The advent of fast-paced T20 cricket has changed the mindset of the batsmen. Fielding restrictions, smaller grounds and batting-friendly pitches have paved the way for ginormous ODI scores — something that was unimaginable in the 20th century. A few decades ago, teams were petrified of scores in excess of 300 but now we witness batsmen scoring double hundreds in ODIs. The ball game has changed altogether, even after the thinning of the bats.
With only a few months to go for ICC World Cup 2019, a question still looms — will we see a team cross the 500-run mark?
Trent Bridge, Nottingham has witnessed the two highest scores in ODIs. England broke their own record on June 19 against Australia by scoring 481 for 6. The previous record was 444 for 3 against Pakistan in 2016.
Earlier, we used to see big scores being made by strong teams against weaker teams, barring the legendary Johannesburg run-fest which involved South Africa and Australia in 2006. But now, players have got experience in big leagues like Indian Premier League (IPL), Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Big Bash League (BBL) etc.
It seems like the balance between the bat and ball has drastically tilted towards the latter. During the England vs Australia clash on June 19, former England cricketers Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton raised the same question.
After the highest ODI score, former South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs felt that scoring 500 was a possibility in the near future.
It’s just a matter of time before a team reaches 500 but the real beauty lies in the chase…
— Herschelle Gibbs (@hershybru) June 19, 2018
Here’s what former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly had to say about the record —
“To see almost 500 runs scored in 50 overs in England is scaring me .. [sic] about the health of the game and where it’s going.. Australian bowling getting treated this way whatever the conditions may be is not acceptable..A country of Lillee, Thompson, Benaud”
McGrath ..lee ..warne played both forms of the game at the same time ..hazelwood ,starc I m sure can do the same
— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) June 19, 2018
On the same day, India A scored 458 for 4 against Leicestershire in a 50-over game. Openers Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal scored centuries whereas Shubman Gill scored a half-century. Agarwal got retired out after scoring 151. The score could have been somewhere near 500 had he not walked off the field. Also, it is the third-highest score in a List A (50-over format) game.
At first, people used to blame Indian pitches for the outrageous first innings total. But soon enough, most of the pitches around the world have become more batting-friendly, it may be an attempt to bring more and more people to the stadium as fours and sixes add more mix to the 50-over format.
Trent Bridge, Nottingham will be hosting five matches in World Cup 2019 —
Windies vs Pakistan — May 31
England vs Pakistan — June 3
Australia vs Windies — June 6
India vs New Zealand — June 13
Australia vs Bangladesh — June 20
Before the World Cup, India will be playing England their first ODI of the tour on July 12, 2018. If the pitch remains as batting-friendly as the one we saw recently, expect few more batting records to be broken.
Note: Apart from Nottingham, only Edgbaston, Birmingham has witnessed a score in excess of 400 on English pitches. The India A game was played at Grace Road, Leicester.