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June 11, 2010
Australia captain Ricky Ponting has said he is open to experimenting with the format of one-day cricket in order to revive its flagging popularity, but that any changes must have the support and understanding of the players.
"Everyone in Australia noticed last year that the 50-over game probably struggled a little bit in Australia with the popularity of 20-over cricket around the world," Ponting said ahead of his team's departure for the British Isles on Friday. "So I'm open to looking at ways to improve it.
"Where we're at the moment is at a stage where there'll be some consultation with the players, which I think is pretty important in the next step of taking that forward. The most important thing with it is all the players need to be on board as well and understand where they're going and what they're to achieve."
Earlier on Friday Cricket Australia approved a trial of split-innings domestic one-day games for next summer. The game's management will now involve players, sponsors and broadcasters in deciding the structure of the new format, with the most likely outcome being four innings of either 20 or 25 overs. The first four rounds of the FR Cup will be played under the existing rules before the new format is introduced for the remaining six rounds, which start in February.
While acknowledging the need for change, Ponting, who retired from international Twenty20 cricket in 2009, was careful to voice his appreciation of the 50-over format and caution management against too much tinkering. "I've really enjoyed the 50-over game to tell you the truth over the last couple of years," he said. I know the 20-over game has been very popular all around the world, but the 50-over game for me hasn't dropped off. But I think it is time for a little bit of tweaking and I think this is what it is all about, tweaking the game slightly to make it better for everyone around the world to watch.
"There's so many things they have to think about I think as far as playing restrictions go. Powerplays, fielding restrictions, how many overs bowlers can bowl, that sort of stuff, Duckworth Lewis. We're in a very embryonic phase.''
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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