Big totals in World Cup 2019 can bring out the best in bowlers

The ICC World Cup 2019 being played in England is already underway. For a while now it has been predicted that the World Cup 2019 will be a run feast. The nature of wickets in England has transformed significantly in the last four years, and scores over 300 have become almost the norm. The highest ever team total in ODIs – 481-6 by England against Australia – was achieved in 2018 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.

Hence it is being feared that the World Cup 2019 would sound the death knell for bowlers as batsmen swat them for fours and sixes at will.

Interestingly, though, several bowlers taking part in the tournament believe that the flat pitches and high scores present them the opportunity to take more wickets and liberty to experiment.

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Indian seam bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar certainly feels that if batsmen from a team put up high scores, it will allow the bowlers of that team to experiment freely. “Chasing 350-360 is not an easy task, but nowadays teams can chase them if they bat well, so it gives extra confidence when you go bowling when it is 300 or 330 plus. These are extra liberties to try something new as a bowler,” Bhuvneshwar was quoted as saying to an Indian sports website recently.

“In these kinds of flat batting wickets, you want to keep it tight and let the batsmen make mistakes, that’s the general plan, and I always try to do that thing,” the senior Indian bowler added.

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Spinners too might have a significant role to play in the World Cup. This tournament will see the likes of Imran Tahir, Rashid Khan, Adam Zampa, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in action. All of these are some of the best spinners in the world, and it would be a challenge for them to bowl on flat surfaces.

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But when they are defending big totals, these spinners will have the luxury of using their endless varieties – flighting the ball, giving some rip, using googlies and wrong ones. This will test them and might even allow them to test their potential.

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“Before the World Cup starts if the batsmen give you a big total it is a good chance for the bowlers. 350 is very difficult to chase so that you can flight the ball,” Indian leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal Chahal said recently to the media.

“When you are defending such a total, there is no pressure on the bowlers to start with. There is more pressure on the batsmen because they have to chase 360-370 and they have to hit almost every ball,” the lanky spin bowler added.

It would be interesting to see if bowlers can find a way to be effective in this World Cup and be counted. One certainly hopes so. Because just seeing batsmen smashing sixes and fours will get mundane after a while. What would be fascinating is to see the likes of Jasprit Bumrah use a slower bouncer when the batsman is on fire of Imran Tahir foxing someone with his googly. That is what makes the game in the balance, and that is what will keep the World Cup exciting and entertaining.

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