T20 cricket- Graveyard for bowlers, treat for the batsmen
Imagine running in hard towards the bowling crease, bowling a perfect length delivery (a ball which would have made your coach elated 5 years ago) and then getting smacked to all parts of the field? This is the nightmare that every bowler has to go through after the introduction of IPL or rather T20 cricket. It is rightly called the graveyard of bowlers as they get slaughtered no matter how much they stick to the basics. With the growing popularity of IPL, bowlers have had to change their mindsets as saving runs has become much more important than taking wickets and running through the top order of the opposition.
The pitch curators, bat manufacturers and the small grounds have to be blamed for this but the major culprits are the crowds for whom all this is done. Crowds come in large numbers to see Sehwag, Dhoni, Gayle and Afridi smash bowlers out of the park because that’s what entertains them. They won’t be very happy to see these swashbuckling players get out early and return to the pavilion. Pitch curators provide the players with pitches as flat as pancakes. With the big and thick edged bats batsmen use these days, even a mistimed shot sails over the rope comfortably leaving the bowler rattled and out of options. This is really demoralising for those bowlers who start off their career playing T20 and IPL matches because they are forced to change their bowling styles and have to always try to 2nd guess the batsman.
In earlier days, bowling just outside the off stump used to be the ideal line for bowlers. But in today’s ‘IPL generation’, it does not matter where you bowl because in any case, you are going to be belted by the batsman. The method of hammering the bowlers in the IPL has been carried to the ODIs as well. A recent example being the breath-taking innings that Kohli played in Australia against SriLanka, where even the toe crushers by Malinga were dispatched away to the fence with utmost ease.
T20 cricket and IPL in some ways are also hampering the growth of young and skilful batsmen. The youngsters feel that T20 is all about hitting sixes, fours and entertaining the crowd. Quick success is all what’s on their mind. The sweet straight drives, crisp cover drives and elegant on-drives have made way for the Dil-scoop, the helicopter shot and the fancy upper cut. There is nothing wrong with these new inventions but the traditional cricket shots and the battle between ball and bat is losing its charm. Also, the young batsmen prefer innovative shots rather than the text book drives and cuts, which will ultimately hamper their growth as a batsman in the long run. I am not at all against IPL or T20, I am just against the change that it has brought about in the mindset of the players. Now, the batsmen just think of scoring runs by hitting the ball hard rather than sweetly timing it and finding the gaps. The bowlers are forced to bowl run containing balls rather than wicket taking ones.
It’s high time that we find a way to increase the competition between bat and ball rather than just letting the batsman tonk the bowlers by making lifeless pitches. IPL and T20 cricket attracts crowds to the stadiums but it does not serve the major purpose of the Gentleman’s game and that is an equal and fierce competition between bowlers and batsman. I just hope that the curators make competitive wickets for IPL 5 so that we get a good blend of amazing shots and breath taking deliveries. Also, the players must recognize that T20 is not the only format and they have to play proper cricket in order to succeed in the longer formats of the game
IPL-5 .The wait is almost over!