The other day, Harsha Bhogle tweeted that the incredible run chases of IPL 5 — wherein batsmen have successfully stared down required run rates above 15 in the last 5 overs — shows that the asking rate doesn’t mean much anymore. This put me in mind of a recent Economist article decrying “pan-flation“:
Take the grossly underreported problem of “size inflation”, where clothes of any particular labelled size have steadily expanded over time…A five-star hotel used to mean the ultimate in luxury, but now six- and seven-star resorts are popping up as new hotels award themselves inflated ratings as a marketing tool….One example is grade inflation, the tendency for comparable academic performance to be awarded higher grades over time.
The basic currency of cricket is runs. Not long ago, a score of 250 would have bought you a more than reasonable shot at victory; now, anything below 280 or 290 is considered iffy. Like inflation in the economy, run-flation affects expectations, which explains why batsmen now see the sky as the limit in the final overs. But what are the dangers in such a trend? Will there be a “devaluation” of cricket if strike rates continue to rise? Or will we see a “new normal” so that only a certain type of batsman — Yusuf Pathan, Sehwag, Pollard — begin to corner the market?