Sunday, 1 July 2007

Sadistic ICC free-hits bowlers for a six

A bloodbath is on the cards. ICC’s glib-tongued megalomaniacs in pin-stripe suits, aided by a handful of former players craving for the crumbs, have done enough damage to cricket and the latest decision to allow free-hit is yet another step that is abysmally sad, and sadistic as well.

Cricket has been reduced to something as unfair as a Spanish bull-fighting with ICC playing the picador’s role. Bowlers are the bulls, weakened by lances the Picador has thrust into its back and neck muscles. Constant bleeding leads to a dizziness and comes the banderilleros to stab the banderillas and run the poor creature in a few more rounds, until the bull stops chasing.

Then enters the matador to finish it off and walk away with the plaudits, leaving the bull, sword buried deep into its flesh.

ICC’s sadism can match only the Franco regime, which had hailed bullfighting as the fiesta nacional. Ill-advised by its Cricket Committee -- two former Caribbean pacers are a minority in the body -- the ICC declared after its recent Annual General meeting in London that if a bowler bowls a front foot no-ball in a one dayer, the following delivery will be deemed a free hit and the batsman cannot be dismissed by the bowler from that delivery.

ICC’s blatant batsman-bias is not baffling though. The sight of flogging the bowlers has been a constant source of joy for the sadistic ICC, which cocked up changes after changes with the sole ambition of making a monumentally mismatch between the willow and the leather. One day cricket has been the ideal platform where bowlers have been reduced to second class citizen and their role has been limited to play the canon-fodder.

Dennis Lillee fears, ICC would next ban Yorker, banish out-swingers and prohibit slower ball. ICC is a blindfolded donkey, which heads to wherever the radish in moolah leads it. In their next meeting in Dubai, they might altogether come up with the decision that bowlers simply have no business in the game of cricket. Instead, bowling machine would be installed at the bowlers’ end. No chucking controversy, no need for a flexion rule, no overstepping…ICC can keep pampering its spoilt child, the batsman.

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