Cricket: Rule change ‘can give England extra bounce’

The new rule change on bouncers could assist Steven Finn and England when they face India in the first one-day match in Rajkot on Friday.
The new rule change on bouncers could assist Steven Finn and England when they face India in the first one-day match in Rajkot on Friday.
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Bowling coach David Saker believes England’s pace attack is ready to cash in on new playing regulations for one-day internationals.

The International Cricket Council has been tinkering with the ODI format for several years, adding and removing innovations and experimenting at regular intervals in a bid to keep the format exciting in the Twenty20 era.

Some, such as the batting powerplay, have been a clear boon to the one-day game but others, such as the ill-fated “super-sub” system are better forgotten.

The latest round of changes mean quick bowlers can now use two bouncers per over, one more than before, while the maximum number of fielders outside the 30-metre ring in non-powerplays has been reduced from five to four.


Most English bowlers will welcome the chance to send down more of the short stuff and Saker believes an attack that includes the likes of Steven Finn, Stuart Broad, Stuart Meaker and Yorkshire’s Tim Bresnan can flourish.

Their current assignment – a five-match ODI series on the flatter decks of India, starting on Friday – may not be the ideal proving ground, but Saker expects to see big benefits for his unit in the long term.

“We’ve talked about the regulations quite a lot and come up with our plans but until we get out there and see how those plans work we won’t really be sure,” said Saker.

“I think they’ll be in favour of us with the fast bowling attack we have, definitely in English conditions although India may be a little different.

“My philosophy is to do the basics right and our normal plans should still work well, but the big thing is the extra bouncers that will be bowled.

“If the wicket is conducive then it is going to play into our hands.”

Saker will be the man charged with adapting England’s attack to the new regulations, but that would not have been the case had he followed up Warwickshire’s interest in making him the club’s new head coach.

Since joining the England set-up in April 2010, the 46-year-old Victorian’s stock has risen sharply and he was approached to discuss replacing Ashley Giles at Edgbaston.

Giles has gone in the opposite direction having taken over as England’s one-day and Twenty20 coach.

But despite being tempted by the role, Saker cannot conceive abandoning his current post with the challenges ahead in the next couple of years.

“I had a little meeting with some people at Warwickshire and we talked about it,” said Saker.

“I was very interested in the post at Warwickshire, but in the long run I am committed to getting this England team to 2015 World Cup success.

“I think there is something special coming up. Obviously there is a double Ashes (home and away) series coming up, a Champions Trophy in England and then the World Cup.”

England line up against a Delhi XI today in their second and final warm-up match before the one-day series starts in Rajkot on Friday.

Their preparations began disappointingly with a 53-run defeat to India A on Sunday and Saker hopes the side have learnt some lessons from that.

“I think it was a good wake-up call not to take any side lightly and make sure you’re on top of your game,” he said.

“The game of cricket has a habit of biting you on the bottom if you don’t get the basics right and we probably didn’t get the basics right on Sunday.

“We’ll be concentrating really hard to put that right.”

Captain Alastair Cook sat out the India A match due to a cold but is expected to lead the side today.

Jonny Bairstow says England still have three chances to put things right in Australia (Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA Wire).

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