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Dull games galore, no point in the system

india Updated: Dec 05, 2010 23:00 IST
Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra
Hindustan Times

What happens when at least the first two days of a game are rained off? The result become predictable, and so does the line of attack - fine-tuned to tot up maximum possible points.

Delhi and Saurashtra found themselves in a similar situation a few days back. With not a single ball bowled in the first two days of the contest, the plan for the remaining two was pretty simple. Win the toss, bat first on the flat Rajkot track, and pile up enough runs consuming most of the time to ensure the opposition doesn't have a chance to grab lead.

Saurashtra skipper won the toss, and declared at lunch on the last day, leaving Delhi to score at an unrealistic eight runs an over to for the first innings lead. Given the unrealistic target, Delhi played for a draw, and shared a point.

The question is, isn't the good game being compromised in current points system? A first innings lead, even of only one run, is worth three points, which isn't a fair assessment. For an outright win, a team gets five points, and one more as bonus for an innings or 10-wickets win. While holding on to a draw even after conceding the lead fetches one point, the first innings lead, which is of utmost importance, brings three points.

Now, if a point system promotes dull games, isn't it flawed? The easiest way to win is to bat for the longest time, and then hope for the opposition to cave in. If time and runs are all that matter, who will care about the scoring rate? And why would anyone declare to set up the match for a thrilling finish?

My suggestion is to take a leaf out of the English system where a team gets points for taking wickets and scoring runs, not for taking the lead. Say, for instance, the batting team should get a point each for every 75 runs scored after 125 runs with a maximum of 5 points. And the points should be available only till the 125th over, which means the team by then should score 425 runs at a healthy rate of 3.4 runs per over. Similarly, the fielding team would get a point each for two wickets, a maximum of five for 10 wickets. So if the team batting first opts to bat for more than 125 overs, only the fielding team will have a chance to gain points, which will encourage teams to declare.

The same applies to the second innings, but with another five points reserved for winning the game. This will ensure that teams set up the match to have realistic chance of a result. But the rider is that the losing team will hold on to its bowling and batting points.

In the current scenario a loss means zero points, which discourage teams to punt. With so many points on offer, teams will have the chance to make up for those extra five points in the following games.