(Photo: PTI)
(Photo: PTI)

A roaring runfest is just not cricket

  • A data analysis by Mint shows, the average runs per over has risen from 7.98 in 2008 to 8.69 in last year’s edition
  • So far this year, the average runs per over this year is 8.34. It could go higher as it heads for a climax

NEW DELHI : The Indian Premier League (IPL) is turning more and more into what it was intended to be: a run fest packed with big hits. As a data analysis by Mint shows, the average runs per over has risen from 7.98 in 2008 to 8.69 in last year’s edition of this T20 tournament.

So far this year, the figure this year is 8.34. It could go higher as it heads for a climax. Both its organizers and advertisers are pleased, no doubt. Another hope was that domestic competition would raise the overall standards of the country’s cricket. Over the past decade, India has indeed been a top-ranking team on and off across multiple formats of the game, which seems to establish that Indians are getting better at cricket. The rising run stats are part of this story, is it not? Charts that show an incline are usually to be welcomed. An incline always looks good, regardless of what the variable is.

Yet, the rising run count has an obverse side to it: the falling economy rate of bowlers. As lovers of classic cricket have been groaning, the IPL’s need to keep scoreboards ticking—if only to keep crowds engaged—has raised the entire game’s incentive to tilt things in favour of batsmen. After all, it’s the rare connoisseur of cricket who is impressed with the nuances of a great in-swinger that flummoxes a heroic batsman and sends the umpire’s finger up; most viewers have their eyes on how far the ball is sent soaring or streaking.What’s more, Indians have always made greater heroes of batsman than bowlers (though all-rounders have always been true match winners). The rising run count may be getting the loudest cheers,but for India to sharpen its skills at both ends of the pitch,the trend should worry us too. The World Cup in England,with its bowler-friendlier pitches, would be a real test of Indian cricket.

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