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India-WI ODI series: A striking example of why cricket is in dire straits

Uday Joshi
ANALYST
Feature
2.32K   //    Timeless


"Change is the only constant"- Heraclitus

Though Heraclitus's statement has stood the test of time, there are some changes that don't welcome the Greek philosopher's belief.

Cricket is a simple game. Even though cricket has evolved over the years, there are some things that never change: you have 11 men on either side; among which you have 2 batsmen of one side facing the other side's bowlers and all this stuff of action happens between 22 yards.

Batsmen and bowlers are two links which create this game's mechanism. It's the victory, that's the ultimatum. But what if one of those 2 links gets removed?

Will that victory taste sweet-enough?

As always, there are some complications with metamorphosis, but none would have even dreamt of the number of destructive complications that what would happen to this marvelous game in coming years.

In 1971, the first dramatic change was made when the first ODI (60 overs) was played; the new form was supposed to be "game-changing" in terms of the changes it brought to the technicalities of the game, and it did in a certain way.

In 1975, the first World Cup for cricket was announced and the tournament launched a bandwagon which would eventually become the most prestigious piece that every cricketing nation wanted to have in their closet.

The batsmen started to play aggressively given the number of runs they had to pile-up because of reduction in the number of cherries being bowled. But the game's evolution helped to bring more money and fame to the players and to the game itself and everyone thought they had a Eureka moment!

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2007: The year that started the practice of extermination!

From the 1970s to late 2000s though, changes had affected the game drastically in terms of the rapid growth in popularity of the game, but that never affected the quality of this wonderful game. Hence, it was not considered to be any sort of deformation of the game. 2007: the year of that started the practice of extermination!

When the 2007 T20 World Cup was played out for the first time, it was a mere experiment to see what adds on to this holy game. And 10 years down the line, it can only be considered as the most distorting thing that could have happened to this game.

The gentlemen's game has gone on to become less gentle over the course of time. The game has become one-sided. The batters are enjoying the royalty while on the other side bowlers have become mere bystanders. It's literally assaulting on the bowling community nowadays.

We have 250+ runs in a 20 over game! That's a lot of entertainment, but how about being a bowler in such games? Where's the pride in being a bowler?

It's all about batsmen these days with rules, pitches on their side and lack of quality bowlers because of 24X7 non-stop cricket. The bowlers are literally devoured by batsmen. Hitting six off the first ball of the match is considered no exceptional thing in today's age, and no wonder batters dare to do the same in ODI cricket; the recent exploitation reached its heights in terms of runs with England scoring 481!


India vs West Indies ODI series

When the Test series got over, the Windies would have taken a sigh of relief as they have started to do so in recent years since they have forgotten their roots. The ODI series started with what's nowadays a normal total, with Windies putting up 322.

Still, everyone literally knew who's going to be the winner and it was no doubt India! This predicting nature has been embedded into us because of IPL. With maestro Virat Kohli and Hitman Rohit Sharma doing their regular job it was all too easy for the Indians as they chased it down with 7.5 overs remaining. Could anyone would have imagined this back in 1970s or even 90s? The other two games were the same weren't any different from the first one, just that results were different.

Today was one such example of how much the game has been affected because of the T20 invasion. India scored a mammoth 377/5 all thanks to the batsmen friendly pitch and Indian batters especially Rohit and Rayudu activating their inner T20 mode.

The game cannot be even considered as competition anymore. Not much can be talked about the Windies batting tonight, but we have witnessed some Windies batters smack some sixes in the first three matches too. No one seems to be in need of a good bowling unit anymore, and why would they be when they have got at least four batters who unleash power hitting whenever they intend to.

It's becoming boring to see the manner in which ball sails over the fence literally every over. There almost an axe hanging on bowler's head every single delivery and no wonder why there isn't any innovation in line and length. All they do is bowl it slower or try to york the batters.

The bowlers' condition is dismal. Nothing can bring back cricket to its life if this goes on. Bowlers are an inseparable part of the game as wheels are from an automobile. If they are treated with disdain in every outing, then cricket, in this form, is not to stay here for long.

The main concern is that the game is becoming increasingly predictable, the very nature of shorter formats is depleting, let alone Test cricket. The curiosity has just become a hypertension battle of batters wrapped around bowlers' exhaustion, leading to the bereavement of bowlers.

With such short space for people with matches going around the globe literally every day of the week, the much-beloved game of ours is losing its existence in terms of quality and peculiarities. The only solution that one can think of is reducing the amount of cricket being played and limiting the T20 leagues, but with more and more people getting allured by it, it won't be a piece of cake.

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