The recent shift in the strategic approach of the Indian cricket team towards favouring the inclusion of more all-rounders can be attributed to a noticeable shift in the dynamics of the team. This shift primarily revolves around the top-order batters and their changing role as bowling options.
Unlike some of their illustrious seniors from the past era, the contemporary top-order batters seem less inclined to bowling. This change in approach has been particularly pronounced, prompting the team’s management to seek out and nurture all-round talents.
The team’s growing reliance on players like Axar Patel and Washington Sundar reflects this evolving strategy. These players are not traditional all-rounders but have been thrust into such roles due to the top-order batters’s reluctance to bowl.
The top-order batters, who are the backbone of the team’s batting lineup, have been bowling less frequently as they seem more focused on scoring runs, reducing the team’s bowling options.
Conversely, the tail-enders haven’t displayed nerves with the bat when required. This lack of batting depth has further emphasized the need for all-rounders who can shore up both the batting and bowling aspects of the team’s performance.
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According to Rahul Dravid, the coach of the Indian cricket team, the limitation of having only four fielders beyond the 30-yard circle in limited-overs cricket has contributed to the scarcity of part-time bowlers in the format.
‘I think it could be because of the rule change’: Rahul Dravid
Dravid believes that the powerplay rule change implemented in 2015 that teams can only have four fielders outside the ring during the second powerplay, which begins in the eleventh over and lasts until the fortieth, is one of the prime reasons why the top-order batters could not bowl nowadays.
“I think it could be because of the rule change. Suddenly you have gone from four fielders inside the ring to five fielders inside the ring. I think that has drastically changed the ability of part-time bowler to be able to bowl in the middle phase,” Dravid said, as quoted by India Today.
The former Indian batter also recalled the initial bowling phase of Indian cricketing legends such as Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh and mentioned how the new powerplay rule affected the bowling efficiency of not only the Indian team but other said as well.
“If you remember and mention all these names (Sachin, Sourav, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Raina) bowling in this phase, a lot of these guys started when there used to be only four fielders in the ring. In that kind of situation (five fielders outside the ring), you could lose a lot of part-time bowlers and not only us, but a lot of teams also did that. If you will notice, the number of part-time bowlers have gone down in other teams as well.”It’s not only the Indian team” the 50-year-old added.