IPL 2024: Kumble suggests having bigger boundaries, and more pronounced seam on white balls to keep bowlers in the game

New Delhi, May 16 The IPL 2024 has been witness to a widening divide between bat and ball, as the batters have fearlessly racked up massive runs at the expense of the bowlers. To bring in a balance between bat and ball, India's legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble has suggested that IPL should have bigger boundaries and get more pronounced seam on white balls to keep bowlers in the game.

The overall run rate in IPL 2024 stands at 9.57, which is the highest amongst all editions of the tournament, with 250+ scores above eight. Moreover, IPL 2024 has seen 1133 sixes hit so far, making it the highest number of sixes ever hit in a single edition of IPL.

“It’s been really hard on the bowlers, especially the first half of the tournament. I certainly believe you have to maximise the boundaries at every venue and give batters the biggest possible boundaries. For starters, you can move the dugouts into the stands. I know you will lose a few seats, but so be it.”

“Then the other aspect is to perhaps look at the white-ball having a more pronounced seam so that there’s a bit more movement. The ball stops swinging just after one over or less than that. With seam slightly pronounced, there will be some movement with the ball and along with maximising the boundaries, this will help the bowlers because you need a balance between bat and ball.”

“You can’t be running in and just going through the gears, otherwise in a couple of years, you won’t have too many bowlers lining up to do the bowling, as everybody wants to be a batter. You need bowlers to be a part of the game and the balance is very important in maintaining it. I am sure it will be addressed in the coming years,” said Kumble, an IPL Expert, in a select virtual interaction organised by JioCinema on Thursday.

Five-time champions Mumbai Indians have endured a horror season so far, resulting in them being at the bottom of the points table and already eliminated from the race to playoffs. Kumble, who served as MI’s chief mentor from January 2013 to March 2016, thinks the leadership transition from Rohit Sharma to Hardik Pandya wasn’t a smooth one and felt changing the captain of the star-studded side could have happened next year.

“I thought the change which happened was a bit sudden – obviously Rohit Sharma was leading Mumbai Indians for the last ten years and led the team to five titles. In hindsight, maybe, they could have sort of looked at Rohit to manage the team this year and then Hardik could have come in next year. But the team leadership took that decision.”

“Having said that, they haven’t played good cricket – they were inconsistent with the bat and that showed in the matches they played. With the kind of quality and ability batters have in Mumbai Indians, I certainly expected them to make it to the playoffs because when I chose the four teams to enter the playoffs before the start of the season, Mumbai Indians were certainly one of them.”

“It’s a matter of yes, a new captain and players not being in greatest of form – that also didn’t help. Hardik leading GT is different from Hardik leading MI because again he is getting into a new setup and new set of players,” said Kumble.

Gujarat Titans are also out of the race for playoffs and Kumble thought Shubman Gill fared well in his first year as an IPL captain. “Similarly to GT as well, any captain takes time. You really can’t judge Shubman – I thought he was pretty aggressive in his approach when it came to captaincy and looked to take wickets.”

“Unfortunately, a couple of injuries didn’t help GT – Shami was a big miss, David Miller got injured and wasn’t in the best of form, as compared to the last two seasons. So, in that sense, they missed out due to form, injuries and in T20s, if some of the games don’t go your way, then you don’t make it. That’s how it works and I think Shubman did well in his first season as captain and with learnings from this season, he will develop and learn from here on.”

The Sanju Samson-led Rajasthan Royals have already qualified for the playoffs. But the side has been on a slide in form, losing their last four consecutive matches, mainly due to the middle-order not clicking well and injuries leading to changes in personnel at times. Kumble admitted their current form is a cause of concern, but expected Samson & Co to fight back in time for next week’s playoffs.

“It’s not a good thing going into the playoffs with four losses and it means GT need to get their act together. This happens because it’s a long tournament; I am sure there must be some fatigue that has set in. But having said that, some of it is by their own doing because they have meddled with some of the batters going up and down except for openers, Sanju Samson and Riyan Parag.”

“They have sort of moved the batters around them up and down, and not played all of their overseas players, which were available to them. They have made some changes – mostly tactical, that haven’t worked out for them. Yesterday, they played at a new venue in Guwahati, where the first match was being played. But the pitch wasn’t ideal for a team that had batters looking to score runs and get their confidence back, especially the openers.”

“So, you would expect them to have a really flat deck when they play KKR (on Sunday). But if it’s a slowish wicket, like what we saw yesterday, then it will be a bit more difficult for Rajasthan on that surface. It’s a bit of their own doing, but sometimes you try too hard and it doesn’t work.”

“So maybe, it's time to just ease off, have a couple of days off and refresh then come back energetic and be ready for the playoffs. They are already in playoffs, so don’t see them that worried, but yes, the form is a bit of a worry as a team. It takes just one or two spells or one innings by somebody to take them through,” he concluded.

Source: IANS

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