McCullum's One-Man Game: Time to Impose Some New T20 Rules?
The inaugural IPL match was not a one-sided game but a one-man game. As Rahul Dravid rightly pointed out if you disregard the 158 made by McCullum the rest of the Knight Riders combined made barely 80 runs. In fact, if you add the 82 runs made by his team it barely creeps up over McCullum’s individual score. Firstly, all credit to McCullum. It was a rare display of prolonged consistent hitting that took the match away from the Royal Challengers.
Barring Praveen Kumar who bowled a tight spell the rest of the Royal Challengers’ bowlers were completely destroyed, single-handedly by McCullum. The bad news though was that after the first innings which saw all the big hitting the second innings was far from entertaining to say the least with the Royal Challengers failing to put up a fight. With such an imposing total the team had to go for it from the start and it fell apart right away and then there was no recovery whatsoever. Even a terrible bowling performance by the Knight Riders could not saved the Royal Challengers. Under these circumstances with such an imposing target seeing Rahul Dravid and Wasim Jaffer coming out to bat was almost laughable. The least Dravid could have done would have been to open with say CL White and Mark Boucher (or at least one of them), the best hitters on his team.
The one-man domination of this match does throw up some food for thought. Does it make sense to let a batsman bat through the 20 overs? Does it make sense to let a batsman have no limit to his score in a game? Then why restrict the bowlers to four overs each? True this is “masala cricket”. But a bowler taking 10 wickets in a 10 over spell would certainly make exciting cricket too. Wouldn’t it?
Maybe its time to free the bowlers of their four over restriction? Maybe its time to limit the number of balls a batsman can face? (this might be bit of a logistic nightmare) Alternately maybe batsmen should be forced to retire after they score 100 and allowed to bat again only if the rest of the wickets fall?
The other approach is to have difficult batting tracks. Maybe a pitch with plenty of grass on it to assist the fast bowlers or a turning track. A game completely loaded in favor of the batsman might not be in the best interest of the T20 format in the long run.