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Dhoni: Is the finisher finished?

How many of you remember Endulkar episode? Media hounded a 34-year-old Sachin Tendulkar in 2007. In every second article, people were reminded that Tendulkar has passed his prime and no longer deserved a place in Team India.

Tendulkar, however, thankfully did not bog down to the pressure created by the media. Selectors, considering Sachin’s iconic status in the world cricket, also did not gather enough courage to drop him. Torrid 2007 passed and Sachin got his mojo back. He showed the world that he was still the master of his game. After the Endulkar episode, Sachin was judged ICC Cricketer of the year in 2010.

A 36-year-old MS Dhoni, is facing the same issue. Since 2015 World Cup, he is being pestered about retirement in every press conference. His every inning in IPL 2017 was scrutinized like never before. Cricket experts have already started to write his obituary. Ex- captains are questioning his place in Team India. In short, circumstances are being created to force him to say goodbye to cricket but Dhoni has, surprisingly, found support from overseas players. Some even went on to say that Dhoni has done enough for Indian cricket and has earned the right to say goodbye to cricket as and when he likes.

Now, there are two questions hanging around here. First, “Does any out-of-form player has right to decide on the timing of his retirement?” Second, “Can Dhoni get his mojo back like Sachin did in 2008 or is it all over for one of the greatest ODI players?”

To answer the first question.

When a player is playing an individual game – where he is representing none but himself – he has every right to continue playing even if he is in bad form. You cannot ask a player to retire because he is no longer winning trophies. An outsider may see a match as a matter of winning or losing, a player sees it as something that he enjoys doing. So, a player in individual sport representing oneself has every right to take a call on his retirement as and when he likes because his game in not affecting the performance of any team. Leander Paes can go on playing tennis as an individual but to play in Davis Cup for India, he would have to fight for his place.

In a team sport, an out-of-form player has no right to decide on the timing of his retirement. A team becomes great not by letting underperforming great players continue playing but by bringing in new players and grooming them to replace great ones. So, an underperforming Dhoni has no right to take a call on his retirement as and when he likes. He can continue to play as long as he fits into team’s scheme of things and not because he wants to continue playing. Remember, the team is always bigger than the individuals, however great individual maybe.

Now, the answer to the second question.

In last two year, Dhoni’s exploits with the bat are nowhere near to what it used to be. He is now a shadow of his former self. He averages 38.80 in 24 ODIs since 2015 World Cup. In away matches, his average drops to 25.87 in 11 matches and that’s a staggering fall for a man whose overall average in ODIs is more than 50.

However, Dhoni is not completely out of form. He shows flashes of brilliance amidst mediocrity: the century against England in the last ODI series that India played, the match winning 80 runs in October 2016 against New Zealand, few scintillating knocks in IPL 2017. These flashes of brilliance convince us that Dhoni, although going down the hill, still has prowess that can help team India in ODIs.

In the second half of Dhoni’s career, he changed his batting style. He started slow, took the match til the end and won the match by hitting lusty blows in the last few overs.

We have seen many episodes of “Dhoni and the last over”. Two years back, there was certainty that Dhoni will win it for India in the last few overs. His nerves of steel and his powerful hitting sealed matches for India many times but, of late, he is not able to win matches for India by hitting lusty blows in last over.

Nowadays, whenever Dhoni comes to bat, he plays in binary mode. He either blocks the ball or hits them out of the ground. He struggles to rotate the strike in the middle overs that makes required run rate go higher. If Dhoni gets out in such situations, it becomes impossible for other players, with their limited capabilities, to score at an exceptionally high-required run rate and win matches for India. Even if Dhoni remains till last, bowlers have now found chinks in his armour. They have now identified weak areas where Dhoni is not capable of hitting big shots. Wide yorkers, full outside off deliveries and short pitch stuff have become go-to delivery for bowlers as shown by Rabada, Bravo etc. in recent times.

Dhoni often says that if he is not able to finish the match than a younger player would find it even harder to do it. It is true to some extent but if a youngster is not given chance how would team India get a finisher for future?

One good thing about Dhoni is that he still puts the price on his wicket and does not gets out easily. Recently, team India made a good move by sending Dhoni at no. 4. It is a step in right direction. It is going to help Dhoni to take his time to settle and play the role of run accumulator and leave the finishing job for youngsters like Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya etc.

