New Delhi: The old game of bat and ball has taken a tectonic shift with the arrival of bigger, fatter willows. When such bats are used as hammers, there's no proverbial cover for poor bowler. This has been the popular narrative so far, let alone the occasional hues and cries over ball tampering.
Many have already concluded that the modern day cricket is hugely in favour of batsman, placing the sport in bizarre imbalance for everyone.
This imbalance can end for good, if the International Cricket Council (ICC) heeds to Barry Richards' advice. According to the South African legend, authorities should legalise ball tampering as a way to redress this unfair imbalance between bat and ball.
"All I want is a 50-50 contest, which it is not now... If it continues the way it is, kids will only want to bat. There will be no bowlers and the game will decline," the former batsman was quoted as saying by News Ltd.
The 69-year-old also said that besides allowing ball tampering, authorities ought to impose restrictions on bat making and apply relaxation in harsh leg-side bowling rules to make the game even between bat and ball.
"The pressing of cricket bats also has to be controlled and the thickness in their edges. Maybe there can also be a designated sweet spot area for bats, ours used to be about the size of a 50 cent piece but now they are much bigger.”
"You could also relax cricket’s leg-side rules a bit. These are just a few of my ideas, because batsmen have it too easy these days."
About the art of reverse swing, the batting legend said, “Reverse swing is an art. Let the bowlers rub the ball in the dirt if they want because not all bowlers can produce reverse swing.”
Recently, ICC's chief executive David Richardson's suggestion to put a clamp down on the bigger size cricket bats have received with contempt from various corners.
Last July, the World Cricket Committee (of Marylebone Cricket Club) – a 14-member panel of former and current players – decided against placing any restrictions on bat sizes. And any change on the rule requires MCC's approval.
In such a situation, it seems a distant dream to expect ICC to allow bowlers to tamper with the ball. But the cricket's world governing body should give some serious thoughts on how to make the gentleman's game an even playing field.