Saturday, Nov 22, 2014

IPL 7: Intentional wide ball — where to draw the line?

Mumbai's Aditya Tare hit a six off James Faulkner to help the side qualify for the IPL 7 playoffs. (Source: PTI) Mumbai's Aditya Tare hit a six off James Faulkner to help the side qualify for the IPL 7 playoffs. (Source: PTI)
Written by Harsha Bhogle | Posted: May 30, 2014 1:21 am | Updated: May 30, 2014 6:18 pm

away from the leg stump and bowl it straight at him! There are so many possibilities that may not have been considered earlier. There are, I am sure, many more. For as Mohandas Menon pointed out to me, a no-ball is in fact a safer option because once the game is lost, there is no free-hit either.

Now, given the times we live in, there is another factor to an intentional wide or the no-ball. Can it attract the attention of anti-corruption? Admittedly, it is for tactical reasons and it isn’t a wide or a no-ball bowled in the middle of the game for no reason (as with the Asif and Amir episode). But think about it. A planned wide or no-ball guaranteed to alter the result of a cricket match? I would love to know what the establishment and the fans think about it and therefore, the precedent it would set. Would it almost legalise the intentional but exaggerated wide? And would that get the dark side of our game excited? And to take Mohandas Menon’s point about the no-ball further, as he himself points out, can you intentionally lose a match to win qualification? (Remember the Suraj Randiv episode where he bowled an intentional no-ball to end the game and thus prevent Sehwag from getting a century?)

On another note, I asked a couple of former bowlers if they would be willing to bowl a wide if it effectively meant winning and going through. One of them said he would be torn by the thought. The other said his primary responsibility towards the team was to win for them. And you can’t argue against that.

As you can see, we may have stumbled onto an interesting debate with tactical, moral and legal issues!

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