Saturday, August 14, 2010

The future of one-day cricket?

In recent times, one of the most hotly debated topics in cricketing circles is about the future of one-day cricket. Every tom, dick and harry, who has played international cricket is voicing his opinion as they don't want to be left behind when it comes to grabbing the headlines. The general consensus seems to be one-day cricket has become saturated and we should only concentrate on t/20 and test cricket. The latest former player to join the bandwagon is New Zealand's former captain and perhaps their best batsman ever Martin Crowe. The alternative view is to reduce the number of overs to 40  and split it into innings of 20 overs each. The Australian board is already going to try that format during this season, though their domestic players don't seem to be exactly happy with the idea. One of the biggest supporters of the idea seems to be the current record holder for the highest runs in both test and one-day cricket Tendulkar himself!

My two cents on future of one-day cricket

 I don't think we can hide behind the fact that one-day cricket is losing its popularity ,but it isn't right to say that one-day cricket should be scrapped altogether as it has given us so much joy in the past.  So, below are my views about how to inject life into one-day  cricket.

Prepare sporting pitches - Unlike test cricket, the shorter formats of the game should slightly  favour the batsmen as the crowds come to see big hits, but the feeling I get is, it has become too easy to get scores of over 300 in one-day cricket. I would like to see pitches that has something in it for the bowlers, but good batsmen can still get runs and a total of around 250 can be posted. It gets bad when in most of the matches, one team scores around 300, or over 300 and the other team can match it.  I have always believed that cricket can succeed in long term, only when the game isn't fully loaded in favour of either batsmen, or the bowler. At present, in most cases, one-day cricket is heavily loaded in favour of the batsmen.

One of the greatest criticism of one-day cricket has been, after the bowling team takes the first two power plays, the game becomes monotonous. Once the fielding captain takes the first two power plays, he would spread his field and as a result, batsmen just pace themselves by taking singles and  look for the odd boundary, until the slog overs come around.  Sporting wickets would encourage the fielding captains to attack and look for wickets even in the middle overs. Gone are the days, when a Mark Taylor would introduce Warne in the first 10 overs itself on a track that is turning a bit, Dipak Patel opening the bowling, or Anil Kumble bowling during the first 10 overs in the subcontinent.

I would also like to see no boundary ropes on grounds. If that isn't possible, at least don't make a big ground like MCG feel like a small rugby ground in New Zealand.  The beauty of cricket lies in singles being converted into twos and twos being converted into threes with fielders showing their agility to run the batsman out.  Gone are the days, when we frequently used to see Dean Jones, or Beven running like hares and converting twos into threes with Bill Lawry shouting in the commentary box, it is all happening out there! Collingwood, Hussey, or De Villiers are very athletic and steal twos or threes, but with boundary ropes around, most of the times, we see big hits.

Limit the number of one-day matches- Just like t/20 cricket, one-day cricket was used as a cash cow in the past and now fans are fed up with too much one-day cricket being played. It seems like India and Srilanka play every month a one-day series, or a tri-series. Last year, England and Australia played a seven match one-day series and in the end, it was a real drag. Concentrate mainly on the World cup and Champions trophy with teams playing the occasional three match one-day series.

No more gimmicks- We have already seen the super sub fail spectacularly and now there is a push for  converting the fifty over format into a forty over format and splitting it into two innings. I think it is complete madness as in the end, they would also lose out on the few loyal supporters, who still like one-day cricket and T/20 fans would stick with the fast paced t/20 format.

I like the batting power play as it brings life into the middle overs, but teams should look at taking it when they have wickets in hand and a batsman is set as it would make the middle overs more interesting. Teams would also benefit from it, as they would have wickets in hand and can go after the bowling. I just don't understand the use of batting power play with tailenders like Onions and Anderson at the crease. It happened in the champions trophy when England delayed the power play, though both Bresnan and Wright were going great guns and in the end, they were forced to use  it with Anderson and Onions at the crease. 

You may call me  old fashioned for suggesting sporting wickets and  not having boundary ropes and I have no data to show that it would work, but having visited many cricket forums and  blogs, the general feeling I got was, as the fans of one-day cricket grew up watching it in the 80's and 90's, they like it as compared to test cricket, one could see few more shots, but at the same time, bowlers could get some assistance and as a result, it makes for good viewing. So, my feeling is, if ICC goes back to the fundamentals of one-day cricket which made it popular in first place, one-day cricket can  retain its existing fan base and may even bring back a few fans, who have left following one-day cricket. Of course, there should be a reduction in number of one-day matches played and ICC should look to mainly market the World cup and Champions trophy.  I though must be day dreaming to expect the brainless and pusillanimous ICC to take such steps.

I would just say that over the years, one-day cricket has given lots of entertainment to cricket fans with edge of the seat nail biting finishes. We have also seen so many great individual feats by cricketers. So, I don't think we can just say that let us scrap the one-day format.

Finally, for suggesting old fashioned idea, I am ready for the backlash lol.


vEnKy said...

I feel this batting powerplay has done nothing in spicing up the middle overs. The teams take it anyway only in the death overs.

50 over cricket may not survive but ODI cricket will. If you what i am talking about. The span of the ODI has been varying since its inception i wouldnt call reducing it as tampering or a gimmick

45 overs per team with split innings of 20 and 25 overs
A maximum of 12 overs by any one bowler
10 wickets per team and 12 players per team - teams can bat any 11 of the 12 and field any 11 of the 12
A maximum of two bouncers per over
A new ball from each end at the start of the innings and no replacement new balls
No Powerplays
Fielding restrictions: Overs 1-5 = 2 fielders outside the circle; 6-20 = 4 outside; 21-25 = 2 outside, 26-45 = 4 outside

these are the rules. I think this might do the trick. I have my theory why it would.

