October 18, 2011

A macro look at ODIs over four decades

A statistical analysis of major batting and bowling trends in ODIs over the years
98

Adam Gilchrist and several others like him have ensured that quick-scoring has become the norm in ODIs over the last decade
Adam Gilchrist and several others like him have ensured that quick-scoring has become the norm in ODIs over the last decade © Getty Images

The last 12 articles have all been on Test cricket and I think it is time I moved over to the ODI space. The first is a re-visit of an earlier article. I will follow this with a look at the ODI batsmen's performance against bowlers, strength of whom is ordered by groups, a la Test cricket. That work will borrow freely from the findings in this article.

I had looked at a summary analysis of ODI matches about three years back. Since then over 400 matches have been played, ODI rules have been changed, more T20 matches have been played introducing new techniques, 5 types of slower deliveries have been invented, slow bowlers are opening and finishing the innings et al. Hence I have re-constructed the periods to be able to look at the current millennium more closely. Out of the 7 periods, 3 are allocated to these 12 years. The last period is 2008-2011 and is really the post-T20 era and the previous one, 2004-2007 is the transition period. It is possible that a minor adjustment here and there will bring major rule changes in sync with the periods. However that would leave the number of matches unbalanced.

I have retained, but brought up-to-date, most of the previous analyses since many current readers might not have viewed the previous article. I have kept my comments to a minimum since I want some lively discussions among the readers.

Let us get into the analysis of the tables. These tables are current upto ODI # 3200, the second ODI between Bangladesh and West Indies.

1. Match analysis (Runs/Wkts per match, RpO, RpW)

Period    Mats  R/M  W/M  RpO  RpW

1971-1984 281 352 14.0 3.88 25.2 1985-1989 317 368 13.7 4.11 26.9 1990-1994 369 366 13.6 4.06 26.8 1995-1999 564 394 14.5 4.36 27.2 2000-2003 543 390 14.1 4.40 27.6 2004-2007 586 400 14.3 4.60 27.9 2008-2011 540 407 14.4 4.72 28.2

All ODIs 3200 387 14.2 4.37 27.3


The Wickets per match figures seem to be reasonably steady over the years. There is a 10% increase over the past few years in the Runs per match figures. However the major change is in the RpO figure which has shown a 20% increase over the years. The current RpO figure is about 9% over the all-time average. The RpW figure has increased steadily over the past 25 years. There must be very little doubt that the RpO figure has shown an increase primarily due to the change in treatment of the opening overs and Powerplays.

In fact Sriram has made a pertinent observation that the RpW increase is steady because of the finite number of wickets available to be captured, while making the dramatic speculation that the RpO figure might hit the ceiling because there is no upper limit, barring the number of overs. This did not strike me earlier and makes eminent sense.

2. Match/Inns Analysis (Low & High inns scores)

Period    %I<100  %I-AO %I>300 %M>300x2

1971-1984 7.05 28.11 2.34 0.00 1985-1989 5.59 22.73 0.64 0.00 1990-1994 5.35 25.51 1.91 0.27 1995-1999 1.63 32.86 5.09 1.42 2000-2003 5.44 32.37 6.49 1.66 2004-2007 6.50 31.89 10.46 3.75 2008-2011 3.16 35.61 10.78 3.33

All ODIs 4.61 30.79 6.22 1.81


The % of (all out) innings below 100 seems to have followed a peculiar pattern. The initial years had a very high 1-in-14 occurrence of such 2-digit totals. This then dropped to a very low 1-in-50 during the batting dominated 1990s. However it went up to a high 1-in-16 during the middle-2000s period. Then lo and behold! it drops to just over 3% over the past four years. Why this sudden halving within 8 years. I am unable to explain this 3% figure.

I have also added an analysis on the % of all-out innings, again, as suggested by Sriram. This has grown steadily from 28.1% to 31.9% over 47 years and then a significant jump to 35.6% over the last four years. Again a reflection of the weaker teams and possibly the increase in wicket-taking overs.

The > 300 figure, after being virtually non-existent during the 1980s, has now moved to over 10%. In other words, more than one in every 10 innings is a 300+ innings. The batsmen never had it so good and spare a thought for the bowlers, shackled in every which way. Also of significance is the last column. Once in 30 matches, both teams top 300 in the same match. So the bowlers from both sides suffer.

