Ajaz Patel’s bowling was in the news on the first day of the first Test between India and New Zealand in Kanpur. Most of his balls went outside leg stump. It is believed that this is not right for cricket. Anyway, given the clean image of Kane Williamson in international cricket, he is not least expected to bowl completely outside the leg stump. Williamson’s image is completely different in international cricket. If Ajaz was consistently bowling such deliveries, he should have gone and explained to him. It was against the spirit of the game.
Mankading is against sports spirit but still happens. I think this is done to discourage the batsman. By the way, the umpire has such rights that if he continuously bowls outside the leg side, he can declare these deliveries wide. Once there was no limit of bouncers. Previously in the bodyline series, bowling was started by targeting the body. In those days it was also made a rule that a player cannot be placed behind the square leg. The rules got changed from time to time. I believe if someone attacks the leg-stump and controls the runs, it is part of his strategy.
In such a situation, the role of the umpire increases. Although a wide should not be given on one or two such balls, if someone deliberately bowls too much outside the leg side, then it should be given a wide. On the first day, umpire had to warn Williamson about it. In this test, India has included two fast bowlers – Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav. Umesh has the speed as well as reverse swing in Indian conditions while Ishant has vast experience in Test cricket. This is true considering the options available but does not seem like the right move considering the long-term planning. We should create a pool of more bowlers so that we have more options.
(The writer is a cricket critic apart from being a former fast bowler of Team India)