While there is plenty of talk about how bowlers can deal with the saliva ban in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand cricketer Sophie Devine suggested reducing the size of the ball.
Speaking at an ICC Webinar where India’s Jemimah Rodrigues was also present, Devine explained that a smaller ball along with keeping the dimensions of the pitch same could give bowlers some respite.
Devine said, “I’m a bigger fan of looking at a smaller ball but keeping the pitch the same size. That way, I reckon bowlers are going to be able to bowl the ball quicker, spinners are going to be able to turn the ball more.
“Hopefully, the ball should fly a bit further as well, whereas you’re still keeping the traditional length of the pitch. It’s a very interesting one. If it’s going to help the game flourish, I think: why not? Why would we not have a crack at it and see what happens? I think you’ve always got to have a bit of trial and error and see what works."
“I think if we are stuck with traditional formats, we’d be missing out on a lot of new players, new kids, new athletes to the game."
According to ICC regulations, the ball should weigh 140-151g with a circumference of 21-22.5cm in women’s cricket, compared to 155.9-163g and 22.4-22.9cm respectively in men’s cricket.
In contrast, Rodrigues supported the idea of having a shorter pitch if it could bring in more fans and see more competitive matches among women teams.
“If that is going to help the game improve and take it to the next level, then why not? You know, kind of get a thought to it, think about it, because at the end of it, we want to promote the game," she said.
“We want to get more people to watch the game and more people to even join the game. So, yeah, I think it is a good idea. I think, you know, you can be open to it.”
Devine was only 17 years old when she was selected for New Zealand in 2006 and has played 105 ODIs and 91 Twenty20s. She was appointed captain in January.
Rodrigues was one of the four teenagers who represented India at this year’s T20 World Cup. She has kept herself busy during lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic by starting a YouTube chat show called Double Trouble with team-mate Smriti Mandhana.
Both cricketers welcomed the idea of having a Twenty20 event for women at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
“World Cup is the ultimate but there’s something different about an Olympic or a Commonwealth Games,” Rodrigues said.
“Whenever I used to see the Olympics going on I used to say when will I get the opportunity and at that time I didn’t know whether it would be cricket or hockey. I used to always dream of having something like that and wearing that medal so I think this is very exciting for me and I’m super excited for it.”