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In a world where batsmen dominate, bowlers have fought back

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Roar Rookie
12th June, 2019
5

It seems as each summer comes around in Australia we have a new commentator appear on our screens with a modern day bat, comparing it to the bats of old.

This constant stream from commentators is accompanied by the lament at the demise of bowlers and how it is a batsmen’s game.

The last World Cup in Australia – historically a haven for fast bowlers – became a batsmen’s paradise as they regularly scored over 350, with Martin Guptill scoring a magnificent 200.

It was once again expected that this tournament on the much smaller grounds of England would be similar – with some experts expecting the first ever score of over 500.

However, we have seen the resurgence of the fast bowler, from the great West Indies again breathing fire with the ball to the unrivalled talent of Jasprit Bumrah.

The 2015 World Cup had 49 games while the 2019 World Cup will now have 48 games, with no associate nations playing, this is the first World Cup to not have all Test nations involved.

The 2015 World Cup had 25 scores of over 300, three scores of over 400 and 36 batsmen scored a century, with both Guptill and Chris Gayle scoring double centuries.

This World Cup so far has seen a drop in scores. Out of the 15 games so far there have been six centuries.

Eight teams have scored 300 plus so far, with seven teams scoring under 200 with multiple games called off due to rain delays which is a constant in English summer.

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We are seeing players emerge such as Oshane Thomas and Lachie Ferguson this World Cup.

The West Indies celebrate a wicket at the Cricket World Cup.

The West Indies demolished Pakistan at Trent Bridge. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

Eight bowlers in the 2015 World Cup had strike rates of under 20 while in this World Cup 24 bowlers have a strike rate under 20.

Are the bowlers simply improving and bowling better, or is it the duke balls allowing bowlers to demonstrate their craft?

Did the batsmen become so transfixed on the dangers of bowlers like Rashid Khan and Adil Rashid that they failed to prepare for fast bowling?

The consensus in the lead up to the World Cup was that this would be the World Cup where the leg spinners would dominate.

Whilst a leg spinner bamboozling a batsmen is a sight to behold, a fast bowler at the top of his game is something that is a sight to behold.

Whilst the 2015 World Cup was a batsmen’s game, the two most memorable moments were Mitchell Starc dismissing Brendon McCullum and Wahab Riaz’s spell to Shane Watson.

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The resurgence of the fast bowler has reinvigorated the one-day format, the shortness of Twenty20 cricket does not allow us to see extended fast bowling.

Whilst fast bowlers cannot exert too much energy in a Test match to bowl at top pace for a whole match or even an extended spell.

The fast bowlers have created an aura that any team on any day has the potential to win a game, they can turn it on and knock over any batsmen.

All of a sudden the favourites in England could be knocked off by any team on a good day and victory is now not assured.

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Batsmen have begun to fear fast bowling and become exposed, batsmen such as Usman Khawaja who always look calm, now have begun to looked flustered even fearful.

The life has been brought back into one-day cricket along with the resurgence of truly damaging fast bowlers who put fear into batsmen.