Mike Atherton
Mike Atherton (AFP Photo)

Batting friendly laws in limited-overs cricket have tilted the game heavily in the favour of batsmen and is a cause of legitimate concern, feels former England captain Mike Atherton.

Shorter boundaries, heavy bats, using two new balls among others are few of the major overhaul in rules that have contributed to more high-scoring affairs which have sometimes reduced the bowlers to mere punching bags.

“Six hitting alone does not guarantee entertainment and the balance between bat and ball is legitimate grounds for debate and concern in ODIs,” Atherton wrote in his column for The Times.

Atherton’s comments come after a record-breaking contest between West Indies and England that saw 46 sixes being hit across the games and over 800 runs scored.

Atherton, who played 115 Tests and 54 ODIs, advocated the rule of using two new balls in one-day internationals, which came into effect in 2011, to be abolished.

Everything is loaded in favour of the bat: short boundaries, limitations on field settings; pitches that don t deteriorate… and white balls that do not swing at the start and, because two are used, do not swing at the end, he wrote.

He added, “To provide a good spectacle, the balance in ODIs need not be skewed to the bowler as far as in Tests. This does not mean that bowlers should be denuded entirely. Some swing, at the start with a better ball or at the end, by using one rather than two, would allow for a greater variety of skills.

[Sachin] Tendulkar backed up my call for one white ball, rather than two, to be used again in ODIs, the better to encourage some reverse swing towards the end of an innings.”