It’s one-way traffic in favour of batsmen: Aussie legend Neil Harvey

  • Sanjjeev K Samyal, Hindustan Times, Sydney
  • Updated: Jan 22, 2016 10:57 IST
87-year-old Australian cricket legend Neil Harvey won’t attend the final ODI between India and Australia in Sydney on January 23 because he doesn’t believe the series has seen an equal contest between bat and ball. (Getty Images)

Spare a thought for the bowlers, says Australia great Neil Harvey, the sole surviving member of Don Bradman’s 1948 Invincibles side. With bowlers from both sides battered to pulp in the one-day series, the former batting great has said he can’t bear to watch another such contest and will boycott the final game at the SCG, his homeground, on Saturday.

The lowest total in the four matches so far is India’s 295, at the MCG. “It’s been one-way traffic, all in the favour of batsmen. They got to do something with the wicket, the pitch is too flat, everything is against the bowlers,” Harvey told HT.

“The poor old bowler, he doesn’t know what to, and where to, bowl.”

The 87-year-old Sydney resident won’t make the trip across the city to watch the inconsequential game, but will be travelling to New Zealand next month to watch the opening Test between Australia and New Zealand.

“It has been meaningless cricket; any sport is about equal contest,” he said. “I am going to New Zealand in the second week of February, it should be an interesting, good contest,” said Harvey, who played 79 Tests in an age when there was limited cricket action.

“The ICC has to do something, they have got to restrict the size of the bats, there has to be something in the wickets for the bowlers.”

The trend of big scores is likely to continue at the SCG, where India batsmen have always enjoyed playing. It means more toil for Kane Richardson & Co.

In a rare achievement, the 24-year-old fast bowler won the Man-of-the-Match award on Wednesday for his five-wicket haul that triggered India’s late-order collapse. But he confessed how tough it has been to bowl in this series.

“It has been a good challenge but it has been seriously tough. I think everyone knew that in the start. After that (high-scoring) series in India a couple of years ago, we were hoping, in the first two games, to get a bit of assistance for our quicks.

“Especially in Perth, knowing that we hadn’t played India there since 2004, we were looking forward to that. To be honest, the wicket wasn’t what we thought it would be, but that is the way it is around the world now. Batting is getting better and the challenge for the bowlers is to try and get people out. If it is caught in the fence or caught down leg-side, you just got to live with it and hope one day you can get a few grand wickets,” said the man who made the difference in a game where Australia made 348 and India replied with 323.

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