Another thing that goes in Dhoni’s favour is his wicket keeping. Although the wickets go in the account of bowlers but some of them are just because of Dhoni’s brilliance. His super-quick hands behind the wicket and sharp reflexes do the magic that no other wicketkeeper can match. He also brings in his crucial inputs when India is in the field. He is still guiding force of Captain Virat Kohli, which was evident during last ODI & T20 series that India played.

These things help Dhoni to keep his place in team India but believe it or not, Champions Trophy is going to be acid-test for Dhoni. If he fails here, we may never see him wearing the blue jersey again. Players become great not only because they know how to perform but also because they know how to bounce back when they are down and out. At the age of 36, time is running out for Dhoni but hopefully, he will bounce back.

Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going and Dhoni is certainly toughest of them all.

Most memorable tournament for Dhoni as a captain

As the curtain draws on Dhoni’s captaincy, if and when Mahendra Singh Dhoni decides to writes his memoir, he is likely to choose Champions Trophy 2013 as his most memorable tournament as captain.

Just before Champions Trophy 2013, Spot fixing saga in IPL came to light and Indian team’s reputation took a big blow. Dhoni’s honesty was itself questioned. Team’s morale was down and no one believed that India could go on and win Champions Trophy 2013 in English Conditions which didn’t suit them.

In such turmoil, Dhoni took a young team devoid of stars like Yuvraj, Zaheer, Gambhir, Harbhajan etc to England and took one after another unconventional decisions. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan started to open the innings and became pillars of India’s success in CT2013 and afterwards. His gamble on Ravindra Jadeja finally paid off and he ended as most successful bowler of CT 2013 in conditions that was not much suited for spin bowling and also contributed valuable runs with bat.

2 years back at same place, Naseer Hussain commented about Indian fielders as donkeys on the pitch and in CT 2013, young and agile fielders of Indian team shut everyone’s mouth with exceptional fielding standards. It also displayed that Dhoni was right is giving importance to fitness and fielding in team’s selection.

India was cruising in all three departments in CT2013 but all that seemed not enough as India scored just 129 runs in the rain curtailed final. Before England team started their chase in final, Dhoni gave his famous huddle speech,

He said “God (referring to rain) is not coming to save us. If you want to win this trophy we will have to fight it out. We are the number one-ranked side so let us show it that they will have to fight for these 130-odd runs. So let us not look for any outside help.”

It looked all but certain till 17th over that England will win CT2013, when Dhoni, to the surprise of everyone, threw the ball to Ishant Sharma who changed the match with two wickets in consecutive balls.

When Tredwell missed the last ball and made it certain that India won the CT2013, Dhoni’s mask of calmness slipped and he jumped with unbridled joy. It showed how much he valued the victory of CT2013. He not only won CT2013 but also silenced his critics. He displayed how to keep pressure off the team in such turmoil, he displayed how a team full of young players who are hungry for success and have passion for the game are more likely to get success than team full of stars but devoid of passion for the game and hunger for the success.

In that tournament, Dhoni and his team ticked every box, that has to be his favourite tournament as Captain.

MS Dhoni’s lasting legacy as captain

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is arguably India’s best captain but there is no denying the fact that he is India’s most successful captain. For the record, no other captain in the world won all three ICC Trophy i.e T20 World Cup, ODI World Cup, and Champions Trophy except MS Dhoni. He has done many firsts for India as captain and we all have those records on tip of our tongues but what is the change that Dhoni brought in the Indian team that he captained for almost a decade? What is his legacy?

1.Cultivating Winning mentality in the shorter format of the game.

Real change in the attitude of the Indian team started under Sourav Ganguly. He made the Indian team a bunch of fighters. He taught India how to reach finals but sadly, on most of the occasions India faltered on big stages and lost big finals. Under Sourav Ganguly, India reached 14 ODI finals but could win only one final and three finals ended with no result. Under Dhoni, things changed drastically and India took a giant leap. India learned how to win big finals and the winning habit was cultivated in players. Earlier, India started as underdogs in finals, under Dhoni India became favourites in the finals and the rich haul of trophy under Dhoni is the testimony to the fact. Under Dhoni, India won eight finals and lost only five.

2.Backing Young players and leaving the core behind for the next captain.

Dhoni’s first ODI trophy as captain came in Australia in 2008 CB series. Beating Australia, a dominant team for two decades, in their own backyard, in first two of the three finals when Ricky Ponting infamously claimed that they would finish off India in first two finals, was one of the sweetest victories that India grabbed. But, the story before that series was not at all rosy. India dropped two big names i.e Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid from ODI squad and Dhoni famously said that sometimes it is very important to send the message across. Since then he always backed youngsters with an eye on the future.

