Hyderabad six-fest reduced the IPL and cricket to a charade

Heinrich Klaasen

I have always watched cricket, and loved doing so because it is a contest. A contest between bat and ball. Two very different sets of skills in combat. Bowlers are as much stakeholders of the game as batters, and that’s what makes the sport what it is. If you render bowlers of the quality of Pat Cummins, Jasprit Bumrah, Gerald Coetzee and Bhuvneshwar Kumar into punching bags, it could be anything else but cricket. What we witnessed last night wasn’t sport. It was a bastardisation of the game we love. 

Batters hitting sixes and fours at will, while the bowlers appeared pathetic onlookers in front of the onslaught. It just wasn’t right. You don’t want to keep cheering for sixes and fours. If you wish to do so, you can go to YouTube and pick out a highlights package to enjoy. For a game of intensity, you want a contest and that doesn’t mean a boundary-hitting one.  

Are we then saying that bowlers of the calibre of Cummins and Bumrah are no good? Are we reducing them to sideshows who have little or no part to play in the game? Why are they there then? What about the skills that they are known for? Why are such skill sets being blunted by a track which doesn’t make for decent cricket?

In a T20 game, 523 runs were scored in 40 overs, a rate of over 13 an over. Really? In this greed to make sure that there are fours and sixes – there were 31 and 38 of them, by the way – and the crowds get their money’s worth, we are hurting the sport. The IPL is what it is because the cricket is solid. It isn’t played with a ping-pong ball. That was what it looked at times last night, and it wasn’t fair on the bowlers.

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At the Eden Gardens too, more than 200 was scored in each innings. But then, there was a difference. Quality bowlers had an impact, and that’s what it is about. Sunil Narine, for example, bowled superbly well, while T Natarajan too had an impact. Harshit Rana’s last over was excellent, and that was what won KKR the game. If the bowler isn’t able to showcase his skill at all on a surface, what is he even doing out there? Why play the game at all?

Source: IPL

The BCCI, as custodians of the IPL, should ask a few questions of the curator. What was the thought behind a pitch like this? What was intended? Is it actually helping the game? And is it going to enrich the IPL going forward? On a wicket like this, records will tumble. Batters will pad their statistics and make merry. But the same batter will struggle on a decent wicket where Bumrah or Cummms can showcase their skill.

After a point, I wasn’t even bothered who won or lost. The moot point was that the game had lost. We had reduced it to a charade and that’s unacceptable. We had reduced the bowlers to non-actors in the play, and left them feeling violated. That’s a crime. For the sake of the sport, we need to do better. One can only hope that we don’t see another game like this in the remainder of the IPL.

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