Sutherland mulling longer Twenty20 series
Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland has raised the prospect of playing longer Twenty20 series in future after 59,659 spectators turned out to watch Australia's victory over India at Stadium Australia on Wednesday. It was a record crowd for an international cricket match in Sydney, beating the SCG's best of 58,446, set in 1928.
The second and final match in the series could also draw an enormous crowd, at the MCG on Friday night, and the two games follow on from the success of the inaugural Big Bash League. But then the schedule features a near five-week triangular one-day series, and the chances of drawing such large crowds at a drawn-out ODI competition are slim.
"I'm a little bit troubled by the fact we play a two-match Twenty20 series. It doesn't quite make sense," Sutherland told The Daily Telegraph. "I'd like to think that down the track we could change that. It's something that we'll certainly look at. We're not looking to play more international cricket, so there will be a reduction in other forms and that won't be Test cricket."
That would mean a slashing of the one-day international calendar, which has effectively happened in the past few seasons with bilateral contests replacing the tri-series until it was reintroduced this summer. Only once has there been a bilateral Twenty20 series of more than two games, when New Zealand hosted Pakistan in 2010-11.
But the format's popularity is undeniable. David Hussey, who played in front of the record Sydney crowd on Wednesday night, said he would like to see Twenty20 international series played across more games, and he suggested that the tri-series format could easily be transferred from one-day internationals to Twenty20s.
"I think Twenty20 is one of the future formats of the game that can go a long way," Hussey said. "Maybe a triangular series that involves Sri Lanka and you could go right around the country. You've seen the success of the KFC Big Bash this season domestically, everybody in Australia loves the competition and wants more of it. Maybe that's a step in the right direction."
Sutherland has in the past spoken of the possibility of Australia having an entirely separate Twenty20 team with no crossover to the Test side, so they could even be playing simultaneously. That vision could be getting closer, with David Warner the only current Test player who also represented Australia in Wednesday's Twenty20.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here