As I sat and watched Australia and India plunder 300 runs with relative ease on another flat, lifeless wicket in Canberra, I started to ponder, who would become a bowler?
Modern day cricket is so geared toward sixes and even bigger run chases that we are running a very real risk of alienating the next generation of bowlers.
Cricket has long been a genuine battle between bat and ball, however as the game attempts to appeal to a younger audience, bowling has become a process of damage limitation rather than a battle.
Flat pitches akin to bowling on a freshly laid road, increasingly shorter boundaries, free hits, batting power-plays, and bats the size of tree trunks are all innovations introduced to help the batsman.
Meanwhile poor bowlers are reduced to novelties in limited overs cricket, and forced to toil away for session upon session in the test match arena.
The WACA ground in Perth has historically been a fast bowlers paradise, with plenty of bounce, pace and movement in the wicket.
Batsman had nightmares about facing the best quicks the international game had to offer, while slips fielders were forced to be on high alert each and every ball.
The most recent test match against New Zealand was reduced to a snore fest as batsman plundered top line fast bowlers to all corners of the ground without fear of any demons in the pitch.
Curators are berated if a side is bowled out for less than 300 in a test match, while scores of under 300 in one day internationals are almost laughed at as huge failures.
Why would any child dream of growing up to be the next Kane Richardson when they see Travis Head depositing ball after ball thirty rows back into the crowd?
The thinking is that games that don’t involve a mass of runs are boring.
I’d argue that the recent test against New Zealand in Adelaide was five times as entertaining as the game played on the batting paradise that was the WACA, despite the fact it ended days shorter, and saw hundreds less runs scored.
With all due respect to Ross Taylor who played one of the great modern innings, I found myself looking at my phone far more often during his incredible knock than I did at any time in Adelaide.
At the WACA you never felt like anything other than a boundary or defensive shot was coming.
In Adelaide, the ball was moving, and suddenly those fielders behind the wicket were in the game every few overs.
Games don’t need to involve huge scores to be exciting. As a cricket fan I want to see, in tests and one day internationals, a battle between bat and ball.
T20’s are designed to be smash and bash games that are over before kids become bored.
I’m a huge fan of the current Big Bash tournament, but it’s a game designed to be dominated by huge sixes and big totals.
One day games are similar, although I believe the ball should be doing more in the early overs. Opening batsman need to see the new ball off and then score freely.
Test matches however remain the pinnacle of the game and should remain that battle between bat and ball.
I’d argue that the roads being served up are not benefiting the batsman either.
In England, one a rare green top pitch, the Australian top order had absolutely no idea how to play the moving ball.
A side containing multiple players with averages north of 50 were left embarrassed as the team score struggled to surpass the average of one top order player.
While Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson were ripping through the top order, social media was set alight by those claiming that the pitch was doing too much and batsmen were no hope.
That is how the majority of test match pitches use to play early on.
Captains use to have to think about the conditions after winning the toss, where now, unless in very rare circumstances, batting is the only sensible option.
I’m not saying we need to serve up pitches that see the ball move 45 degrees off the seam, but unless the bowlers are offered something, they may be tempted to throw their hands up and give up.
A great bowler is a great bowler, no matter what the conditions, but I don’t see any modern day bowler troubling the wicket tallies of the likes of Warne and McGrath, simply because it’s no longer a fair contest.
When I was younger there was very little I looked forward to more than Brett Lee running in and swinging the ball at 150 km/h.
Unfortunately the way the game is going, for every bowler that wants to run in and bowl quick, there will be hundreds of kids lining up to send them back over their head and into the stands.