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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Reinventing the Power Plays

Rahul Dravid seems to be a nice sort of bloke - the kind of guy who won't trouble you or demand much. Now India's gentleman captain is very happy with the peanut of a modification to the powerplay fielding rules. The ICC has made an amendment to the rule allowing an extra fielder outside the 30 yard circle beyond the first 10 overs. Dravid rightly thinks that it will allow him and other captains to bring in a spinner within the powerplay overs and has welcomed the change - but it begs a question which my captain didn't ask. Is that all that can be done?
Even the ICC would agree, albeit grudgingly that the move to increase the powerplay duration from 15 to 20 overs has been a complete failure. The bowling captains have been very risk-averse, mostly choosing to go for the 2nd and 3rd powerplays in succession after the 1st and one can hardly blame them for it. In the few cases where an enterprising captain has taken the risk of postponing the decision, he has mostly ended up ruing the adventure. You might have seen Brian Lara who having deferred the final powerplay in the World Cup match against South Africa never got an apt opportunity to take it and ended up looking really silly when he was forced to take it in the 44th over. Fleming, arguably the best ODI captain of recent year did try experimenting but never really with much success. The fact is that the dice was loaded against any experimentation by the fielding captain.
But the batting captain? Did anyone think of that? Pass the buck to him and the situation changes dramatically. Imagine the batting captain's predicament! Should he let his rampaging openers continue unabated or wait for a cracker of an end? If he waits, he may lose the momentum. If he doesn't wait, he is letting the fielding captain - he is not hanging in suspense anymore and can rotate his bowlers freely. Noticed that? Suddenly the fielding captain is now forced to take decisions, to experiment. More decisions and more drama. Isn't that what the ICC wanted in the first place?

1 comment:

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