I am intrigued when I look at the period 2004-2007. A very high <100 figure and an extraordinarily high >300 figure. Maybe it indicates a number of weak teams and a few very strong teams. Possibly the two World Cups, held during 2003 and 2007, might have contributed.

The first match in which both teams exceeded 300 runs occurred during 1992 in the match between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. Since then it has occurred quite frequently, as already mentioned, once in 30 matches.

3. Opening partnerships analysis

Period  OpenAvg OP100+ OPSub10

1971-1984 34.1 6.3% 25.2% 1985-1989 35.6 6.8% 27.5% 1990-1994 36.3 7.8% 26.7% 1995-1999 35.2 6.5% 27.1% 2000-2003 35.2 8.4% 30.2% 2004-2007 33.1 6.7% 31.9% 2008-2011 36.0 7.5% 29.5%

All ODIs 35.0 7.2% 28.8%


Amazingly, the opening partnerships have averaged around 35 over the years with very little variations. Similarly there have been 7% occurrence of 100+ opening partnerships right through the years. It is only in the failed opening partnerships that there has been a significant 20-25% increase during the current decade. This may again be a reflection of the weaker teams.

4. Extras Analysis - per 300 balls (Extras/Byes/Leg Byes/No Balls/Wides)

Period    E/3b B/3b L/3b N/3b W/3b

1971-1984 15.5 1.9 8.2 2.7 2.8 1985-1989 16.8 1.7 8.4 2.4 4.3 1990-1994 17.0 1.1 7.2 2.7 6.0 1995-1999 17.4 0.9 6.2 2.8 7.5 2000-2003 17.8 1.1 5.4 3.5 7.7 2004-2007 18.1 0.9 5.2 3.0 8.9 2008-2011 15.2 1.1 4.6 1.1 8.4

All ODIs 16.9 1.2 6.1 2.6 7.0


This time I have computed the Extra calculations per 300 balls, being a normal completed innings. The Extras per 300 balls, over the years, has remained fairly static. The byes figure has dropped significantly after the first two periods and then remained static. This, despite the keeper standing up to a number of medium pacers. Similarly the Leg byes per match was quite high during the first two periods and then dropped off. One possible reason could be the deployment of more spinners after the initial two periods.

The number of wides per 300 balls has increased drastically over the years certainly because of very strict interpretation of wides by the umpires. It is true that the number of off-side wides has increased significantly over the past few years. Virtually no allowance is also being given for any leg side deviation. The bowlers continue to be hit by the change of rules over the years.

Now we come to No balls. Very interesting indeed. The last four years has seen a drastic drop in No balls per match, from 3 to 1.1 per completed innings. This is not because the bowlers have suddenly become more attentive to where they land. This is primarily caused by the free-hit rule which penalises the bowlers to a great extent. While not accepting that this is necessarily a correct law change, since it penalises an already-beleaguered bowler more, there is no denying that the bowlers are now a lot more careful.

The recent rule changes also means that there are more transgressions covered for declaring No balls, such as short deliveries and deliberate high full tosses. This should have also contributed to a slight increase in No balls.

5. Results Analysis - (Types of wins)

Period    FbtW SbtW OthW NoRes

1971-1984 46.6 48.4 0.4 4.6 1985-1989 43.2 53.6 0.6 2.5 1990-1994 50.1 45.0 0.0 4.9 1995-1999 48.0 47.5 0.2 4.3 2000-2003 49.0 47.5 0.2 3.3 2004-2007 45.7 49.7 0.0 4.6 2008-2011 45.7 49.6 0.0 4.6

All ODIs 47.0 48.7 0.2 4.2


First a summary of the "Other wins" matches. Rounds off the article in case the readers are not aware of these matches.
ODI #   56: Conceded by India against Pakistan as a gesture of protest.
ODI #  435: India defeated Pakistan on the basis of losing fewer wickets.
ODI #  522: Pakistan defeated Australia on the basis of losing fewer wickets.
ODI # 1081: Sri Lanka won by default against India because of Calcutta crowd
disturbances. ODI # 1724: Conceded by England against Pakistan as a sporting gesture.
During three of the periods (90s and early 2000s) the first batting teams won more matches than teams chasing. During the other five periods, more teams have won chasing than defending. Overall also there seems to be an edge to the team batting second. This difference seems to be more pronounced during the past few years. Possibly because of the flexibility in chasing using Power Plays. Currently There is a 4% differential between teams winning batting second and first. Note the huge 10% differential during late-1980s. The number of "No results" has also increased significantly, probably caused by the obsession to play matches during all 12 months, irrespective of weather conditions.

