Should we call this cricket 2.0? Getting players involved in running the game? Well, that’s what the Australian Cricketers’ Association seems to be trying, by asking cricketers what can be done to improve the game. Well, the concept is interesting. Some of the findings (the focus was on Twenty20) are even more so. Of course, they seem to fly in the face of logic and certainly contravene tradition (as all change tend to), but out of such fantasy comes progress.
First up is the suggestion to have four stumps. Aesthetic and terminological (Which one is the middle stump? Which the off and leg?) challenges apart, anything that is even loosely pro-bowler appeals to me tremendously. (An easier solution could be to just increase the size of the stumps to give bowlers a better target to aim at.) For the same reason, giving a bowler an extra over if s/he takes a wicket is a thought. And abolishing leg byes is a most sensible idea Steve Waugh had mooted long ago – a leg bye is neither a function of the batsman’s skill (like a run off the bat is, for the most part) nor a failure on the part of the fielding side (as in the case of a bye or a no-ball or wide).
Giving a batsman a free hit off the first ball s/he faces is a curious suggestion. Who came up with the idea? What were they thinking? And what was the question that led to this?
A couple of minor suggestions came up as well. Like players wearing shorts in matches. Well, honestly, I’ m not too sure I agree with that. Especially with all the protective equipment players wear, they may look a wee bit odd with just a bit of skin peering between those pads, thigh pads, etc. And whether players have names or nicknames on the back of their shirts is unlikely to affect their performance or their marketability, so it’s one of those questions that can be ignored.
The use of microphones has registered a high degree of acceptance. I see a lot of opposition to this, especially from coaches. Will talking to the media distract a captain or a fielder? And will it capture sledging a little more clearly? As a viewer, I’d rather not hear what goes on, and stick to just watching the game.