Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra has batted for the idea of normalizing retiring batsmen out in T20 cricket and believes it’s an option that teams should be able to leverage in the case of an on-field batsman struggling. Former SRH coach Tom Moody, meanwhile, suggested a ‘toss’ for Super Overs.
Far too often in T20 cricket, batting sides, for no fault of the individual, can be left frustrated by the slow-scoring pace of one particular batsman in the middle. Earlier this IPL season, Rahul Tewatia came under fire batting at a SR under 50 in the first half of his innings, before remarkably turning this around, and more recently, the likes of Ben Stokes and Kedar Jadhav too have been chastised for deterring the team through their slow batting. This has given birth to the topic of retiring batsmen out, a tactic where the batting team has the power to send an on-field batsman to the dugout and replace him with a different batter to suit the needs of the team.
This is a tactic that is employed by sides in warm-up games, wherein a batsman is sent back to the dressing room after usually completing a milestone.
Opinions have been divided over the suggested change/tactic, but speaking in ESPN Cricinfo’s “Mute Me” discussion, former Indian Aakash Chopra batted for the ‘retired out’ tactic and wished for the ploy to be normalized and destigmatized.
“Let’s destigmatize ‘retiring out’ batsmen in T20 cricket. The reason I say this is because, while I do understand making a comeback and rising like a phoenix plays an important role in sports narrative, we are coming to a stage where it is professional,” Chopra said in ESPN Cricinfo’s ‘Mute Me’ program.
“I’m not doubting the intentions of the guy who is struggling in the middle but there comes a time when if you have an in-form Andre Russell or an in-form Kieron Pollard sitting in the dugout and there is a guy in the middle who is trying his best, but is not able to clear the fence, you need to destigmatize the retired-out phenomenon.”
Cricketer-turned-commentator Ian Bishop, however, disagreed with Chopra’s viewpoint and termed the suggestion ‘too soft’. Bishop opined that teams have to live with the choice they make.
“That’s too soft. You prepare a team for weeks, months in some cases, as a coach, you go around all these auctions and spend thousands, and in some cases hundreds of thousands, of dollars to pick guys. Live and die by the sword - it’s too soft to retire people. You get a guy going in to do his job, professional sport - do your job, or get out and come out,” said the former Windies quick.
In the same discussion, former Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody also came up with an interesting suggestion of his own. Moody suggested that there must be a fresh coin toss before Super Overs and claimed that the ongoing rule - where the team batting second in normal time bats first in the Super Over - is a disadvantage to the side that chased in normal time.
“I think there’s a huge disadvantage when a game goes to a Super Over and the team that’s batting last is the team that bats first in the Super Over. I think it’s such an important event, it’s gotten to this point so there should be a new toss where the captain who wins the toss can elect to bat or bowl first. You could have situations where your key batsman in the second innings has batted throughout the whole innings and could be dehydrated, exhausted - he needs a chance to refresh and recharge. And if that’s the case you might want to bat second, to allow your key batsman to be fresh and take on those six balls in the super over,” Moody said.