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The Endangered Species

March 18, 2010

I have been a doubter of the IPL from the beginning. Uninspired team names, pointless cheerleaders, camera angles constantly zooming in on celebrity team owners, barrage of bad advertising, all that, it turns out can be tuned out. It’s what’s left after all that, that’s a matter for concern.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still compelling viewing, atleast some of the time. Watching Tendulkar eviscerate the Daredevils on their turf was a treat to watch. Mumbai’s new finds, Saurabh Tiwary and Ambati Rayadu have already done enough to begin whispers of selection for the India T20 squad. Yusuf Pathan‘s 100 off 35-odd balls must have had some clean hitting. Cycle through all of the teams and you’ll come across a few names who’re playing like the force is with them. Pause, and you’ll find that they’re all batsmen.

The only bowlers making news are those that were able to slip in their overs for single digit economies. Which is fine if the bowler in question is the Gavin Larsen/ Kumar Dharamasena type who’s role is to restrict scoring and getting the odd wicket by annoying the crap out of the batsman. But when out and out strike bowlers are reduced to looking to slip in changeups and slow bouncers to avoid being deposited in the stands, I have a problem.

With the rationale that higher the number of runs scored in a game, the more exciting it is, the boundary ropes keep getting brought further in, pitches keep getting lower and bats get made with enough wood in them to account for the odd forest, I foresee extinction of the endangered species, the fast bowler. It’s bad enough when the bowler thunders in for 30 meters, let’s go of the ball at 140kph, pitches on a respectable length and gets thumped through the line by a batsman already waiting on the front foot, but when awkward flails find edges and loop over boundary ropes, why would any kid sign up to be cannon fodder?

With some of the quickest bowlers around only managing middle-of-the-pack economy and strike rates, most teams are likely to evolve into 9 batsmen units with a couple of bowlers who specialise in bowling 6 different slower balls an over.

What I’d really like is to see Dirk Nannes, Shane Bond, MS Gony and Co. to clang a few helmets, bruise a few ribs, thud into a few arm guards. To have the batsman know that if they’re going to charge down the pitch, they better know how to deal with the one that does not pitch in their half of the pitch and the only change of pace is an increase.

I want the batsman to wonder how many weeks it takes for a cracked rib to heal before stepping out to swat the new ball over long on.

Save our fast bowlers. Let some grass grow on our pitches.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Asha permalink
    March 23, 2010 3:49 pm

    As someone who is a more a fan of good writing than of good cricket, I really enjoyed this post.
    No other comments makes me sad but I hope enough people read it and appreciated it.

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