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Better bats, smaller boundaries reducing bowlers to bowling machines: Chappell

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Sydney, Nov 21 (IANS) Former Australia captain Ian Chappell has lamented that a combination of better bats and smaller boundaries is reducing bowlers to being virtual bowling machines.

He has also called out the administrators of the game in taking steps to ensure that the T20 format does not become a predictable one, mainly due to the toss.

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“The administrators need to find both the ideal balance between bat and ball and educate fans on cricket’s values. It is fine when middled deliveries finish up in the stands but a bowler should be extremely angry if a blatant mis-hit still clears the ropes. This problem is not so pronounced on larger Australian grounds, but I’m not sure what genius produced the ludicrous mixture of better bats and smaller boundaries.

“This combination is reducing bowlers to virtual bowling machines. It is a serious slight on good bowlers and needs to be rectified immediately,” wrote Chappell in his column for ESPNCricinfo on Sunday.

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Chappell believes that Australia had the fortune of winning the toss on their side en route their first-ever T20 World Cup Trophy.

“Australia finally won the major trophy that has eluded their grasp for more than a decade – the ICC T20 World Cup. They clinched the trophy by clouting deliveries to and over the boundary, while producing a mixture of bowling that combined just enough wicket-taking with the right amount of containment. They also had the good fortune to win the toss when it really mattered, in a tournament where the major matches too often became a ‘win the coin flip, win the game’ event.

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“That was one of the major flaws in a tournament that achieved quite a lot of success.”

The 78-year-old pointed out that it was crucial to find a solution to stop the format from becoming predictable.

“There’s an appeal for a worldwide T20 tournament featuring contests between nations. In addition, there’s widespread clamour for franchise cricket, which is increasingly popular and has experienced enormous success. However, there needs to be a wide-reaching survey into the changes required to improve the T20 format.

“To make it even more popular than it is, tournaments have to include a way to ensure the game doesn’t become a matter of winning the toss.”

Chappell said that a balance needs to be maintained in tactical and entertainment terms otherwise people will lose interest in T20 cricket.

“Fans should be engaged by the contest between bat and ball, enjoy the tactical battles – both team and individual – and require a certain amount of artistry in the batting. If these features are either missing or nearly non-existent, then it’s a struggle to envisage the game as truly being a form of cricket.”

–IANS

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