Sourav Ganguly is always credited for building team India by backing players like Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan etc but Dhoni is never given due credit in this regard. Not long ago, people mocked Dhoni for backing players like R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Murali Vijay, Rohit Sharma who have now become the core of Virat Kohli’s invincible test team. Dhoni reaped the benefit of the team created by Sourav Ganguly. Similarly, before leaving he has built the core of the team to make India champion team under Virat Kohli.

3.Making Fitness and fielding key criteria for team selection.

While watching cricket in the late 90s and the early 2000s, Indian cricket fans always rued about Indian fielding and fitness standards compared to what Aussies or Proteas had. Dhoni came and tinkered with Indian thought process of not giving importance to the fielding and especially of not giving importance to the fitness. He always stressed on the importance of the fitness. He created a furor in 2012 Australian series when he categorically mentioned that only two out of Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, and Sachin Tendulkar could be included in playing XI because of their inconsistency in the fielding. Merit and demerits of that decision can be debated but that sent a clear message to players eyeing a place in the team that fitness and fielding have become key criteria in the team’s selection. Dhoni himself led by example. He, all through his career, remained one of the fittest and fastest player on the pitch. The generation of players that came later are super fit and are among best fielders of the world with the new in-charge Virat Kohli leading in both department,

4.Unhurried approach to the game and assuredness of Champions

It is true to some extent that a captain is as good as his team but a captain certainly changes the way his team plays. Ricky Ponting and his team played firebrand cricket. Sourav Ganguly had aggression and that reflected in the attitude of his team. Anil Kumble had determination in his game and that reflected in his team. Who can forget that famous 2008 Perth test,

In the era of the aggressive brand of cricket, Dhoni brought an unhurried approach to the game. Before, Dhoni’s ascendency as captain, Indian team were jittery in big chases and nervous on big occasions. There were many occasion when India collapsed after being in good position. The panic button was pressed more often than needed.  Dhoni dismantled the panic button of the team and gave a loud call for calmness. The situation gradually changed in years to come under his captaincy. From being a bad chaser, India became chase masters. In last two years of his captaincy, it was more because of Virat Kohli but Dhoni was not far behind when we check the record of last decade.  In his tenure as captain, In 43 innings while chasing, Dhoni scored 1558 runs, for winning cause, at a staggering average of 91.64. The attitude of Dhoni rubbed off on players as well and Indian team under him possessed assuredness of Champions unlike the nervousness of underdogs earlier seen.

5.Stomach to take big unconventional decision

Last over to Joginder Sharma in 2007 T20 World Cup final, promoting himself ahead of in-form Yuvraj Singh in 2011 World Cup Final or giving over to most expensive bowler Ishant Sharma in the Champions trophy final when England was cruising and needed only 28 runs in three overs or the infamous decision of denying strike to Ambati Rayudu. He took unconventional decisions, backed it, and most often ended on the right side of it, bringing many laurels to India. Call him lucky, call him “The great gambler” or call him a genius, give him whatever name you like but you cannot deny that Dhoni had stomach for taking big unconventional decisions when stakes were high.    

It is really the end of an era that gave many glorious days to the Indian cricket. When Dhoni was once asked question on managing old and young players. He answered, “From Kishore Kumar, we have gone to Sean Paul”. It goes for the captaincy too, we are moving from an ear of Kishore Kumar to Sean Paul.

Over to you Virat Kohli.

This article is also published here at sportskeeda.

 

Sourav Ganguly : Man who changed Indian Cricket

 

No Indian Cricket player has been ever subjected to kind of varied reactions/emotions that Sourav Ganguly faced. He was hated one moment and loved the very next. People and experts loved to hate him. His arrogance, his sense of entitlement of being King of Indian Cricket, his clumsy fielding and running, all of it made people to hate him but all his flaws were forgotten when he played his exquisite shots through the off-side, his captaincy, his never say die attitude while captaining India was loved by every cricket lover in India.

His biggest contribution was that he made Indian Team “bunch of fighters”. They started to see opponent in the eyes and started to play fearless cricket. He backed players who he thought would turn into match winners and brought in players like Yuvraj, Harbhajan, Sehwag, Zaheer Khan in team India and they turned out to be match winners in coming years. Under his captaincy a road-map was created to make India winners at overseas tests which resulted in India being No. 1 test team under Dhoni. He created the solid foundation which was responsible for India’s success in first decade of new millennium.

