South Africa pacer Dale Steyn has spoken out against the imbalance between bat and ball in the modern game. The fast-bowling great has even gone as far to call Australia’s attempt to tamper with the ball during their tour of South Africa this year as a ‘cry for help’.
The Proteas pacer recently equalled Shaun Pollock’s tally of 421 Test wickets to become his country’s all-time leading wicket-taker in the format and he believes that the game needs to take steps to aid the bowlers.
“It’s obviously not on (Australia’s ball-tampering attempt), but if you think about it, it’s almost like a cry for help. We need to do something,” Steyn told Reuters in an interview.
“There’s so much in favour of batsmen these days. Fields are small, two new balls, powerplays, bats have got bigger than they used to be, the list can go on. You bowl a ‘no ball’ and it’s a free hit. But I have never seen a rule change that favours the bowler.”
“It’s a big plea and it would be a sad day to see (reverse swing) disappear. I grew up watching (Wasim) Akram, I grew up watching Waqar and all these geniuses run in and reverse swing the ball. And you just don’t see it today. What inspiration will other fast bowlers have if they don’t have anybody to inspire them to become fast bowlers? You might as well put a bowling machine there and everyone try and become a batter,” the 35-year-old said.
Like Tendulkar, Steyn believes that the two new-balls rule in ODIs needs to be abolished to restore the balance.
“They changed the rule and said we will bring two new balls into the game. I don’t want a new ball when I am bowling in the subcontinent. I want an old ball that can’t get hit out of the ground. I want a ball that when I bowl doesn’t have true bounce, so that the batsman can’t hit it. These are not rules that favour the bowler at all. They are, if anything, add to the batsman,” said the pacer.
Here, Press Association takes a look at some of the key statistics.
43-25 – England’s all-time winning record against India, with 49 draws.
4-0 – England suffered a heavy defeat in their last series against India, on tour in 2016. They won 3-1 on India’s last visit to England.
10 – Test fifties for England captain Joe Root since he last went on to make a century. Since his career-best 254 against Pakistan in 2016, he has converted only three out of 23 half-centuries into three figures. However, he made back-to-back tons in the one-day series.
75 – England’s uncapped seamer Jamie Porter led the County Championship Division One wicket charts last season. He has 28 at an average of 26.82 so far this season.
0 – first-class matches played by recalled England spinner Adil Rashid this summer after renegotiating a white-ball only contract with Yorkshire.
13.40 – Virat Kohli‘s batting average on India’s last tour of England. His career Test average is 53.40.
9 – Test innings without a century for India’s Cheteshwar Pujara, with his top score in that time 50 from 179 balls against South Africa in January. He averaged only 14.33 for Yorkshire in this summer’s Championship, failing to pass 50 in 12 innings, but impressed in the Royal London One-Day Cup.
14 – wickets taken by Kuldeep Yadav across the one-day and Twenty20 legs of the current tour, at an average of 14.71, to earn Test selection.
303 – runs scored by India’s Karun Nair in his match-winning undefeated innings in the last Test between the two teams in December 2016 in Chennai. In six Tests to date, his next-highest score is 26.
South Africa coasted to a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka at the start of their one-day international series in Dambulla.
Spinner Tabraiz Shamsi (4-33) and paceman Kagiso Rabada (4-41) were the stars for South Africa as the hosts battled to recover from slumping to 36 for five.
Kusal Perera (81) and Thisara Perera (49) shared a sixth-wicket stand of 92, but Sri Lanka were dismissed for 193 after just 34.3 overs.
Akila Dananjaya picked up the wickets of Hashim Amla (19), Quinton de Kock (47) and Aiden Markram (nought) to finish with figures of three for 50.
At this rate Kagiso Rabada will be in the conversation of the best ever athletes South Africa has ever produced. #SLvSA— Iron duke Jr. (@Iron_Duke89) July 29, 2018
But skipper Faf du Plessis (47) and Jean-Paul Duminy (53 not out) guided South Africa to their victory target, reaching 196 for five with 114 balls of their 50 overs still remaining.
The second game of the five-match series will be a day-night affair in Dambulla on Wednesday.
South Africa thus secured their first victory of the tour after being swept 2-0 in the Test series.
“Feels much better to be chatting as a winning captain,” du Plessis was quoted as saying by AFP.
“In the Test series we didn’t play well. There is a new group of players for the ODIs. I also thought we’ve learnt lessons, had good discussions and put pressure on their spinners by taking a few risks.”