5 Challenges in the Modern Era of Cricket

Cricket is eternal. It can gel with any generation of people, stay relevant to date, and keep its traditional value present as its essence. There are talks of older formats of cricket vanishing down the ground, thanks to the rise of the T10s and Hundreds. Then there are technological controversies revolving around DRS, which I believe will find its solution eventually. I am sure the game can save itself, and I am not here to talk about these issues.

This article is about things that make the game dull. In other words, this is about the factors that ruin the game for its fans, making the results one-sided, and that takes away the game from the better side on the day. So let’s see them one by one.

The Toss Advantage

Toss plays a prominent role in cricket more than any other sports. In sports like football or field hockey, the toss will let the teams decide which ends of the pitch they want to play in during the first half and who kicks off. In other sports like tennis or badminton, the toss winner will decide who will serve first and the side of the court they will start with. However, this will not affect the losers of the toss significantly as there is no match-deciding factors in it.

But in cricket, it decides who sets the target and who will be chasing it. That’s a big decision, Isn’t it? Mainly because, in cricket, the playing conditions and the venue play a huge role. Teams know what to do in most cases. By looking at the pitch, it is often easy to decide what it takes to win a game. Especially in Test cricket, batting becomes ridiculously difficult on the last two days. The team that wins the toss uses this and tries to prevent themselves from batting on those tough conditions.

In fact, in the last 5 years, the top five ranked teams that won the toss went onto win the game 76 times out of 119; 15 games ended in a draw. It means that only 28 games were lost out of 119 games by the teams that have won the toss. I am pretty sure this is alarming for which ICC should find a solution. There are talks that the visiting teams should be allowed to choose who bats first, but will that solve the crime? I doubt it.

We should look at the bigger picture here and try to equate the odds that derive the advantage. Make things a little unpredictable for teams, or we can also come up with something like using a different pitch for the last two days of a Test match or alternative pitches every day.

The Dew Factor

Dew factor is one of the vital problems that kills the game. However, day-night games are almost unavoidable. They are a must to the commerce of the game–helps bring in big numbers of the crowd to the stadium and aids maximum broadcast reach. The Day-night test matches are my personal best, which, I believe, can revive the lost charm of the parent format among its fans.

But, D/N games bring in the problem of dew. As a result, batting becomes homelier with balls slipping off of the bowlers’ hands. So what can ICC do to take out the due factor?

ICC can develop an idea that involves a new ball for every two overs, at least in the T20 games. So, say, the bowling team can bowl with the same ball for the overs 1-10. And for the overs, 11-12, they get a new ball which is, of course, 10-overs old but dry. And, the process goes the same for 13-14, 15-16, 17-18, and 19-20. This might give the bowling team an edge by having a dry ball and willl help them playing at their full potential.

The Rain Factor

Imagine you are batting second in a cricket match and don’t know what target to chase. This happened in an international match recently, where Bangladesh came out to bat in the second innings without knowing the target in a rain truncated match against New Zealand.

The Duckworth Lewis system, for which I am not a big hater, is a better method to set targets on rain-truncated matches than what we had before. But is it sufficient? A big no.

The rains in cricket matches can leave the games in ruins, especially in big ICC event matches. However, ICC can keep this in control by avoiding important cricket matches at venues with rain forecasts and scheduling them on grounds with effective drainage facilities. And, of course, by bringing in a more efficient method to set targets.

Teams that are losing their charm!

Leave associate teams, teams like Sri Lanka, West Indies, and Zimbabwe, who were bigger players a few years back, have constraint themself to minnows in recent times. Sri Lanka, which used to be World Champions once, are a mere lesser power now. Their wins nowadays against the bigger teams are seen as an upset.

Sri Lankan cricket team

The more troubling part is that instead of strengthening their local clubs and domestic circles, their board has decided to start a T20 league. So have they given up on Test cricket already?

The time is not far away for the cricket fans to be bored of cricket keep played against three or four superpowers. ICC should intervene to improve teams that were once superpowers, while try to strengthening Test cricket in associate countries. I am sure people of this generation will accept the longer formats if presented to them in a much better manner.

“We will bowl first”

It has now become common to listen to cricket captains using this phrase after winning the toss “We will bowl first.”

During my school days, batting second in cricket used to be a tedious task, even for teams like Australia. Teams hardly choose to chase targets then. But now, Chasing has become the default choice for teams to win. It is the privilege the teams get to plan their innings with a set target make Chasing a merrier road.

Especially, the likes of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli have reinvented the game completely by using supreme calculations, and the latter’s consistency in chasing is truly unbelievable. If you look at those two’s chasing records, you will understand why I use their names particularly.

Possible solution: I remember once when Sachin Tendulkar came with an idea of splitting the ODIs into two 25-25 overs event, where the teams will bat for 25-overs each, followed by another 25 overs session between them. This will be more like a Test match played in a shorter time. This will allow the team that bats first to plan their innings better in the second session after knowing what their opponents have scored and are capable of. Or we can split it into 30-20 so that we will get a 20-overs game within an ODI game.

The Wrap

There is no sport without challenges and problems. Cricket, which is played by countries around the globe of different culture and time differences, is bound to have problems. Still, one can wish for matches that are unbiased, and no one team should enjoy an advantage over the other. Let the better team win!

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