Jul 7, 2005

New Super-Sub from tomorrow

I got quite a few comments on my previous post on the super-sub (super-substitute) rule in one-dayers, to be introduced from tomorrow, when England takes on Aus. Firstly, I was wrong on my assumption that the captain can choose any 11 players after the toss, so the substitution would happen only after the match starts, i.e., after the first ball is bowled. Apparently and disappointingly, that is not the case.. the captains have to announce the super-sub aka 12th man before the toss. That doesnt make sense to me..

In Prem's blog, Chandan posted this useful link: http://www.ecb.co.uk/england/natwest-challenge/new-one-day-international-regulations-explained,609,BP.html, which officially answers the FAQ's on the new rule. It appears plain ridiculous because of the following reasons:

a) As SR put it, "now comes the toss....if team A has a batsman sub and team B a bowler sub ...then toss becomes useless ....OR if both teams have the same sub ... then the team loosing the toss is f***ed so toss becomes even more crucial .... ???"

there is nothing like the sub should always be a batsman or bowler ....the only thing that can be said is that team with a batsman sub (starting 11 with 6 bat and 5 bowlers) would 'prefer' to chase and vice versa (starting 11, with 7 bat + 4 bowlers + bowler sub, would like to bat 1st)

b) Rahul suggested in my earlier post that a batsman can substitute an 'already-out' batsman, which, according to the rules, cant be done. So, if your team has done badly by losing all the batsmen with only bowlers left, towards the end you can bring a batsman to replace a bowler who hasnt batted, and then try to prop up the score.

If you try to remove the 'luck' elements from cricket, the rule needs to change to give the flexibility of choosing any 11 after the toss. So, it would be a full-strength team both while batting and while fielding. Otherwise, my suggestion is as follows:

Suppose you announce a batsman as super-sub (and you wish to chase). But, you are asked to bat first in bowler-friendly conditions and start losing wickets.. If too many wickets are lost (6 and above) with quite lot of overs left, it is Ok to try to ask 1 or 2 bowlers (better bowlers) to go for quick runs.. if they fail, substitute the super-sub for the bowler who is poorest among the bowlers both in terms of bowling and in batting.. And pray that the super-sub stays till the end and help post a reasonable score for the remaining 4 main bowlers to defend.

This makes sense to me.. Every bowler is a batsman but not the otherway around. So, if you had already completed the substitution after, say, 6th wicket falls and see that no more wicket fell until the close of play, its useless. Also, no point in substitution unless if the 6th wicket fell around 40th over and atleast 4+ "Powerplay 5" overs are left.

Suppose you choose a bowler as super-sub and then you are asked bowl first.. you have given away too many runs in the first 10-12 overs.. you are in bad shape.. so remove a batsman-fielder and bring the super-sub to try to restrict the run-flow.. because, if you have to chase over 320-330, no use in having even 7 batsmen.

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