It looks like a classic case of trying to fix something that is not broken. It is understood the subcontinent lobby is not happy with the two new-ball rule for one-dayers and tried its best for a recommendation to get it scrapped at this week’s ICC Chief Executives Meeting in Dubai.
Their fear is that it affects spinners, their strong point. One wonders if these Boards consulted their bowlers. Good chance, they didn’t. The opposition ironically comes at a time when slow bowlers are dominating in the 50-over game, the proof being the ICC ODI bowlers’ rankings where four in the top-five are spinners.
India are said to be the biggest opponents of the rule, when their spinner, Ravindra Jadeja, is No 2 in the rankings. West Indies’ Sunil Narine is No 1, Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal is third and Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath fifth. England’s Steve Finn is in the only pacer in the top five, at fourth.
For the BCCI, the fact that their biggest one-day success in recent times, winning the ICC Champions Trophy, proves that the rule suits their bowling strengths.
Played in England and Wales, the tournament was supposed to expose the spinners. It turned out to be the opposite as India’s spin duo of Jadeja and R Ashwin combined with devastating effect to lead India to victory. Jadeja was the highest wicket-taker of the championship with 12 wickets in five matches while Ashwin claimed eight in five. Their best show came in the final, where Jadeja and Ashwin cut through the heart of the hosts’ line-up with two wickets each.
“I am surprised by the statement that the two new-ball rule is detrimental to our spinners when they are doing so well,” said former India spinner, Maninder Singh.
“Overall, the spinners are dominating (the rankings) because they are getting to bowl with a better ball. In the case of a Kookaburra ball (used across the board for ODIs), it is better to bowl when it is newer and the seam is protruded. The seam wears off as it gets older,” he explained.
Analysing the success of the Indian spinners, former leg-break bowler, Narendra Hirwani, said: “The white Kookaburra ball has thicker leather and so gets soft early. Hence spinners prefer bowling with a newer ball as it is hard. Also, accuracy is the key when bowling with the new ball and Jadeja and Ashwin both are known for their accuracy.”