The ICC has finally reacted to the nature of pitches at an institutional level. The journey was quite swift: from Ravi Shastri, then India’s director of cricket, gambling on rank turners after South Africa had rattled them in the ODIs in 2015-16; to Bangladesh producing minefield after minefield; to Faf du Plessis openly asking for pitches of a certain kind and admonishing the curators when those were not provided.
The culmination was expected: a dangerous pitch in Johannesburg that nearly resulted in the abandonment of a Test two and a half innings in.
The proposal to do away with the toss and to thereby effectively punish home sides with a Test defeat for unfit pitches is clearly a reaction to this interference in the process of making pitches, and hence has clearly been brought upon themselves by the teams. Here are some of the other issues that need the ICC cricket committee’s attention when they meet in Mumbai on May 28 and 29.
Round white object. Had a habit of misbehaving in the air when hurled properly. Such behaviour last seen in the year 2015 in New Zealand. Anyone finds it, please return to limited-overs cricket.
Remember when the new ball actually swung in ODIs? Way back in the 2015 World Cup, Brendon McCullum would almost bowl Tim Southee and Trent Boult out at the top to make maximum use of that swing. Now we have Bhuvneshwar Kumar resorting to knuckleballs with the new ball. ODI cricket still has Southee, Boult, Bhuvneshwar, Mohammad Amir and Mitchell Starc, bowlers who should have two spoonsful of swing if there is any to be had. Could it be down to the white Kookaburra? After all, every other ball swings, the red SG, the red Duke, the red Kookaburra
It’s not as if the ICC is not aware. At least its media wing is. During the Champions Trophy in England last year, its website asked Ian Bishop where the swing had gone. “As far as the wrist position of some of the bowlers we have seen in this tournament, it has been very good,” Bishop said. “The seam presentation has been very good. And I’ve played here long enough to know that even if it is cold or warm or overcast or whatever.
at some point you will get the ball to swing. But we haven’t seen much of it, so I don’t want to blame the manufacturers of a ball without proof. It is a mystery.”Maybe it is time the cricket committee asked the same question of Kookaburra if it hasn’t already.
Harsher penalties for abusive language
Stop the abuse, this is not war. During the fractious Ravindra Jadeja-James Anderson incident in 2014, investigations revealed that before the abuse came to the alleged pushing, umpire Bruce Oxenford had heard James Anderson call MS Dhoni a “f****** fat c***”. Oxenford told the commission he didn’t find that serious enough to report to the match referee.