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"Bowlers will be reduced to programmed bowling machines" - Gautam Gambhir calls for urgent relook of rules

Skipper Virat Kohli(L) and pacer Prasidh Krishna during the 2nd ODI. (PC: BCC)
Skipper Virat Kohli(L) and pacer Prasidh Krishna during the 2nd ODI. (PC: BCC)
Modified 27 Mar 2021

Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has called upon the International Cricket Council (ICC) for an 'urgent' reassessment of certain cricketing rules.

Gambhir suggested that, if not acted upon soon, the field and bouncer restrictions, coupled with the allocation of 2 new balls in ODI cricket, can reduce bowlers to 'programmed bowling machines'.

Gautam Gambhir's comments come in the wake of a high-scoring 2nd ODI between India and England on Friday. India amassed a seemingly par first-innings total of 336 on a flat Pune wicket. However, thanks to Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes' blistering knocks, England gunned down the target inside 44 overs.

Taking to Twitter after the match, Gautam Gambhir also tagged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and said:

"The rules of the game seem so lopsided in favour of batsmen that bowlers seem redundant, ‘also rans’. @ICC urgently needs to relook at the circle rule, two new balls and bouncer restrictions. Otherwise bowlers will be reduced to programmed bowling machines @bcci"

With the 6-wicket win, England leveled the series 1-1, and the teams will now lock horns in the decider on Sunday, March 28.

A rundown of laws pointed out by Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir

The 'circle rule' pointed out by Gautam Gambhir is most likely a reference to the laws governing field restrictions in the powerplay overs. They divide a 50-over innings into three categories as follows:


a) Powerplay 1 - no more than two 2 fieldsmen permitted outside the field restrictions area or the 30-yard circle. In an innings of 50 overs, these include the first 10 overs.

b) Powerplay 2 - no more than four 4 fieldsmen permitted outside the circle. In an innings of 50 overs, this applies for overs 11 to 40.

c) Powerplay 3 - no more than five 5 fieldsmen permitted outside the circle. This applies to the last ten overs of a 50-over innings.

Gautam Gambhir next spoke of the 'two new balls' law. The ICC had introduced a rule allowing the use of 2 new white balls from either end in ODI cricket in 2011. Many, including Sachin Tendulkar and Waqar Younis, have slammed this law for diminishing the role of reverse swing in ODI cricket, and thus, further favouring the batters.

Finally, Gautam Gambhir called for a relook at 'bouncer restrictions'. Since October 2012, the ICC has set the maximum limit of bouncers to two per over in ODI cricket. This rule has also been criticized before, with experts arguing that it is taking a major attacking option out of the bowler's armory.

Published 27 Mar 2021, 16:11 IST
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