Spin king Shane Warne has offered his suggestions on the current state of the game
Shane Warne has added another chapter to his ever expanding ‘Warniefesto’, this time suggesting Test matches be reduced by a day and unlimited overs for ODI bowlers. Warne posted on his website today a column titled ‘Some Suggestions’, covering topics as wide as one-day international fielding restrictions, the Decision Review System and pitch maintenance during the hours of play. The biggest overhaul Warne suggests is the reduction of Test cricket from five days to four. Australia’s leading Test wicket-taker says Test cricket should be played over four days with 96 overs bowled per day, an increase of six overs from the current requirement, which would follow the same format as the Bupa Sheffield Shield. Play would commence an hour earlier to allow for the extra overs, while the lunch and tea intervals would change to 30 minutes each, again mirroring Shield cricket. Warne says Test cricket should be played on a four-year home and away cycle, with points awarded for victories that would result in a winner every Olympiad, taking home a lump sum “say, $10 million” that is paid out by the International Cricket Council.
The 45-year-old would also dramatically change ODI cricket. Gone would be all fielding restrictions in a hope to encourage attacking captaincy, while defensive leaders would be exposed if they surrender nine fielders on the boundary rope. Warne says the removal of fielding restrictions would put more onus back on the bowler setting the field, who would also be unshackled and allowed to bowl unlimited overs, up to 25 per match. To further aid bowlers, the spin king suggests using a two-piece ball as opposed to the four-piece ball used in international and first-class cricket. A two-piece ball, used in lower grades and club cricket, swings significantly more than the doubled version, with Warne liking it to “when we tape one side of a tennis ball.” “Cricket followers want to see a real contest between bat and ball,” writes Warne. “It’s a fallacy that they come along to the cricket just to see fours and sixes; they want a fair contest, a battle, and if anything, favoring the bowler.”
Warne also says DRS should be employed in every international fixture and funded by the ICC. Currently, non-ICC matches involving India do not use technology to assist the umpires, but Warne says “if everyone is playing by the same rules then it will be accepted, as it stands now, everyone should say no until all nations agree … not fair otherwise.” The review system would also be tweaked, no longer penalising teams a review when the call reverts back to the umpire’s original decision. “It’s hard to believe the number of decisions that are decided by a cat’s whisker,” he writes. “A millimetre here or there and, suddenly, if you get it wrong, you lose a review. “That’s ludicrous. If it’s a close one, and the decision stays ‘umpire’s call’, you should not be penalised by losing a review.” Finally, Warne says the stumps should be a bit taller and wider, just for good measure.
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