. Increasing the minimum size of the boundaries
Law 19.1.3 of the ICC Men's ODI Playing Conditions states: "The aim shall be to maximize the size of the playing area at each venue. With respect to the size of the boundaries, no boundary shall be longer than 90 yards (82.29 meters), and no boundary should be shorter than 65 yards (59.43 metres) from the centre of the pitch to be used."
This limit should obviously be reviewed as we can see even top edges and mishits going for sixes these days. Even though some grounds might meet the limit, they are still ridiculously small and it's very easy to clear their boundaries.
Since players these days are stronger and the bats are better, why not increase the size of the boundaries to restrict their advantage?