There is no guarantee that the new law changes to ODI cricket will make a big difference in restoring the balance between bat and ball.
The ICC has decided to get rid of the batting powerplay in ODI cricket as well as award a free hit for all no-ball calls. Five fielders will be allowed outside the 30-yard circle between the 41st and 50th overs, rather than the current four and there will be no compulsory catchers from the first to the 10th over and no batting powerplays will be allowed between the 15th and 40th overs.
First of all, I think the ICC should get credit for acknowledging that the game needs changes. It’s a good thing that the rules have been altered in an effort to ensure a greater balance between bat and ball.
I think the changes will tighten the game up a little bit having five fielders outside the ring, but we have to remember that this will be less effective on smaller fields where I don’t think it will have a big impact.
It is doubtful whether batsmen will change their approach in the last 10-15 overs just because there is one more fielder in a catching position.
Today’s batsmen are so fit and strong that they should still back themselves to clear the boundary for a six rather than try and hit the ball along the ground for four.
The ICC will have to look at other possibilities to make the contest more even if the new changes don’t have the desired effect.
There have also been some interesting comments made on sledging and the role it should play in the Ashes. Some have called for sledging to be stopped, while Shane Warne recently said bowlers like James Anderson and Stuart Broad should expect a barrage of sledging to come their way.
These players won’t be too fazed by that. They are experienced and have played against the Aussies before so I don’t foresee it being a big problem for guys like Anderson and Broad. They will know what to expect.
Everyone knows the Aussies are masters of sledging. No-one does it better than them. You always get the feeling that getting sledged doesn’t effect them nearly as much as when they hand it out to the opposition.
I don’t believe it should be banned, but it has to be controlled. Umpire’s have controlled it pretty well up until now and hopefully that continues in the Ashes.
It should never get personal. If the players can keep it ‘clean’, it should add something positive to the series.