(headline suggestion: Ankur Nigam)
Alarmed by Lasith Malinga’s dangerous yorkers that got him a six-for against Kenya recently, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced today that batsmen facing the bowler must now wear iron boots. It is the first instance of special compulsory safety measures while facing one particular cricketer. The implementation will be first seen on March 5, when Australian batsmen will be seen making a lot of noise banging their feet in iron boots, on Colombo’s cricket ground, to face Malinga.
The new clause in the cricket rulebook, “In all international cricket matches w.e.f March 1, 2011, batsmen must wear iron boots, less than 15 kilograms and more than 8 kilograms in weight, below the knee cap, while facing any delivery by Lasith Malinga. A special set of magical goggles will also be available for batsmen, which will enable them to timely realise when the ball leaves the bowler’s hand.” The rule has created chaos in the camps of other teams of Sri Lanka’s group in the World Cup, as they will have to enhance the batting kits very soon.
The decision has mixed opinions. Some say it will reduce chances of Malinga getting wickets, and some say the heavy feet will not allow the batsmen to run much, thus affecting the score. However, most people agree it will be safe nonetheless for batsmen.
The Sri Lankan team management is obviously miffed with the ICC. But since Cricket Sri Lanka has no stature of the BCCI, the rule is here to stay. Malinga himself expressed fears of losing all his famous “sex appeal” if he doesn’t get wickets any more due to this rule. “They could’ve consulted me first before making this rule. It would be better if batsmen stand at the wicketkeeper’s position to face me, or I could have got a haircut to make batsmen more comfortable, but iron boots! No!” said Malinga.
The Australian team, next to face Sri Lanka, is extremely worried. “The iron boots might not be available before March 3, and we need to practise as well with the weird boots,” said wicketkeeper Brad Haddin. The ICC will soon design a sound-proofing system to avoid the possible loud clatter of the boots.