Cheers to Dada and cheers to all the success that we saw under Sourav Ganguly Official

And remember, of all the characters of World Cricket, only Ganguly could have done, what he did at Lords Balcony. have a look

 

What Anil Kumble brings on the table as head coach

Anyone, who was closely following ‘the great coach hunt’ of BCCI, knew that the final battle was between Ravi Shastri and Anil Kumble. By picking Anil Kumble over Ravi Shastri, BCCI has cleared two things. First, that the Indian cricket is aiming to be the number one in the purest form of cricket i.e. Test cricket and; second, by giving just one year contract to Kumble, BCCI has made sure that the stature of Kumble would not get him longer run and he needs to prove his worth in next one year to get a contract extension.

There is huge hue and cry over why only one year contract was given to Anil Kumble and not a full contract of 3-4 years like many previous coaches were given. Amid all this hue and cry, we must not forget that however great a player Kumble was, he has no prior coaching experience and many greats of the game, in past, have failed in their coaching stints. One year seems too less to prove someone’s worth as coach but India is set to play 17 test matches along with few ODIs and an all-important ICC Champions Trophy in coming year and that is good enough number of matches to assess the performance of any coach. Considering other sports like football, where more than one manager is sacked within a year if they fail to deliver the desired result, one year is good enough for Anil Kumble to prove his worth.

Kumble is an icon of international cricket. His 619 Test wickets and match winning spells are the testimony to his greatness, his personal description will be full of adjectives of praises but the pertinent question is what will he bring on the table as head coach of Team India.

One thing that is certain with the arrival of Anil Kumble is that he will bring with him the art of putting heart and soul in the game. His grit, determination, and never say die attitude is sure to rub off on the Indian players.

There is a new found aggression and spunk in Team India for which credit should go to Virat Kohli but very often Ravi Shastri is credited for it. There is a fixation in media over new aggressive Team India but aggression never wins you matches, it may inspire some players like Virat Kohli to perform at their best even in pressure cooker situation created by aggressive brand of cricket but most of the Indian players or players from any other country are likely to fail in this kind of situation as they can’t tolerate the heat generated by aggressiveness.

Kumble will keep these young and super-charged Indian players in check and keep them level headed. He will pass on his art of putting heart and soul in the game, art of being gritty to this new breed of Indian cricketers, which is more likely to win matches for India than the aggression. We don’t have to look back beyond 2008 to know how grit and determination makes a team win matches from impossible situations. Remember the famous Perth Test match, after that infamous Test at Sydney in 2008. Remember the frayed tempers that Sydney Test saw, remember the contempt that the Aussies had shown to the Indians but Indian players remained determined under captaincy of Kumble and  the ‘Gritty Indians’ beat the ‘Aggressive Aussies’ in the conditions (fastest Perth pitch) that was not supposed to help Indians and halted the 16 match winning streak of the Aussies.

Another aspect of Indian cricket that needs an immediate fix is bowling in Test matches. Fast bowlers are wayward most of the times. They don’t stick to a set line and length and don’t bowl to the set field and who better than Kumble to guide them. Bowling at same line and length and bowling according to the set field is an art that Kumble mastered and did it day in and day out for Team India.

Indian spinners have also struggled to get any purchase out of the pitch in overseas conditions and again who better than Anil Kumble to guide them on how to make best of their limited abilities and the limiting conditions. Remember when Kumble arrived at international cricket, he didn’t have vicious turn like Warne or Muralitharan. He was considered a bowler with limited abilities but still he went on to take 619 Test wickets. It displays he knows how to turn one’s limitation into one’s asset and will pass on that secret to the Indian bowlers who find it hard to be successful in overseas conditions.

Another thing that Kumble can pass on is his winning mentality and the secret of performing better as a team in overseas conditions as he was a part of India’s best touring side that, between 2003 and 2008, challenged world’s best teams in their den and created a sound base for India to be the number one ranked Test team which India eventually achieved in 2009.

Modern day coaching is more about man management than about imparting skills and, Kumble, in the past, has shown that he stands by his players and gives them the confidence to perform at their best at the international arena. Everyone knows how Kumble had brought Sehwag back in team India, even when selectors were not so keen to give him a chance but Kumble’s faith paid off and Sehwag won many matches for India after coming back in the team at the insistence of Kumble. Similarly, Kumble made sure that the team and BCCI stand right behind Harbhajan Singh after the “Monkeygate” incident in 2008. He has a proven track record in man management that will come handy when he takes over as India’s head coach in the coming tour of the West Indies.

