RECYCLING BATSMEN AT CHAMPS
A rule allowing compulsorily retired batsmen at Championships to return to the crease until a team has lost all 10 wickets is an issue close to the heart of cricket traditionalists. VCA heavyweights Gil Chapman, Ian Petherick and David Head are advocating returning to a rule dumped in 2016 because of the bad blood it caused.
Victoria surveyed Over 70s captains – past and present – regarding the issue. They were asked to comment on the reasons proffered in support of the recycling batsmen rule.
- The possibility of a team not losing 10 wickets but having an innings compulsorily closed short of allocated overs is “unfair”.
Most disagreed. Over 80% said that the primary objective in one day cricket is to make more runs than the opposition in the same prescribed number of overs. Taking 10 wickets in an innings was incidental and very much a minor consideration.
2. A rule not allowing a retired batsman to return to the crease was “unfair”
Respondents disagreed. There was evidence that recycling batsmen had changed the result of some games. An analysis of Division 1 results since 2015 suggested the result of 2 games may have been different should a compulsorily retired batsman have been allowed to return to the crease. Against this were reports of batsmen throwing their wicket away to allow retirees to return to the crease (turning certain defeat into victory).
- National Championships (Division 1) should be treated as an elite competition. Having a compulsory retiring figure for batsmen is not the best way to prepare players for international competition.
Respondents felt the role of Championships (Division 1) was not just to prepare players for international competition. This was characterised as an elitist view and at odds with the much valued “participation” culture of Championships.
- The imposition of penalties by umpires will minimise any problem of teams trying to contrive results.
Respondents pointed to the obvious dilemma presented to umpires. Is it reasonable or realistic to ask an umpire to know what is in the mind of a player in adjudicating on “fair play”.
What should an umpire do if a lower order batsmen sacrifices their wicket?. How should umpires penalise bowlers and fielders for not trying to take a wicket?
Respondents felt cricket is diminished by contriving the results of a game. The Rule should it be re-introduced, is not in the “spirit of cricket”.
Respondents did not support changing a rule to allow retiring batsmen to return to the crease and continue batting until the close of innings
Should a majority of the VCA Over 70s age group support a rule change allowing a batsmen to return to the crease, respondents proposed limiting returning batsman to a 50 run maximum score.
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