Sachin Tendulkar © AFP
Sachin Tendulkar © AFP

Sachin Tendulkar believes that using two new balls, one from each end every 80 overs, is the way forward in Test cricket. According to The Little Master, this will ensure that the bowlers won’t be at a disadvantage in a sport that is heavily tilted in a batsman’s favour. Tendulkar suggested the idea at the Hindustan Times-Mint Asia Leadership in Singapore. Tendulkar explained that most changes in the game, like better bats and smaller boundaries, have helped batsmen; two new balls will only make the game fairer. He added that this may help eliminate ball-tampering. When the ball loses its shine, bowlers opt for reverse swing. Tendulkar feels that having two balls will ensure that umpires will control either of the ball.

Tendulkar’s ODI suggestions

Tendulkar also had a similar suggestion on improving ODIs, currently a format struggling between Tests and T20Is. Tendulkar called for dividing the match into four quarters: Team A bat the first 25 overs and scores 100 for 3; then Team B put up 90 for 1 in their 25 overs; A resume at 100 for 3 and end up scoring 280 for 8 in their 50 overs. B walk out to chase 191 (281 – 90) from their remaining 25 overs with 9 wickets in hand. In a way it is similar to Cricket Max, suggested by Martin Crowe two decades ago.

Virat Kohli: Sachin Tendulkar my favourite hero on and off the field
Virat Kohli: Sachin Tendulkar my favourite hero on and off the field

Author’s take

Tendulkar’s suggestion of two new balls in Tests seems absurd. Bowling with the old ball is an art and there are instances where teams want to continue with the old ball even when they are entitled to a new one. It has been part of the game, which makes Tests more challenging. This will only hamper it. Most importantly, it will not necessarily help bowlers, as reverse-swing will come into play much later.

Tendulkar had floated the idea of having ODIs in four quarters in 2009. It was even implemented in Australian domestic cricket. The idea will add another dimension to ODI cricket. It will take away the toss and dew factors and create level playing grounds for both teams. There will be added excitement, and ODIs can be rejuvenated, rather than being just another stretched format of T20s.