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Where Have India’s Part-time Bowlers Disappeared? Rahul Dravid Blames it on Four-fielder Rule and Two New Balls

Last Updated: September 22, 2023, 10:10 IST

Rahul Dravid admits it's an area the team has to work on. (AFP Photo)

Rahul Dravid admits it’s an area the team has to work on. (AFP Photo)

The current Indian team lacks part-time bowlers who can be used in the middle overs and Rahul Dravid says the new rules are to be blamed on their disappearance.

Remember 2011 ODI World Cup?

Remember the wealth of bowling options Indian team had at its disposal besides the specialists?

Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Virender Sehwag were stars with the bat but more than capable of holding their own with the ball too.

Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar recently talked about the importance of allrounders in India’s ODI World Cup triumphs in 1983 and 2011.

However, the part-bowlers seem to have have disappeared from India’s limited-overs team. Among the current lot, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli often used to bowl during the early part of their careers but have stopped doing it now.

So what is the reason?

India head coach Rahul Dravid has an explanation – new rules.

Fielding teams in ODIs are now allowed just four fielders outside the ring from 11th over to over no 40th over and Dravid says it’s the reason why there’s hesitation over using part-time bowlers in the middle overs.

“I think it is because of the rule change. Suddenly, you have gone from four fielders inside the ring to five fielders inside the ring. I think that has drastically changed the ability of part-time bowler to be able to bowl in the middle phase,” Dravid said on Thursday.

“In that kind of situation, you could lose a lot of part-time bowlers and not only us, but a lot of teams also did that. If you will notice, the number of part-time bowlers have gone down in other teams as well. It’s not only the Indian team,” he added.

He also thinks that using a new ball from each end is also to be blamed.

“Partly, it is because of two new balls as well, you have got five fielders in the ring in the middle overs. It is becoming more and more difficult for the part-time bowlers to bowl,” Dravid said.

Dravid says the team is working on this particular area and said batters do bowl in the nets but unless they bowl in an actual match, it’s difficult to develop skills.

“It’s not that they are not bowling in the nets, lot of batsmen they do bowl in the nets,” Dravid said. “If you don’t get opportunities to bowl in the middle then it becomes very difficult to develop your skill. And more and more captains and coaches are wary of the rules and so they will always look to play a genuine bowler in the mix. This is something we are working on it. It’s not that we don’t work on that, we constantly work on it and we are constantly working on some of our bowlers to bat well as well. Certainly, the count of part-time bowlers has reduced.”

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