Matting wickets will ensure level field

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The recent rule changes made by the BCCI indicate a slight shift in pattern towards favouring bowlers. For long their ilk has suffered and docile tracks continue to haunt cricket at all levels more than anything else.

On the other hand batsmen come a cropper when there is some atmospheric help or some life in the wicket as they don’t get to play much in conditions favouring the bowlers.

The only way forward is to prepare wickets that provide equal scope to batsmen and bowlers. Weather conditions and a crowded calendar don’t make the job of the curator any easier.

A portion of matches on matting wickets that help batmen cope with bounce and also direct bowlers to be high on discipline could be the right way forward.

The biggest bane of the TNCA first division league has been flat or under prepared tracks. Sometimes the cricket has become meaningless. To have one or two games in a season on matting wickets will help players sharpen their skills.

“It is a good idea for sure and will add to the excitement of the league. At the same time the outfield must good as most grounds barely have an outfield. The bounce on these tracks will be beneficial to all including wicket keepers. Thought has to be paid on preparing a hard surface as a shaky top layer can prove to be dangerous,” said former Indian stumper and manager of Jolly Rovers, Bharath Reddy.

For long, tall scores have been the order in the league and it has also meant a false sense of security for the batsmen before the Ranji Trophy campaign.

Former Ranji skipper S. Sharath made his state debut well after matting wickets were abolished in the Ranji Trophy but he had a lot to add to his batting by playing the league and other limited over tournaments on matting wickets. “We benefited for sure by playing on coir wickets.

Run making against quality bowlers on those wickets were never easy and one had to earn his runs. Like a turning track the batsman has to be fully front or back on matting wickets and you hardly got to drive.

It helped improve our back foot technique and reflexes,” said Sharath who is the only TN player to have earned more than 100 Ranji caps.

The 80s saw the state churn out some outstanding close in catchers and matting wickets had a part to play in that as well.

The likes of Kris Srikkanth, Abdul Jabbar and V and L. Sivaramakrishnan all honed their skills by standing close to the bat on matting wickets. “Going back to matting wickets will help cope with the short ball better and the bowlers will be in the game all the time.

This will add to the competition and if a few games are allotted in matting wickets for each team I am sure the players will come out better prepared for the Ranji Trophy,” said veteran all-rounder, D. Vasu.

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