Richardson weighs in on state of cricket

Melbourne – The rule changes in the one day format of cricket have seemed to make life a lot tougher for bowlers.

A maximum of three men outside the circle during the batting Power Play and two new balls have allowed the batsmen to make merry and it’s been highlighted throughout the ICC Cricket World Cup so far.

“We went though a bit of a lull and it therefore forced us to look at how ODI cricket was being played .We talked about the boring period where teams were just accumulating ones and twos. I think the change in rules helped that tremendously,” Dave Richardson, the ICC chief executive said here this week.

“People say that the batsmen are too dominant, especially in the last 10 overs, the bowlers are on a  hiding to nothing that there are too many gaps in the outfield when a batsman is set on a good batting wicket. Maybe there might be a slight change there but nothing drastic,” the former South African wicketkeeper said.

But don’t expect too much of a reversal, nowadays the entertainment factor is taken into consideration when making adjustments to the game of cricket but it’s not to say that interest in any of the three formats is waning.

The World Cup has re-invigorated limited overs cricket thanks to big totals and a flurry of wickets that have seen some sides rolled cheaply. There’s been no middle ground.

“We’ve seen that the way the game is played these days it’s not about safety approach first. It’s all out attack which I think is why we’re seeing 300 or 140, nothing in between. Anything can happen.

“The strategy of the ICC has been to keep the three formats going. We believe there is a time and a place for all three.

“It’s a challenge to keep them going. The danger is that one of them will cannibalise the other. We’ve got Test cricket, the traditional format, the Twenty20 – pure entertainment short form and you can still go out for dinner when it’s finished,” said Richardson before adding that he was happy with the way the tournament has played out so far.

“The tournament for us has gone tremendously well for us so far. From everything that’s happened to off the field, it’s been very good.”

The fact that the there is no clear cut favourite, even heading into the semifinals, is another aspect that has helped create interest.

“Before this event we said the best thing about this event was that you couldn’t pick a winner and I think that’s still the case now. To say with any degree of confidence to say that any team will win I think you need to think again.”

Richardson himself is torn.

“I have to say my heart will go with South Africa. I think they deserve to lose that choker tag that they’ve unfairly been labelled with,” said Richardson.

“My head probably says Australia are the best equipped. They bat right the way down. If you had them five down you’d still be worried. They seem the most equipped on these wickets to do well.”

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