A 'sixy' World Cup is not required

  • Ankit Banerjee, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Mar 23, 2015 06:10 IST

This World Cup, according to the pundits and pitch curators, is set to be the 'six-iest' one ever. That is because they purely took into consideration the number of sixes that would be hit in this mega spectacle. The pitches this year in the southern hemisphere are mostly drop-in pitches, not the typical Australian ones, where the ball bounces ferociously, darts in and out unpredictably and the pace is tremendous. Quite unlike the low, dusty Indian pitches.

This generation is growing up to heavy bats, smaller grounds, excessive fielding restrictions, the helicopter shot, T20 and a whole lot more. Is this helping cricket? This question can attract a real difference of opinion. But as I am the author, I will use my powers to let you know that the balance between the bat and the ball has widened immensely. This, surely, is not good news for the game.

In the past, teams surpassing the 400-run mark was unheard of. Today, even with 300-plus runs in the bank, you are not guaranteed a victory. Rohit Sharma has already hit two double tons in ODIs. If you asked the great Kapil Dev in 1983 whether this is possible, even he would have formed a very poor impression of your cricketing IQ. This is reality and this is modern day cricket, where even if you are not technically sound, you can survive. Class and quality take a back seat. Bowlers today are scared to pitch the ball up to get it to swing. Hence, the art of swinging the ball like Kapil Dev and Wasim Akram could become extinct, like leg-spin almost has.

In New Zealand, with grounds designed for rugby being used for the World Cup, the boundaries in certain portions of the ground are ridiculously smaller than the others and the batsman target these areas, which will force them to play agricultural shots. What happens next? We lose out on watching a gorgeous cover drive or an all-along-the-ground straight drive back past the bowler.

All of this brings me to the moot question again - do we go to the grounds or get glued to our TV sets to just watch sixes, or can we expect more skill and artistry from the current generation of cricketers?

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