Answered by Anuj Sharma
Q: Does Mustafizur Rahman of Bangladesh deserve rest? Or should he play in the Natwest T20 Blast?
A: There are several reasons why Mustfizur should play in Natwest T20 blast.
Bangladesh is due to visit England for the Champions Trophy in 2017.
Experience of the English conditions gained by their premier pace bowler could be invaluable for the Bangladesh team’s chances at the Champions Trophy.
Bangladesh coach Hathurusingha is also of the view that experience in English conditions is essential to become a complete fast bowler, and Mustafizur is well poised for that.
He will also develop his personality and be more confident of himself after spending time in dressing room with his Sussex team-mates, like he enhanced his standing and surely his confidence after playing alongside international players for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL.
Only if he is physically and mentally tired or has an injury and is in discomfort while bowling, he may have to preserve himself this season and look to playing the English season in the coming years.
Q: ICC cricket committee is thinking of making British Safety Standard helmet mandatory for the batsmen. Is it the right decision?
A: Choice of helmets for players, has been dictated largely by triple factor of safety, comfort and confidence.
Some players in the past like Vivian Richards and Sunil Gavaskar would play express fast bowling just with a cap or without any headgear at all. It was due to the comfort factor, but more due to the confidence in their ability and skills to keep the ball away from their head.
But now comfortable helmets are available and it has been accepted that it is not worth taking a risk of a head injury even if a batsman feels confident enough to prevent it. Thus the standardization of a high quality helmets is a good move.
However, other factors need to be considered.
Will a regular stock of such helmets be available to all teams at all times and within a reasonable price range?
Will the designers of this helmet share the design and IP with other helmet manufacturers who could otherwise go bankrupt?
Will some of the other helmet designs, current or in near future, may actually be better placed for safety than the British Standard Helmet?
Thus, till satisfactory answers are found for these questions, the next step for ICC should be to strongly encourage players and teams to wear British Safety Standard helmets, without making it mandatory.
Q: ICC called for a clampdown on bat size over the glut of run-scoring. It will be good for the bowlers, right?
A: Definitely. Almost every sport places size limitations on the main equipment used in the sport.
While the length (38 inches) and width (4.25 inches) limit is defined for a cricket bat, it is the thickness and weight of the bat which has been left ungoverned till now.
Adding extra layers of wood to make the bat thicker and sometimes heavier, increases the chances of a batsman succeeding against a bowler even in case of a mishit.
Keeping a limit to thickness and weight would definitely be in order to restore some balance between bat and ball.
The other way would be to experiment with the ball, however strange it may sound at this stage, by changing the aerodynamic characteristics of the ball.
And then make the batsmen try and adapt.
Q: Virat Kohli has scored close to 1600 runs in T20s this year. Will any other batsman be able to overtake his tally of runs in 2016?
A: There are several T20 leagues still to be played in 2016, including the NatWest T20 Blast, CPL, BPL, Ram Slam and a part of Big Bash.
Players like AB de Villiers and David Warner who are not restricted by their boards to play overseas leagues, will certainly end up playing many more T20 matches than Virat Kohli in 2016.
BCCI does not allow Indian players to play in overseas leagues, and with the Champions league discontinued, Virat Kohli’s T20 opportunities for the rest of 2016 are very limited.
It is very likely that either AB or Warner or an itinerant West Indian or English player will surpass Kohli’s tally in 2016.
Q: India’s 161-run win at Harare on August 29, 2005 is their biggest in terms of runs Vs Zimbabwe in ODIs. Will that record be broken by the Indian team on the tour of Zimbabwe this month?
A: To score a victory by such a large margin, either the batting team has to post a huge score or dismiss the opposition cheaply.
Historically in cricket, the team records especially records for ‘victories by largest margins’ have changed very slowly, sometimes taking decades, as opposed to individual records which change hands faster.
And in this particular record, to win by a certain margin of runs, India has to bat first, which will reduce the probability of breaking the record by half straightaway.
Thus, the overall probability is low, but India is surely capable of breaking this record.
For the record in 2005 at Harare; India scored only 226, but dismissed Zimbabwe for 65 led by 5-27 from Irfan Pathan and 4-18 from Ajit Agarkar.