Imbalance between bat and ball in ODI cricket must be looked into: Tendulkar

Mumbai: The legendary Sachin Tendulkar on Friday said that One-day cricket is heavily tilted towards the batters and the imbalance between the bat and the ball must be looked into, adding that Test format needs to be played on all kinds of pitches to keep the fans interested.

The objectivity of playing the ODI format, in the age of T20 cricket, is already a subject of debate and discussion with many of the opinion that it’s enough for the game to keep just the shortest version and the five-day format, considered the real test of a cricketer. The iconic cricketer firmly believes that the game has become faster after the introduction of the slam-bang T20 format and it’s time to do something that will ensure that equilibrium remains in ODI cricket.

“You blink and the match is over. I feel all three formats are different but somewhere I feel one-day format (is something that) people need to have a look at closely,” Tendulkar told a select group of journalists ahead of his 50th birthday. “I feel there is an imbalance between the bat and the ball. It is too much at this point in time in favour of the batters,” he opined The cricket legend turns 50 on Monday.

“I feel there is an imbalance between the bat and the ball. It is too much at this point in time in favour of the batters,” he opined The cricket legend turns 50 on Monday.

Tendulkar said bowlers need to be given some advantage because the current rules make it a batters’ game, especially with two white balls in play and field restrictions allowing batters to have a lot of freedom without being adequately challenged.

“With two new balls even in the 25th over the ball is literally 12 or 13 overs old. There is no such thing as reverse swing or the discolouration of the ball, or the ball becoming soft.

“I find these factors really put pressure on the bowling side and there were challenges (earlier) that one did not pick the ball because of the discolouration. That is an advantage of the bowler, and with field restrictions we need to balance that out,” he said.

“Give some advantage to the bowlers as well – I find that element missing right now. Also with the introduction of five fielders in the ring, I spoke with some spinners and the overall experience is that ‘we cannot change our line’.

“An off-spinner is forced to bowl on the middle-stump line. They cannot deceive a batter. The overall opinion is that ‘we have to settle for a defensive line’. I would say that some adjustments need to be made,” Tendulkar said.

Tendulkar recalled suggestions he made earlier of dividing One-day cricket into four innings of 25 overs each, saying that such a change would provide both teams equal opportunities in similar conditions which at the moment get tilted heavily in favour of one side owing to the coin toss.

“I had spoken about the solution sometime ago, to have a 25-25 over match. It is a 50-over match but you bat first for 25 overs, then the other team bats for 25 overs and you start again from where you stopped at the first 25 overs.

“The only reason I am trying to say this is because a small coin can decide the fate of the game. It is no more a competition between two sides, one side is favoured by the conditions because the captain has won the toss,” he recalled.

“Once the ball gets wet, spinners do not get any purchase off the surface nor are the seamers able to swing the ball. If at all, anything, off the seam for a while.

“It does not allow the bowling side to come back in the game. In dewy conditions it is really difficult. If we divide these overs, and get both the sides bat in dry and wet conditions, so is the case with the bowlers, of course the one who has won the toss has 10 or 15 per cent advantage, not 90 per cent. Right now it is 90 per cent advantage and that needs to balance out a bit,” he claimed.

The ‘Little Master’ said Test cricket must have all kinds of pitches and tracks that assist seam movement are not the only ‘good surfaces’.

“The game is becoming faster and the newer generation wants to see things happening. Who starts a conversation? Now I am speaking a different language, the person who always asks a question is a bowler. If that pitch itself is not interesting enough, bowlers will have no option but to choose a defensive line and play a patience game,” he said.

Tendulkar added, “Batters also know that if there is not much happening off the surface, ‘I do not need to do anything out of the box’. In return, what happens? There are lesser eyeballs. We are also looking to revive Test cricket, we continue to say it is our most challenging format. But is it interesting enough for the spectators? That is why I feel (about) the quality of cricket and not quantity.” He also felt that different balls in use in different locations around the globe make Test cricket challenging.

“There need to be good surfaces but they cannot always seam around, they can still spin, bounce a little extra or not as much, sometimes they are as fast or slow, and that is what Test cricket is all about.

“You need to travel around the world, play with Kookaburra or Dukes or SS or SG ball in India. Test cricket is all about playing on different surfaces and different opposition and one has to be good enough to adjust to all challenges.”