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Cricket Australia approves one-day split-innings format

Peter English

August 13, 2010

Comments: 118 | Text size: A | A

The Tasmania players celebrate winning the FR Cup, Victoria v Tasmania, FR Cup final, Melbourne, February 28, 2010
The new format doesn't have the support of a majority of the players © Getty Images
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Cricket Australia has listened to the public but ignored its players after pushing through a split-innings one-day domestic trial before the national team attempts a fourth consecutive victory at next year's World Cup. The introduction of the 45-over format means the country's only 50-over matches in 2010-11 will occur at international level.

In an unusual effort to counter the imbalance, Cricket Australia is already considering private fixtures for fringe members of the World Cup squad if they are short of game-time in the global format. The change towards the four-innings regulations for the entire domestic one-day tournament over-ruled the initial plan to break up the event, which would have scheduled traditional fixtures when the international representatives were available.

Ricky Ponting, who is unbeaten as a World Cup captain, was not in favour of the alterations during the planning phase and after the announcement the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) said 78% of its surveyed members rejected the idea. Despite the criticism, Cricket Australia's board passed the changes on Friday and the new format will begin when Queensland host Tasmania at the Gabba on October 6.

James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's chief executive, said the players' views were extremely important, but they were not the only ones involved in a redesign being employed to revitalise the one-day concept. "In talking to stakeholders, the ultimate thing was the tournament should be played over the course of a whole year," Sutherland said. "To do a proper trial and to ensure the public fully understands the way it is played. There is no doubt there are issues for individual players and preparation for the World Cup coming up."

One of the major ones is the lack of 50-over games for the squad members who will not appear regularly during the seven-match Australia-England ODI series in January and February. A 15-man World Cup unit will be named in December and Michael Brown, Cricket Australia's deputy, said the board had approved the option for "possibles versus probables" contests to ensure the right sort of preparation.

"I'll work with the selectors to determine whether they want some particular players, for example Brett Lee or Callum Ferguson, or people coming back from injury, and if that's the case we'll put on private matches to give them a chance to perform at optimum level for the World Cup," Brown said. England and South Africa also don't play any 50-over competitions at domestic level despite the ICC saying it has no plans to over-haul its preferred one-day genre.

Sutherland said split innings would lead to a sense of "cat and mouse" and provide more strategy. Under the changes, the 20-over first innings will be followed by 25-over conclusions. There will be teams of 12, with only 11 batting or fielding, but no Powerplays or super strikers. Bowlers will be allowed to deliver two bouncers an over and have a maximum of 12 overs.

Key features

  • 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

Paul Marsh, the ACA chief executive, said the players weren't consulted properly until a decision had been made to push ahead with the trial. "For the people that play and know the game better than anyone, this process has been difficult to comprehend and players are very disappointed," Marsh said. "Players are open to changes to any format of the game that can make the game better.

"They acknowledge that the one-day format has had its recent challenges and as a collective they want to help those running the game find the best solution. However, the players don't believe the split-innings format is the best solution."

Marsh was on the Cricket Australia committee - it also included Mark Taylor, Greg Chappell and Matthew Hayden - that recommended the final product, but he detailed the dissent of the ACA members. "We surveyed the players and an overwhelming majority (78%) rejected the split-innings format," he said.

"They are adamant that radical format changes are not the highest priority for the one-day game. Players continue to believe that administrators need to address the far bigger issues of the lack of context in one-day international cricket and the excessive number of one-dayers that continue to be programmed."

Sutherland said the ACA had been consulted heavily throughout the process. "The public told us to act and we have," he said. "The fans told us, through formal research, that they like ODI cricket best, but they want to see it refreshed and they want to see it with a short-form identity that is distinctively different from fast-emerging T20 cricket.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by rwaite on (August 16, 2010, 1:39 GMT)

They were originally talking about 40 overs each but they have stupidly made it an uneven 45 overs. Other than that I like the new format. They should have 40 overs each and look to push the finish time back an hour so the bulk of the game is prime time with say a 4pm start. It's great that you'll see both teams bat in prime time!

There's no way the teams should get all their 10 wickets back at the start of the "2nd" innings as there would be no difference between it and 20/20 and no point having a different format.

