Two days after South Africa piled up the highest total in an ODI on Indian soil, Sachin Tendulkar has said that allowing only four fielders outside the 30-yard circle has paved the way for bigger totals.
“It is the rules which have made all the difference. When I played, I remember the four-fielder rule was there throughout the 50 overs and in the Powerplay you could change your field but here more or less (for) all 50 overs the rule changed. You could only have four fielders outside and that definitely put more pressure on the bowlers,” Tendulkar said on the sidelines of a training session for next month’s Cricket All Stars series.
“With four fielders outside the circle the batsman has more option of scoring runs in boundaries, the batsmen who are prepared to take more risks. That is also to do with the T20 format, the batsmen have been practising certain shots which earlier nobody would play.
“The statistics itself show that in the last three years, the amount of matches played in Australia, you see the number of times teams have gone 320-plus. In the last 20 years they have not done that and in the last two years if you are able to do it then (it) is definitely to do with the laws.”
Tendulkar refrained from commenting on the India team combination but showered praise on the South Africa batting unit, especially the trio of centurions in the series-decider in Mumbai – Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers, who alone scored three hundreds in the five-match series.
“I felt that South Africa batted really well. I wouldn’t want to take away credit away from de Kock, du Plessis and de Villiers. I thought de Villiers batted really well.
“I was watching a little bit and Shaun Pollock kept saying he has not shifted to sixth and seventh gear. It was rightly so, he has figured out how to pace his innings and he did it beautifully. I would give credit to the way he batted.
“Maybe he is possibly at the peak of his career. He is really, really batting unbelievably well and it seems that he has got more time than anyone else.”
Tendulkar hoped India would fare better in the Test series and appealed to fans to stand by the team during a difficult phase.
“We have a very good team. Each team will go through phases. There will be patches where you will play well and there will be tough phases where things will get really difficult and things won’t go to your plans. But that doesn’t mean that every weekend you pass a judgment on your team.
“When they do well you say ‘wow they have done really well’ and following week if they don’t do well you start criticising them. I think we need to show more balance. We all are passionate about cricket and we need to be patient also.”
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.