A tilt too far? | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 22, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, June 22, 2018

A tilt too far?

International limited overs batting records have been tumbling amid a blizzard of boundaries in recent weeks. But while statisticians update their files an uncomfortable question remains: has the balance between bat and ball, on which all cricket depends, become worryingly lopsided in the one-day game?

Just over a week ago, New Zealand posted the highest ever total in a women's one-day international when they made 490 for four against Ireland in Dublin -- an innings featuring Amelia Kerr's record 232 not out.

And the women's Twenty20 international record fell twice in a day on Wednesday as New Zealand and then England piled up scores of 216 for one and 250 for three against South Africa at Taunton.

That came just 24 hours after England broke their own all-time men's ODI record when they made a mammoth 481 for six against Australia in Nottingham. England's total at Trent Bridge was the eighth score of 400 or more since the start of 2015. Before that there had been just 11.

It has sent shock waves through the world of cricket, given a total of 500 -- once thought to be utterly unobtainable in a 50-over game -- now appears to be in sight.

"To see almost 500 runs scored in 50 overs in England is scaring me ..about the health of the game and where it's going," tweeted former India captain Sourav Ganguly.

The advent of Twenty20, better bats, shorter boundaries and a greater range of shots such as "the scoop" and "the ramp" have all played their part.

It was thought that having two white balls -- which swing less than the red one use in Tests -- per innings would aid quicker bowlers as this would ensure bounce from both ends for longer in the innings.

Instead the effect has been to reduce the wear and tear which makes balls conducive to reverse swing, which has proven to be some of the most difficult bowling for batsmen to face.

Michael Atherton issued a plea on behalf of swing bowlers whom he felt had become "emasculated" in one-day cricket.

Writing in Thursday's edition of The Times, the former England captain insisted: "The game needs to find a suitable white ball that swings at the start and must abandon the use of two balls per innings, to allow for the return of reverse swing -- two fundamental skills of the game that provide as much entertainment as any number of sixes belted into the Nottingham night sky."

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