India in Australia 2011-12 February 2, 2012

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

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  • Dummy4 on February 4, 2012, 4:46 GMT

    What would be better - to get the top 8 IPL (based on group rankings) teams to play against 8 BBL (of same group ranking) teams over two weeks both at home and away.

  • Dummy4 on February 4, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    It's actually the BILATERAL series that is making ODI's boring and irrelevant. It doesn't need to be a 8 game a side tri-series, just a 4 game a side. As for the 20 over games, both were boring and predictable (heck I didn't even watch last night's game and lost no sleep around it). 20 over cricket will be dead soon enough anyway because of overkill at both league and international level.

  • Anit on February 4, 2012, 2:38 GMT

    Wherever there is big Indian population, there will be bigger crowd when India plays in shorter version. I saw lot of Indian fans in stadium for both ODIs.

  • Arun on February 4, 2012, 2:06 GMT

    @ TamilIndian: That *might* work, except for a fundamental flaw. It's not T20 itself that draws crowds, it's top-level international players like Tendulkar or Sehwag or Dhoni that do. This is true for INternational T20, or domestic tournaments like IPL. Nobody will pay to watch, say India vs Aus if you had unknown names in both sides. Would anyone want to watch a game with a squad that went like: Robin Uttappa, Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan, Abhinav Mukund, Vinay Kumar etc? Hell, even if you threw in Raina, Kohli and Rohit Sharma, you might only get a little more in terms of audience. (And I doubt that Raina, Kohli or Sharma are willing to squander an ODI or Test international career for international T20). I prefer getting rid of T20 at the international level entirely (A lot of ex cricketers are of this view too). It's an abomination, and a retrogression :)

  • Dummy4 on February 4, 2012, 1:40 GMT

    T20 are not for real cricketer. Anyone have body strenth can play .There is no style or technics. A test cricketer can play T20 but a T20 player can not survive in cricket. So sad for cricket. Ex: Ghambir. Do not have to face siddle for 10/15 overs in a raw.

  • Johnathon on February 4, 2012, 1:29 GMT

    Oh god.... 58K fans showing up = a HUGE amount of money. Don't fall to the temptations of money like the BCCI have. The only reason there was a huge showup was because this happened right after the Big Bash.

  • chris on February 4, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    DONT DO IT!..................

  • Patrick on February 3, 2012, 22:58 GMT

    T20 is an Indian thing, in both matches most of the crowd were supporting India and Australian supporters want to see India play it because that's all India do now. Don't think the same numbers will turn up next year.

  • Tamil on February 3, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    If only BCCI can listen to "having an entirely separate Twenty20 team" and implement a policy of no T20 guys in test team (including from the IPL). That will be ultimate. Only genuine guys will opt for test cricket and everything will fall into place - that would be dreamy...

  • Rohanj on February 3, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    No reason at all you couldn't have a five match T20 series in one week or ten days. Its three hours of cricket, they could easily go back to back. The proviso surely would be that there'd be less ODI's and certainly no more triangular series. There'll be the odd good match in the upcoming series but by and large it'll be dull, fomulaic and highly predictable and poor crowds and a general lack of interest from the public will reflect this. If domestic T20 is going to be so big now, raising enormous revenue for administrators, why bother even scheduling ODI's anymore when its struggling to do the same? Keep test cricket on a pedestal, build the T20, and kill off most ODI.

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