Runs, runs and only runs! This has been the story of modern day cricket so far. It’s all about the batsmen vs batsmen at present. The bowlers hardly have any space to exhibit their skills.
It is often said, cricket gets more competitive and intense when conditions are bowling-friendly. When conditions are sporting, each and every run is earned. Run-scoring in contemporary cricket has become relatively easier as compared to yesteryear. There are many factors aiding to run-scoring, with the changing laws, the skills of batsmen have also evolved and the emergence of Twenty20 cricket has played a huge role in it.
In ODIs, reaching the 300-run mark was once considered to be monumental, which has now become a norm. In fact, 400 has become the new 300 in ODIs while T20 cricket continues to be a run-fest. A bowler’s life has become gloomy in this batsmen dominated era and the balance is also heavily tilted in their favour. The standards of the game is continuously evolving, but bowlers have hardly remained on the benefiting side. In this article, let’s take a look at few possible reasons why run-scoring has become easy.
1 – King-sized bats: One of the main reasons behind runs flowing easily in contemporary cricket is due to the king-sized bats. The thickness of the bat has been increased drastically in last two decades, which has enlarged the sweet spot. Earlier, a batsman had to middle the ball in order to hit it out of the park, which is not necessarily required today. A mis-hit or a thick edge is enough to see the ball flying to the boundary; hitting a maximum is no big deal with these bat thick bats.
2 – Flat pitches: Cricket is being marked as the game of sixes and boundaries. It is entertaining for the crowd to see big hits and massive runs being scored, they just love it. In order to aid batting, most of the pitches dished out these days are flat, which lacks that zip, bounce and lateral movement. There is hardly anything for the bowlers.
3 – Quick outfields: Saying that the outfields today are lightning quick would be an understatement. The ball races towards the boundary once placed in the gap. The quality of the grounds has been excellent and the ball hardly stops once struck by the willow.
4 – Two new balls: With two white ball coming into play, the hardness of the ball is always there, which makes stroke-making a bit easy. This also rules reverse swing out of the equation, which only adds to bowlers trouble. Also, the ball never gets too old throughout the innings, further reducing the role and impact of spinners. The toughness of the ball helps to maintain the bounce and it comes easily on the bat.
5 – Twenty20 instincts: The emergence of shortest format has influenced the mindset of batsmen massively. At this level, batting is more or less instinctive. Since a lot of T20 cricket is being played around the globe, batsmen are used to throwing their bat at everything. They look to garner runs off every delivery. A dot ball has become priceless in contemporary cricket, especially in the death overs.
6 – The 15-degree line: The 15-degree arm-band rule has affected many bowlers. It’s true that cricket has no place for chucking, but when a batsman has the liberty to do anything at the crease, why can’t bowlers be given some liberty? It’s an open debate though, but many bowlers have lost their steam and mojo after being reported of suspect action. Sunil Narine is the best example of a bowler, whose career has been hindered due to the 15-degree line. He was a nightmare for batsmen, but after altering his action, the effectiveness has taken a severe beating.
7 – Field restrictions: Cricket laws have undergone massive changes in the recent times, but has hardly helped the bowlers. The new laws have only made it a task for the fielding captain to set a field to. Just four fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle during the non-powerplay overs (it was five earlier). To add to bowlers woes, there is also a batting powerplay, which restricts the field in death overs.
8 – Batsmen’s ability to improvise: It would be cruel to not give the batsmen their due credits. The game has transformed and batting has become more skilful than earlier. There are new innovative strokes being played every now and then. The need, the hunger to score runs off every ball has only pushed them to improvise. A stroke that didn’t exist in cricket manual 20 years back, can be seen being executed quite easily these days. One never saw a six being hit over leg side or the keeper, which is a normality in contemporary cricket.