Though I agree it breaks the momentum. Boredom is at its peak in the middle overs but when you have a 10 over old ball and a Powerplay, runs and boundaries are bound to come. Doesn't that solve that boredom issue? Also 4 players in the outfield to an earlier 5 would also ensure runs but not too much like 20 overs of Powerplay which led to 400's being scored. Another aspect is because we have watched too much of it, it is easily predictable. Only way to beat it is to introduce something new. ICC should be careful and not over kill T20 like the ODI's.

A conventionalist is person who believes anything that is done for the first time is wrong.

I am Sure this CA Domestic tournament would be telecast in Star cricket. Let us watch whether it does what it has touted to do. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

greyblazer said...


Thanks for your valuable input.

New rules also confuses most viewers. My father who is a causal cricket fan still doesn't know the concept of batting power play.

Now what makes you think having just a one fielder less would make it more interesting between overs 26-40? I still see batsmen mainly looking to pace their innings with singles being taken between say 26 to 40 overs and wait for the last five overs. I don't see too much difference by bringing a power play of five overs between 21-25 either. Instead of it make it mandatory for the batting team to take the power play between 30-35 in a 50 over match.

Two bouncers per over and new ball at each end though can be considered.

My thinking is instead of looking at reducing the number of overs and confusing the viewers with new rules administrators should look at pitches and other factors.

Yet it is perhaps worth trying the format at the domestic level.

vEnKy said...

Yeah one less fielder does make a lot of difference. The gaps usual left open during the middle overs which gets batsman an easy single would be done away with. Because you need to have 4 players inside circle. This is throughout the game barring the restriction period of 10 overs. Now tell me doesnt this spice it up.

If you look close, the restriction during the 20-25 overs is actually like a mandatory Powerplay.

And another thing when you play that format there actually nothing like a credible middle overs period. Actually they are only sets of 20 and 25. when you have 2nd innings of such short span boredom can be eliminated.

vEnKy said...

I would really welcome sporting pitches. But the problem is it is very hard to prepare a sporting wicket which is easier said than done. Especially in the subcontinent it is very hard to retain live grass due to the heat and when you use the roller they usually dry out.

Another good thing i wanted to tell about the new format is it negates the over emphasis of toss in Day/night games

greyblazer said...

It may result in batsmen trying to occasionally go over the top but I don't see how it is going to make a huge difference. It maybe a split innings format but in the end I still see batsmen pacing their innings for most of the time.

Anyway let us wait and watch.

greyblazer said...

The wicket can also be left a bit dry and help the spinners like it used to happen in the past in the subcontinent.

Anonymous said...

I think there are 2 ways that CA could get more people into see the Ford Ranger Cup or whatever they are planning to call it.

Have less matches and charge bugger all for the matches they do have.

Trialling this during an Ashes summer is asking for it. Any spare change that the Aus public has is going to be spent on international matches. Not the FR Cup no matter what sparkly fandangles they sprinkle it with.

vEnKy said...

But when you do that it will still be a belter, only in the second innings will it take some turn.

sunny said...

Good analysis there,greyblazer.
They're sucking the life out of the pitches, playing one side for a million times against the same opponent, and having the strong sides make a merry pulp of the weaker ones, and yet they moan about the ODI being a bore. And all those crappy innovations aren't going to work.

Last thing, if the ODIs were to die you'll join me in their funeral, right? ;)

greyblazer said...

Yeah with Ashes around they don't have a hope in hell. How it would be watching a FR match at MCG?

greyblazer said...

Yeah it is true that it would turn more during the second innings but if the pitch is left a bit dry it would no doubt help the team fielding first too.

greyblazer said...

I would definitely be there to see our great ICC trying to make money out of it by selling the live telecast rights to t.v channels.

Imran Jazeeb said...

ICC is the worst governing body in this world.Iam sure that they will kill cricket one day by overloading people with mindless games in lifeless pitches.But as a cricket fan,I want a game everyday.

greyblazer said...


Welcome to the blog. Yeah you're right about ICC as they are a toothless organization.

Imran Jazeeb said...

Thanks mate.I am following you on twitter as well.You look like a huge cricket fan.Nice to meet you though.

greyblazer said...

Lol Ok let us keep in touch on twitter.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Can't shut down ODI once for all, I can't forget all the goosebumps I get watching my team see winning. I can't forget just like that. I agree with you. Must Stop playing with same teams. Boards must let their marketing deals go for sack of the love for Cricket was increased due to ODI. I still put ODI a bit ahead of t20, despite India winning first t20 WC. Proper scheduling and rotation is the key. I can't forget WC matches I saw in 2003. I put ODI WC far ahead than t20 WC. Anyday Anytime. Because despite being how ugly the pitch is 90% only deserve team win in ODI, but in t20 one burst can drown your whole team effort you put in for 20 overs.

I don't know man what are they going to do. But I just can't be hypocrites suddenly the enjoyment I got watching ODI for these many years.

greyblazer said...

I am sure if they limit the number of one-day matches being played and think mainly about world cup or say champions trophy fans would come back.

Most real cricket fans still rate one-day cricket above t/20 cricket but there are too many onedayers which makes it boring and I just don't see split innings format or whatever they are going to try work as cricket is a simple game. Even t/20 to an extent works because they haven't really tinkered with the rules.