I appreciate that there will be a quite a few professional cricketers around the world who will feel that I’m belittling them and am quite simply, incorrect but let’s be honest, anyone could be a T20 death bowler!
Imagine that somebody, anybody, was employed purely to bowl the 18th and 20th over of T20 matches. Whether it be your ninety-year-old grandma or your four-year-old grandson, as long as they were taught to bowl with a legal action and remember that for a lot of people, not necessarily the extremes that I’ve mentioned, they wouldn’t even need that, then they could and would take wickets. The fact of the matter is, at that stage of a match, batsmen are just having a go and trying to clear the ropes. Those batsmen might be lower order folk. Joe Bloggs off the street might not bowl with much pace and so it’s left to the batsmen to generate the power. Some of them won’t have that power and will fail to execute their attempted shot properly, they will be caught out and also be susceptible to being bowled or LBW. Just the fact that the batsmen would be expected to smash an amateur out of the crowd is a risk to them in itself.
Maybe everybody could take Test wickets too but they’d average a few hundred per wicket however in T20, though random amateurs plucked from the street might have poor economy rates and high averages, ultimately they would clock up a fair few wickets and do so with the sort of regularity that highlights that T20 just isn’t cricket. The shorter the format, the easier it is to take wickets.
When we watch sportspersons on TV or at an event, we expect them to be performing in a superior manner to which we ourselves can. When I know that I and you could genuinely take wickets in T20 cricket then that devalues the game immensely.
If we conducted an experiment where I bowled the 18th and 20th overs of one T20 team’s entire season then I would take at least a couple of wickets. The only reason that I wouldn’t would be if batsmen chose to eliminate the risk to prove me wrong, in which case my economy would become respectable.
Soon we’ll have 100-ball cricket (Do these matches even have official status?!) to go with zing bails and pom pom dancers so why not just pick somebody out of the crowd every game, let them bowl the ten-ball over and see what happens!