Afridi happy with new free-hit rule

Monday, July 16, 2007

KARACHI: Pakistan’s much celebrated all-rounder Shahid Afridi believes that the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s new rule of awarding a free hit to batsmen after a no ball delivery in one-dayers, was a nice innovation in the game, saying it would make the sport more entertaining and exciting.

The swashbuckling Afridi said he understood the apprehensions of fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, who feel the new rule penalised a bowler harshly if he sent down a no-ball, but felt the two bowlers would not face any problem.

“Shoaib and Asif are two of the most accurate bowlers I have seen in One-day Internationals. They bowl very few no-balls. So I don’t see them facing any problems,”
he said.

“The new rule will make the other bowlers also more accurate and disciplined to avoid giving away bonus runs and that is a good thing as less wides and no balls means less time lost in a match.”

Shoaib and Asif have expressed reservations over the rule, effective from October 1, which says on the very next delivery after after a no-ball, the batsman can take a free hit without any danger of being dismissed unless he is run-out.

The Pakistani pace duo has said the new rule would only increase the pressure on the bowlers in a game whose rules are increasingly a big advantage to the batsmen.

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