In a concluding part to my previous posts on the super-sub rule and powerplay 5 rule, this piece focusses on the Indian perspective. Harish Dugh, in Indian Express, has expressed fears that these new rules would be disadvantageous to India and drive Indian cricket the way Indian Hockey went, after the rules were suited for more muscle-power.
Let us have a look at the current Indian team. How many players have the experience and skills to make it into the one-day team?
Our batsmen: Sachin, Sehwag, Saurav, Dravid, Laxman, Yuvraj, Kaif, Mongia. (8)
Bowlers: Zaheer, Balaji, Irfan, Nehra, Harbhajan, Murali, Kumble (6)
Wicket-keepers: Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik. (2)
I didnt mention about other contenders like Badani, Sriram, Sodhi et al. who are reasonably good too.
Let us suppose that Dravid no longer wants to keep wickets, so one wicket-keeper is a must.. Dhoni did well against Pak, so he deserves a good run. That leaves us 11 places to fill with, but we have 14 batsmen + bowlers !! Even if Sachin and Saurav dont play in the forthcoming tournament, we have 12 players. Go with the remaining 6 batsmen and 5 bowlers (leave Kumble). For this tournament, choose a bowler as the 12th man, since the batting is little weak. After this tournament, when the batting is in full strength, choose a batsman as the super-sub.
In the three games of the Natwest Challenge, we have not quite got a full glimpse of the new rules. But, one thing is certainly clear. The toss HAS become more important than before. As you can see, all the three games were won by the team winning the toss. In the third game today, Vikram Solanki was used as a super-sub after the England batting collapsed near the half-way mark.. so England was left short of a valuable bowler like Simon Jones.
Leave the luck factor aside and hope & pray that it evens out during the course of any tournament.. In that case, I dont see any reason why the super-sub would be disadvantageous to Indian batsmen. The same would apply for the powerplay 5 rule too.. It is not true that all the muscular batsmen are great hitters. We have seen examples in all our major batsmen in India, Pakistan and Srilanka who, when in form, have torn apart any bowling challenge thrown at them. Unlike baseball, which is a slam-bang game and thus requires strong muscles, cricket requires a fine coordination of brain, eyes and hand..
Hence, in conclusion, these new rules demand a smart-thinking, risk-taking, in-form captain. The rules need to be fine-tuned, of course, to remove the toss bias, and may be, as few suggested, make a batsman pick one player as super-sub out of three announced. That would be more interesting.