Rule requiring ball must not be changed before 80th over should be amended

Dear Editor,

I have seen nothing to change my thinking that the three formats of cricket as currently played are all attractive entertainment events for those who understand the game, and ought to be nurtured. Cricket has a long tradition and is a healthy, non-contact, character-building sport. The shortest form of the game has attracted a great deal of entrepreneurship, and perhaps for that reason is very consumer friendly. The one-day game is generally satisfactory to both purists and non-traditionalists, and does not need to change much. The longest version of the game suffers from too much traditionalism. Some important adjustments need to be made in a few areas.

I think over the last few years I have made a strong case for unlimited use of the DRS that has not been answered, so I will proceed to deal with the others. The ball: Better efforts must be made on the issue of uniformity in the quality of the manufacture, and the rule requiring that it not be changed before the 80th over must be amended. There is no proper basis for the choice of 80.There are very frequent complaints about deterioration long before the 80th over, and it is now common to have spinners use the ball effectively while it is in very good shape. There should be experiments with 70 overs and perhaps 60 overs shortly thereafter. Ball changes do create excitement. Such a change will increase the level of excitement, have no impact on the use of spin and reduce the frequency of complaints about its condition.

Home advantage countries (some more than others) are almost fortresses for the national team. That detracts from the excitement of a series. Consideration should be given to dividing the venues for a series, and the occasional use of third country venues. The quality of teams and players will be better tested in such a format.

Wickets: Wickets are too important to the results of games to leave their preparation entirely in the hands of the home country. The ICC should be involved, indeed should supervise wicket preparation to avoid either sub-standard pitches or those that give obvious advantages to the home side. Speeding up the game: The penalty for slow over rates should be imposed on the team, including the coaching staff and not solely on the captain who is often the best player and whose suspension reduces fan interest and pleasure.

Yours faithfully,
Romain Pitt