Australian news February 22, 2010

Ponting wants ODI schedule halved

Cricinfo staff

Ricky Ponting has expanded on his thoughts about the number of ODIs in Australia each year and believes Cricket Australia should cut the schedule by half. The ten one-day internationals that Australia played this summer drifted into mid February, when school had started again, and spectator numbers dwindled as the series went on.

"With the 2015 World Cup being in Australia, Cricket Australia has to look after the one-day game the best they can and promote it the best they can," Ponting told the Australian. "The 50-over World Cup is still the pinnacle of the shortened game, there's no doubt about that, but does that mean you have to play ten one-day internationals a summer or could you get by playing five? I don't think that would make a great deal of difference."

That would mean no more than one ODI in each of the five biggest capitals, with a couple of Twenty20s thrown in as well. However, Cricket Australia have already released the fixture list for next season and it again features ten one-day internationals, including seven against England after the Ashes.

But there are also three early in the summer against Sri Lanka. Ponting said by playing ODIs before the Big Bash, which runs over the Christmas-New Year period and is set to expand significantly, there would be more hope of attracting bigger crowds to watch the Australians play.

"I think if we'd played the international games before the Big Bash, we would have had better crowds at the international games," he said. "People have only got a certain amount of money to spend on entertainment. With the Big Bash games, there were two in Melbourne this year, so when the one-day games came to Melbourne, people had probably already spent their money on the Big Bash.

"If you talk to people at Channel Nine, the same amount of people are still watching the game. There's still a strong interest in 50-over cricket but with the Big Bash being on during school holidays, people were always going to go and watch that. Playing 10 one-day internationals, as well, by the end of the summer, I think people were over cricket."