No please don’t get me wrong. I have no sadistic traits, at least they have not been discovered yet. But today I was actually enjoying the discomfort of Dilshan and company. Too bad that it had to be abandoned mid way. But I will get to that a bit later.
Frankly I did not enjoy the current India-Sri Lanka series at all. The bat dominated a bit too much and it was not bowler’s fault at all. The pitches were so very placid and the boundaries so very short. I absolutely cringed every time Arun Lal said “That’s a monstrous hit” when it actually landed only 73 meters away. Also I can bet Dilshan would not be playing that scoop on a Perth or Durban track.
Here is what Harsha Bhogle has to say on Rajkot’s match
Rajkot was a cricket occasion, not a cricket match. It was a spectacle, not a contest. It wasn’t good for cricket.
He further says
The ball was rendered incapable of throwing up a challenge. At the heart of cricket’s magic, the reason all of us are so enamoured by it, is the fact that every ball is a contest. The bowler conceives the challenge, sets his line, his length, his movement, the placement of fielders, and presents it to the batsman, who must then unravel it and respond.
And then there is another challenge. It is relentless and it must be that way. The moment the delivery of the ball to a batsman is no longer a challenge, the contest ceases. It is no longer cricket. Or maybe it would be to the same extent that boxing would remain a sport if each boxer is allowed three minutes at a punching bag and the winner determined by who hits the bag better.
Many cheered, as they might have in ancient Rome when Christians were thrown to the lions. The hitting of a boundary was no longer an event, no longer a victory for the bat over the ball. It was routine, almost par for the course. Was the bowler thinking of getting a batsman out or was he fearing where he was going to be hit? Was there a sigh of relief at a dot ball? Did submission accompany a bowler back to his mark in place of aggression.
This brings us back to today’s game. Of course the pitch had variable bounce. A few went to the keeper on second bounce and a few leapt up from length in the same over. But didn’t batsmen play on uncovered pitches earlier without the protective armour. Also suppose, just suppose, had the bounce been consistent with pronounced movement of the seam, would Arun Lal, Ravi Shastri and even the venerable Sunil Gavaskar called this a good pitch? I doubt. Because now the definition of a good pitch is when the batsman can just plonk his foot and hit through the line without caring for line and length.
I wonder would we see bowling machines instead of bowlers in the team in the future because pretty soon no body would want to be a bowler.