In 20/20 the attacking batsmen are always trying to bash 6's and you don't see anywhere near the elegant strokes for 4 that you see in 40 and 50 over cricket and THAT is the reason we need to preserve the longer form of limited overs cricket.

I like the simplicity of the fielding restrictions and allowing only 4 bowlers to bowl out the full innings. It can really work so long as they fix up the number of overs and bring it down to 40 each.

Posted by Chris_P on (August 15, 2010, 10:16 GMT)

No less than Sachin himself has endorsed this innovative approach by CA. Reading an article in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph. he said, "I am glad it's been tried out in Australia. I feel once the players have tried out this format, they will be in a better position to judge if it works or not. Today, we can tell the result of close to 75% of one-day games after the toss. But the split innings concept is not too dependent on the toss". So please, all you "experts" out there who are so willing to knock this concept, what about waiting to see the results, after all, if the great man himself thinks it's worthwhile, where does that leave your opinions?

Posted by ajohar on (August 14, 2010, 21:33 GMT)

This is ridiculous. It will only make games seem longer, it's killing the purpose. If they really want to kill the boring middle overs, then this is what I believe they should do.

They need to make each innings 25 overs, but allow each team to bat with 10 wickets in EACH innings. With two innings and 10 wickets each time around, the teams would be able to free themselves a little more. But this is where they will differ from T20s : the conditions should be bowler friendly. No flat tracks, no half-sized grounds. The teams should also be be given an optional new ball every second innings; if the pitch is seamer friendly they can take it, if not they can use the old one with their spinners, it's up to the team. This would give viewers more excitement, as each team can try to either blast it out or at least pace themselves twice, and bowlers will always have something in it for them.

This IMO is the best solution : 2 innings, 10 wickets each innings, bowler friendly conditions.

Posted by BionicBowler on (August 14, 2010, 21:28 GMT)

Well done CA on being brave enough to embrace something customer led! This is an impressive list of new features. The 50 over game looks tired and will be gone within a generation if left as is. For those not keen on this new bold experiment let's look at the evidence after the pilot year. I like the fact that it is a fairer share of conditions shared out to both teams given the length of the game. This will ensure more chances of games being decided fairly when rain intervenes as 20 overs a side is considered a 'match' should a game be completely rained off afterwards. D/L can still be considered if rain stops game in last 25 overs of match. One of the problems cricket has as an 'entertainment' is the time lapsed between deliveries - the only thing I would add to this great new formula is have each 'segment' be bowled at alternate ends - this will quicken up field changes between overs (every 6 balls batsmen change ends) and the split innings formula lends itself to this innovation.

Posted by Pak-cricket on (August 14, 2010, 21:11 GMT)

please leave the cricket the way it is ... no more changes...stop destroying cricket

Posted by bouncer123 on (August 14, 2010, 18:28 GMT)

I think CA is trying to push this new format despite being opposed by many players just bcoz they want to get ahead in the race of inventing new formats for cricket like english came up with T20 which obviously was a clean hit....

Posted by   on (August 14, 2010, 12:38 GMT)

jus wate of time for viewers & players

Posted by SnowSnake on (August 14, 2010, 12:37 GMT)

While we are experimenting, why not try 7 innings of 5 overs each? Let's have 10-15 different formats and see if fans can keep track of each format.

Posted by sharadk.2010 on (August 14, 2010, 12:18 GMT)

A new ball from each end!! That means each ball will be used for 23 overs max!! That will discourage spinners and reverse swing. As per my opinion, only change ODIs require is to allow one bowler to bowl upto 12-13 overs. That will ensure even contest between bat and ball. Allowing 2 bouncers per over is also a good idea.

Posted by   on (August 14, 2010, 10:45 GMT)

This article jst reminded me of Callum Ferguson... That guy is a player wid loads of talent and also excelled but got lst sumwhere at the strt of the yr coz of his injury and every1 4got him... Poor him, he will now have 2 strt all over gain coz of that injury... He was one of the certain people in the squad... And the same thing will happen with Bracken who was the top ODI bowler for 2 yrs and then the injury came and now its gonna b tough 4 him 2 b back coz of Harris, Henriques, McKay, Siddle, Tait, Bollinger nad Brett Lee when he retrns...

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