Dale Steyn, one of the most well known fast bowlers in the modern game has called for an equilibrium between bat and ball in the game of cricket. Lack of genuine reverse in the game has called for the players to tamper with the ball said Steyn who is in par with Shaun Pollock with 421 Test wickets, the highest by any South African bowler in the red ball format.
Steyn also highlighted the fact that the Cape Town incident calls for the super officials of the game to take a closer look at where Test cricket is heading. In the process, he has batted to bring back the lost art of reverse swing back into the game.
It’s obviously not on, 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.”
The art of reverse swing was first exposed by the legendary Pakistan pace duo of Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram. The skill of making an old and battered ball move in the air in the opposite direction to conventional swing was developed into an art form by this duo who polished this skill in the 90s and left it to be savoured after their retirement from the game.
“It’s a big plea and it would be a sad day to see (reverse swing) disappear,” Steyn said at a promotional event for GoPro.
“I grew up watching 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.”
ICC's move to introduce an extra new ball from 2011 has made the game a lot in the batsmen's favor, a concern which many current and former bowlers have voiced about in recent times.
India batting great Sachin Tendulkar, among others, recently called for a return to the use of one new ball from each end in order to revive the moribund art of reverse swing in the format.
Steyn agreed, adding that other rule changes like the limit of two bouncers per over were more of a hindrance than a help for bowlers.
“They changed the rule and said we will bring two new balls into the game,” the 35-year-old added.
“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"
Steyn concluded by saying that there is no rule in the game currently which is aiding the bowlers, a concern which the governing body needs to give attention to.
(Inputs from Indian Express)