Indian cricket has a history of success when coach works silently behind the curtains like John Wright or Gary Kirsten did. Captain-coach combination of Kohli and Kumble can become this generation’s combination of Ganguly and John Wright where one is expressive, passionate and takes the world head on whereas the other is not in love with the camera and works silently behind the curtains. Kumble will be the perfect foil for current Test captain Virat Kohli.

Under John Wright and Ganguly, India learnt how to challenge world’s best teams, under Gary Kirsten and Dhoni, India learnt how to be champions of the world, under Kumble and Kohli, maybe, India will learn how to be a dominant champion team for much longer times like West Indies was in the 1980s or Australia in late the 1990s and 2000s.

India’s tour of Zimbabwe : Dhoni’s pride at stake

Team India doesn’t have an off season. They play cricket throughout the year and on most occasions stakes are high, in such scenario, Dhoni on most occasions, at toss, utters three magical word: “Team is unchanged”. Dhoni can’t be blamed for not testing bench strength as high stakes throughout the year don’t provide him luxury of testing bench strength.

Tours like that of Zimbabwe give Team India chance to test bench strength. Most of the regular players are given rest and others’ are given chance to prove their mettle. This tour is no different. However an exception has been made this time, Dhoni is travelling to Zimbabwe for the first time since 2005.

Zimbabwe might be low ranked team but when it come to playing determined and passionate cricket, they are no less than any top team. India’s inexperienced team may find the tour not as easy as they expected.

For young players, it is going to be tough tour. Good performances in this tour may not earn them a regular spot in Team India but a bad series against Zimbabwe might shut the door of Team India for them as Indian players are expected to do better against teams like Zimbabwe whereas a bad performance against Zimbabwe is seen as the fact that player is not cut out for international cricket.

Dhoni, earlier, in his many press conferences has said that India, now a days, dont produce readymade cricketers who come and fit in international cricket, especially the bowlers. This tour is full of yougsters who have made their name in donestic cricket and IPL. It is the time for these young players to prove their captain wrong and show to the captain and the world that they have capability and skill to take world by storm.

Biggest stake in this tour is of Dhoni. People have started writing his cricketing obituary. Large section of media, cricket experts and ex-players are gunning for Dhoni’s head. It’s not that Dhoni’s captaincy skill has drastically deteriorated. He is still the same but his batting has lost some of the sheen. He is still fit, always puts price on his wicket and is among best wicketkeepers that world has seen. So question is why then everyone is gunning for his head. Answer to this question is simple , the soon to be captain, Virat Kohli, is in form of his life for last two years. He is a run machine, a winner and arguably best batsmen of this generation. His form with bat has put him at numero uno position and on the other hand Dhoni’s not so good season with bat has burdened and shackled him. Cries of removing Dhoni as captain has more to do with his not so good performance with bat than with his captaincy skill.

If Dhoni fails to perform with bat in this tour than his removal from captaincy is all but certain. Dhoni has to realise that his best place to bat in ODIs is at number 4. He has to forgo his role as finisher and has to become a run accumulator, which he is definitely capable of. It will work in India’s favour as India will get to try different players as finisher and by the time Dhoni decides to hang his boot, a replacement finisher would be ready. India will also get a better no.4 player in Dhoni which will give team India the balance that is lacking for past few years. Dhoni’s pride is at stake in this tour because a man who has won so many matches for India both as captain and as batsman is being forced out of team and to salvage his pride Dhoni has to move at no. 4 if he fails to do so this might be last series that we see Dhoni as captain of team India.

Indian Premier League : Changing the way cricket is being played

Indian Premier League has made a big impact on cricket and changed the way it is being played. T20 cricket, which originally started in 2003, was made an ICC tournament in 2007 but the popularity of T20 cricket came with inaugural edition of IPL that led to starting of numerous T20 leagues all over the world. IPL took T20 cricket to the center stage of cricketing world.

On 18th April 2008, Brendon Mccullum played a scintillating knock in inaugural match of IPL. He scored 158 runs in just 73 balls. That knock was just a glimpse to what was in the store for the future of cricket. That was the first glimpse of the changes that IPL will bring in the cricket. 9th edition of the IPL is about to finish and when we look back at all these nine seasons of IPL then we realize what massive changes IPL has brought in the cricket.

Earlier there were few players like Mccullum, Afridi and Sehwag who used to play fearless cricket while others stuck to traditional approach, even AB de Villiers was subdued at that time. After the introduction of IPL, it has unleashed monsters in cricket who know no fear. Now, there are umpteen number of cricketers who can hit the ball hardest: be it Russell, Miller, Maxwell, Butler, Smith or the new sensation Braithwaite and here we, still, haven’t talked about the big daddies of the game: Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, MS Dhoni. IPL not only popularized Sehwag’s theory of “See the ball, hit the ball” but also ingrained this theory in the brains of every batsmen.

