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Split innings to be shelved by CA

Daniel Brettig

June 1, 2011

Comments: 63 | Text size: A | A

Phil Jaques cuts hard, New South Wales v Western Australia, Ryobi Cup, Hurstville Oval, Sydney, October 17, 2010
Batsmen will no longer have their rhythm disrupted by a mid-innings break. © Getty Images

Australian cricket's marketing experiment with split innings limited overs matches, and a bevy of exotic proposed rules for next summer's expanded Twenty20 competition, have been thrown out by the Cricket Australia playing conditions committee.

The committee, which serves a similar function to the ICC's cricket committee by deliberating on issues within the game, will forward these conclusions to the CA board for final approval at its next meeting. Committee members observed that the global body's commitment to 50-over cricket for the 2015 World Cup, and the success of the 2011 tournament on the subcontinent, made further split innings experimentation redundant.

Paul Marsh, the chief executive of the Australian Cricketers Association, sat on the committee alongside the CA chairman Jack Clarke, Greg Chappell and Mark Taylor - Matthew Hayden and Shane Warne were absent - and said that no other decision could have been made.

"It was really the only decision the committee could take from our perspective given that the ICC have now elected to push forward with the 50-over format towards the next World Cup," Marsh told ESPNcricinfo. "It wouldn't have made sense to have our players playing a different format domestically, heading into the next World Cup, so it was a sensible decision.

"The remit of the playing conditions committee, there's various things we look at but one of them is that it has to be a realistic chance of getting up at international level, but there's a time to trial things, and last year was that time. While we [the ACA] didn't think it should've been trialled, it was and now we've got to go back to keeping ourselves in-line with what the international format is."

Clarke noted that other elements of the domestic competition, "such as using two balls, one from each end, reducing restrictions on the number of overs bowlers can deliver or increasing the number of bouncers allowed", had been accepted as possible innovations by the ICC.

However a raft of outlandish proposed rules for next summer's T20 competition, presented to the public via a survey, were given short shrift by committee members, who reasoned that gambits like letting the crowd keep the ball or overs worth double runs were simply unnecessary.

"Common sense prevailed there," Marsh said. "The committee I know from the ACA's perspective we're supportive of initiatives that will promote the Big Bash and get the most people through the ground, and we've talked through a few alternative things there to help achieve that."

The matter of domestic playing surfaces was also addressed, and while general assessments of pitch conditions last summer were favourable, often achieving scores of 4.33/5 or better, groundsmen will be reminded of the need to prepare surfaces that reflect the challenges of Test cricket. Numerous players, coaches and the CA chief executive James Sutherland, have all pondered whether or not last summer's pitches did not help to equip Australia's players for the Ashes, where England's batsmen repeatedly ran up tall scores.

"The focus should most certainly be on trying to have wickets or pitches around the country that are as close to international pitches as you can get, that's the best preparation for players," said Marsh. "But there's no doubt the weather played a part in it last year, we've thought in some cases that states are prioritising result pitches over preparation for international cricket."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by WhatMustTheICCThink on (June 4, 2011, 1:23 GMT)

Why don't batsmen bat in pairs for four overs like in kids cricket, with minus points every time they're out?

Posted by loveNpeace on (June 3, 2011, 15:58 GMT)

enough changes to the game. let the game play and enjoy. do not go after money like helllllllll. at the moment we have 3 formats. so why need to split the 50overs and play? because of icc felt 50 overs was too much and they Introduce T20. if we continue like this in another 10-15 years time will be playing 2 overs games.

Posted by satyam.sharma on (June 3, 2011, 5:39 GMT)

Wow, @Meety, thanks for the wonderful points and strong arguments. So, I'm wrong, and separate balls were indeed used from both ends in ODIs throughout the 90s (even though they weren't used for the 96 or 99 WC, as you can read from their playing conditions available online and publicly accessible via a simple Google search) because ... well, because you're saying so. That wraps it up quite nicely I suppose? As for the frequently bigger scores in ODIs nowadays, yeah right, its all because of NO SEPARATE BALLS FROM BOTH ENDS ... it clearly has nothing to do with the advent of T20, the new breed of batsmen - err, clouters - that have emerged in its wake, nothing to do with pitches. And, reverse swing is clearly another pro-batting element. Not to mention, having 2 separate balls from both ends clearly means we will have a reasonably new, visible, hard ball even in the last overs which would tilt the balance towards the BOWLER, right? Thanks for the pearls of wisdom, mate ...

Posted by Meety on (June 2, 2011, 23:01 GMT)

@satyam.sharma - No, you're wrong, the new ball at each end was used a hell of a lot more then "...the 1992 WC (co-hosted by CA) and a few VB series...". The balance between bat & ball WAS more towards the bowlers in those days. Check out the scores in that era, it was possible to defend a score around 160 in those days. These days 160 is hard to defend in a T20!

Posted by Jim1207 on (June 2, 2011, 15:21 GMT)

satyam.sharma, Sachin did not endorse any one's idea, he did not say "I second that idea". Sachin put forth few points on his own, which is called proposing and is different from endorsing. I am not mentioning Sachin should not have done that, but I am not just a fan of that idea. Sachin's proposal was good only as he mentioned the split innings would eliminate the advantage of winning the toss as both teams would get to bat and bowl on both morning and afternoon sessions of a day or likewise in a day night match which would avoid dew factor also. As for me, it has been a brilliant idea and Sachin was the only one who proposed such clearly hoping to avoid those little disadvantages present in current ODI format. Sachin did not copy anyone else or endorse it. But still I would like to see ODI as it is.

Posted by KingofRedLions on (June 2, 2011, 14:40 GMT)

Last thing to do is to shelve the new Big Bash League.

Posted by BionicBowler on (June 2, 2011, 13:32 GMT)

50 over cricket had good PR from the ICC World Cup. However there are still ways to improve the game without the 4 split innings idea experimented with domestically...For more info on a really new format called '5ives' which has had very encouraging early reviews from MCC no less visit

Posted by   on (June 2, 2011, 10:44 GMT)

One innovation that should be tried is if a batsman hits the ball not only out of ground but even clears all the stands or out of viewing arena then it should be a tenner( rewarded with 10 runs) thus something bigger than a sixer and teams will still have hope off the last ball/over, free hits will become more interesting plus more posters of tenner in addition to four and sixer.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2011, 10:04 GMT)

I believe rather than having a mid-innings break there should be 2 innings of 20 overs each. This way your favorite batsman has a second chance in case he gets out early in the first innings !! The run deficit and chase in the second innings will be an exciting prospect !!

Posted by Hoggy_1989 on (June 2, 2011, 8:44 GMT)

Why didn't they come to this conclusion 12 months ago and save everyone the hassle of not caring? As a result, CA lost a pile of money in gate takings, just about turned the player base against it for pushing ahead with something the majority hated and copped a towelling from the media for its perceived idiocy. Right, now can we just do the same thing with this new Big Bash League (everyone ignoring it and the player base hating it)...and then everything can get back to the way it should be - fostering good young players with competitive cricket and a balanced competition.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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