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England v Australia

Shane Warne suggests unique T20 idea to even out contest between bat and ball

Warne T20
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Shane Warne, the legendary Australian spinner, has suggested a unique idea that, he feels, can bridge the gap between bat and ball in T20 cricket.

While on commentary for Sky Sports Cricket during the second England-Australia T20I, Warne suggested that allowing four bowlers to send down five overs in an innings could help balance the game better, which is currently tilted heavily in the batsmen’s favour.

“What about four bowlers bowl five overs?”, Warne said. “I just think it’s a better contest between bat and ball. You want your best bowlers bowling as much as you can as T20 is so much in the batsmen’s favour.”

Warne’s suggestion came on the back of Australia’s top-order capitulation at the hands of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, who reduced them to 3-2 within the first two overs. Both bowlers were consistently cranking up speeds of over 90mph, but captain Eoin Morgan brought in Tom Curran to replace Archer by the fifth over, saving him for the death overs. A timely recovery from the Australian middle order helped them post a respectable 157-7.

“When you get a couple of gun bowlers like this [Archer and Wood] you want to give them another over up front,” Warne said.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to give them five? You can obviously have eight bowlers bowl whatever but I would like to see bowlers be able to bowl five. [Adil] Rashid could bowl five overs in the middle which would be a real good battle for the batsmen against spin, while you can bowl your quicks at the beginning and at the end.

“I reckon it gets rid of the bits-and-pieces and you can pick your best batsmen and best bowlers when selecting your team.”

Fellow commentator Mike Atherton wondered if the extra over for specialist bowlers will cut into the share of bowling all-rounders. “It is an interesting idea,” Atherton said. “Shane always has a fertile imagination when it comes to cricket.

“I have been trying to think about the disadvantages. Would it play against genuine all-rounders? But I can see the advantages. It gives your dynamic, box-office players more of a chance to shape the game.”

Ian Ward felt the suggestion would not diminish the impact that an all-rounder could provide, especially when the main bowlers needed support. “The all-rounders would still have a role to play if it went wrong for one of your superstars,” Ward said. “There is a pressure valve if you have someone like Ben Stokes in your side and Archer, say, doesn’t get it right.”

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