New rules in cricket have cut aggression and reduced it to a sissy's game, says Andy Roberts

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New rules in cricket have cut aggression and reduced it to a sissy's game, says Andy Roberts

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SportsCafe Desk

07/02/2017

West Indian fast bowling legend Andy Roberts has lashed out on the new rules that according to him have forced the fast bowlers to restrict their pace during the game. Moreover, Roberts suggested that the modern era cricketers lack strength and follow training methods that are unnecessary.

“We don’t have enough pacers in the world. No one’s bowling fast because rules for short-pitched bowling have changed, batsmen are fully protected. The rules of the game are cutting aggression. You cannot even stare hard at the batsmen else they would fine you. They are taking all the aggression out of the game," Roberts told Hindustan Times.

“What part of cricket is gentle? Let me ask you, women are playing, is it a female’s game? No. People who make all these rules make them sissy’s game,” he added.

The 66-year old further went on to say that cricket has changed drastically from when he played and now even the faint of heart can compete in the game.

“As a spectator what do you like to see, aggression between batsman and a fast bowler. Cricket, when I played, wasn’t for the chicken-hearted, it was for people with a lion’s heart. Not anymore.”

Alzarri Joseph has emerged as one of the fastest West Indian bowlers in the recent times and featured in the U-19 side that defeated India in the U-19 World Cup in 2016. However, Roberts denied acknowledging him as a fast bowler and termed him a medium pacer while advising the players to take guidance from the West Indian pace attack that instilled fear in the hearts of the batsmen during the 1970s and the 1980s.

“He is not fast. No, he is not fast. He bowls medium pace at 85 and 86 miles. What some of these guys need to do is speak to people, especially those from the past, and learn about their methods of training which made them bowl quick,” says Roberts.

Roberts further questioned the training methods that the modern players have begun to follow terming them useless while he insisted that focusing on the basics is the best method to condition one's body for the game and accused that these methods were brought in by people who have never competed in a full-fledged cricket match.

“I have been asking all along, why do you need the gym? To build muscles? But is fast bowling about muscles, or is it about strength? You build strength only through running and speaking about the West Indies pacers, I think they are not doing enough running.

“Who are the ones bringing in all these types of training? Someone who has not played the game.”

The Antiguan also accused the players of lacking strength and not spending ample time on the field.

“They may be playing more matches but they are spending less time on the field. T20 is four overs, ODIs are less and less now, it is 10 overs. In a Test match, you could bowl as many as 20-25 overs a day. Yeah, there are too many matches but (bowlers are) not spending time on field. They are bowling as much. We would play back-to-back ODIs, sometimes they’d fit in an ODI on the rest day. But now there is a gap.”

Roberts was a part of the fearsome West Indian pace attack, which starred Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, Winston Davis and Colin Croft that won two successive World Cups in 1975 and 1979. The 66-year old was known for his varying pace bouncers and scalped 202 wickets in Test cricket in a career that spanned over 9 years.

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