For over 2 decades now, batsmen have ruled the game of cricket. Since the inception of fielding restrictions in the 1996 World Cup, attacking batsmen have been the nightmare of bowlers.
Anyone could have bowled the perfect outswinger against Sri Lanka with the new ball in that World Cup and if Jayasuriya decided, they would still get smashed over covers for a six.
The game has evolved since then but it has done so in favour of batsmen. People want to see sixes and fours being hit and that's what the organisers have been asking the pitch curators to do for years- prepare flat tracks, allowing the batsmen to swing through the line.
And don't worry, if you don't get the middle of the bat, it would still fly miles courtesy of smaller boundaries and better bats.
Which was still okay, as long as a skilled bowler could get the old ball to reverse swing after the 20-25th over.
Then they introduced the policy of using two new balls from each end.
At this point, you kinda asked- why don't they just play 11 batters and 5 part-timers who could roll their arms 60 times each game?
But this World Cup was different, wasn't it?
Everybody, from experts to former cricketers had said that the English pitches hadn't assisted white-ball bowlers in a long time. The pitches were likely to be flat tracks. And it made sense.
The home team was full of flat-track bullies. Other than Joe Root at no 3, the entire English batting line-up was filled with power hitters.
In fact, a year ago, England had managed to put 481 on the board against Australia in 50 overs.
But hats off to the pitch curators and the management that was behind the making of these pitches for the World Cup 2019.
More often than not, they had something for everyone.
With a perpetual cloud over, the fast bowlers could move the ball in the first 10 overs.
If they continued to bowl a good line and length, bowlers could even take wickets in the middle overs.
Spinners didn't have it easy. But it wasn't like they were hammered all around the park either.
They played important roles. They contained the batsmen as the fast bowlers took wickets from the other end.
The pitches slowed down causing power hitters to rethink their approach, while fast bowlers could -bowl cross-seam with variations of slow balls and take wickets.
If you were as good as a Bumrah or Archer, you could take wickets anywhere. But even if you weren't one of them, you still had some hope on these pitches.
Good batsmen who applied themselves could score and score freely. But first, they had to pay their dues by standing long enough to face the music.
Scores of 300 weren't easily scored, let alone get chased. But teams got real close.
India got close against England, much like Bangladesh almost chased scores in excess of 300 against both Australia and India.
And no, the batsmen didn't go hammer and tonks. They applied themselves on difficult pitches and we got to witness craftsmanship that we believed was dead.
When was the last time you remember scores of 240 keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats?
Both the semi-final and the final that New Zealand played, only 240 was put on the board but the Kiwis managed to choke the shit out of two of the strongest batting line ups in the tournament.
New Zealand actually tore the Indian batting order apart. And had it not been for lower order's brilliance, India would have never even got close.
Remember the two games Afghanistan played against India and Pakistan? Had it not been for their lack of international experience, they would have caused the biggest upsets of this World Cup.
This World Cup was an exibition of good cricket.
After 2 long decades, cricket was played the way it was meant to be- a fair contest between the bat and the ball.
England might never return the Kohinoor but damn, this summer, they brought bowlers back into the game!