Effects of IPL has spilled over to ODIs and even to Test cricket. Let’s first look at the stats to know exactly how IPL is affecting ODIs and Test cricket. From the start of new millennium i.e from 1st Jan 2000 till the start of IPL i.e 18th April 2008, score of 300 was crossed 185 times where post IPL it has been done for 253 times. Similarly, between 1st Jan 2000 to 18th April 2008, score of 300 or more was successfully chased 19 times whereas post IPL this number has almost doubled to 35. Similar changes are seen in Runs Per Over (RPO) in the same comparing period. RPO, between 1st Jan 2000 to 18th April 2008, hovered between 4.5 to 5.0 whereas post IPL it has gone between 5.0 to 5.5. In 2016, it stands at 5.72. In list of fastest 100 in ODIs, 5 out of first 10 belongs to post IPL era. In fastest 50 list too, 6 out of first 10 belongs to post IPL era.

New millennium has seen many changes which have tilted game in favour of batsmen. Rules have been changed to suit batsmen; bats have become broader and more powerful; pitches have become docile; all these factors helped batsmen to improve their run scoring ability but the audacity to play unconventional and innovative shots, the ability to score at brisk pace have been provided by IPL. Some of that audacity has also been transferred into traditional test cricket.

In test cricket, 300 in 4th inning is considered very difficult to score. In the history of test cricket, there are only 92 instances when score of 300 and above in 4th innings were scored. Out of those 92 instances, 30 belongs to Post IPL era. If scoring 300 in 4th innings was considered difficult than chasing 300 was considered improbable and a target of 400 was considered safer than White House. In the history of test cricket, there are only 28 instances when a score of 300 or above was chased and out of which 6 belongs to post IPL era.

One perceptible change, that doesn’t need any backing from stat, is drastic improvement in fielding standards. The kind of acrobatic and superhuman efforts that we see in post IPL era was seldom seen earlier. Fielding, which was not regarded as important aspect of cricket, has now become a major aspect and important criteria for players’ selection. One of the recent example is how Sarfaraz Khan was dropped from RCB, even after good batting performance, because of his substandard fielding.

IPL has also made cricket a game where taking decision based on stats is more important than taking decision on what brain/intuition think is right. Game is now more about exploiting weakness of opponents than banking on own strengths. All thanks to, trend of computer geniuses sitting with their laptops in IPL franchises dugouts and pronouncing judgments based on their findings. Even if bowlers feel that, on the pitch, it would be judicious to ball a short-pitch ball directed at body of batsmen. They are forced to try to bowl a yorker in death overs as the stats say that yorker can’t be hit easily. This trend of bowling as per stats leads to mistakes which could have been easily avoided. Latest example of it is Ben Stokes’ final over in T20 world cup final. A bowler who is not used to bowl yorkers tried to do that and was hit for four sixes. A Malinga, a Bumrah or a Chris Jordan could have done it because bowling yorkers is their strength but not of Ben Stokes. May be, if Ben stokes bowled to his strengths the result could have been different on that night of T20 finals.

Cricket is fast becoming game of power hitters under the influence of IPL but on the flip side, it is gradually eating up traditional grinding skills of batsmen and patience of bowlers. Now a days, test matches are finished in two-three days not because of superior skill of batsmen or bowlers but because of lack of it. T20 cricket has forced players to alter their game and forced them to forget the skill of patience. Earlier, batsmen used to have patience and they gave due respect to bowlers in conditions that was adverse for batting but now batsmen neither have patience nor have skills to survive in adverse condition which results in finishing of match in 3 days on bowler friendly pitches. Similarly, bowlers go for plenty in ODI cricket where pitches are suited for batsmen. They also need conducive track to perform. Even best of the bowlers struggle on flat tracks, only few bowlers bring changes/variations in their bowling and become successful on pitches that are conducive for batsmen. Gone are days when we saw batsmen having last laugh on bowler friendly wicket or bowlers stealing the show in adverse conditions. Only old school cricketers like Malinga, Nehra, Hashim Amla are some of the exceptions. New generation of Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Kane Williamson are few of the torch bearers of traditional cricket and yet successful in the generation of power hitters, rest of the lot have come far away from traditional cricket and made T20 style of cricket mainstream.

This article is also published here at brokencricket.com