1. Batting average - All positions (Right & Left)

Period    R-Avg L-Avg T-Avg

1971-1984 24.86 26.83 25.29 1985-1989 27.42 24.86 26.96 1990-1994 26.46 27.99 26.85 1995-1999 25.55 31.41 27.22 2000-2003 25.90 31.65 27.64 2004-2007 27.08 30.15 27.91 2008-2011 27.32 31.30 28.20

All ODIs 26.43 30.03 27.35


1. Batting average - Only first 7 (Right & Left)
Period    R-Avg L-Avg T-Avg

1971-1984 28.29 28.34 28.30 1985-1989 30.50 27.34 29.93 1990-1994 30.46 29.73 30.25 1995-1999 29.35 33.55 30.67 2000-2003 29.56 33.98 31.00 2004-2007 30.69 32.59 31.23 2008-2011 31.18 34.28 31.91

All ODIs 30.11 32.32 30.71


For Batting average, I have taken the top 7 batting positions only. This is to minimize the impact of the low averages of the late order batsmen. Barring the first period, the batting average seems to have settled into a value of around of 30. The left handers seem to have an increased average (by a margin of 7.5%), barring the first 24 years. Note also the very high left hander average during the most recent period. I remember a lively debate on this interesting phenomenon three years back. Let us get some new insights now. Incidentally this follows a similar trend for Test matches.

2. Batting strike rate (Right & Left)

All
Period    R-SR L-SR T-SR

1971-1984 63.8 64.0 63.9 1985-1989 68.3 64.4 67.7 1990-1994 66.8 67.1 66.9 1995-1999 70.9 73.5 71.7 2000-2003 71.3 75.2 72.6 2004-2007 75.9 75.7 75.9 2008-2011 78.0 80.0 78.5

All ODIs 71.6 73.2 72.0

1-7 Period R-SR L-SR T-SR

1971-1984 64.3 64.0 64.2 1985-1989 68.2 63.9 67.4 1990-1994 66.8 67.3 66.9 1995-1999 71.5 73.5 72.1 2000-2003 72.0 75.5 73.2 2004-2007 76.3 75.8 76.1 2008-2011 78.6 80.1 79.0

All ODIs 71.9 73.2 72.3


The Batting strike rate shows almost no change whether we take 7 batsmen or all 11. The late order seem to swing the bat as well, just that they get out more often. The scoring rate was quite low during the first three periods and has now picked up to be around the 76 mark. There is a significant variation of around 20% over the years. Look at the last four years. The strike rate has shown a significant jump of about 5%. Maybe due to the influence of T20s or the laws which keep on favouring batsmen or shorter boundaries. Barring one period, the left handers seem to be scoring slightly faster than the right handers.

3. Bowling average (Pace & Spin)

Period    P-Avg S-Avg T-Avg

1971-1984 27.62 33.60 28.66 1985-1989 30.88 35.47 32.09 1990-1994 30.84 36.23 32.23 1995-1999 31.45 35.01 32.67 2000-2003 30.92 35.61 32.24 2004-2007 31.61 35.20 32.47 2008-2011 31.77 33.14 32.24

All ODIs 30.94 34.83 32.03


The bowling average follows the same pattern as batting strike rate. Quite low during the first period and then plateauing around 31 during the next five periods.

As expected the pace bowler averages are lower by just over 10% as compared to the spin bowler averages. The last period, however, has seen a narrowing of this gap. The trend of depending on spinners has also picked up as teams like Bangladesh, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe et al seem to have spin-centric attacks.

4. Bowling strike rate (Pace & Spin)

Period    P-SR S-SR T-SR

1971-1984 43.1 49.1 44.2 1985-1989 43.9 49.7 45.4 1990-1994 44.1 50.1 45.6 1995-1999 41.4 46.1 43.0 2000-2003 39.8 47.0 41.8 2004-2007 38.6 45.6 40.3 2008-2011 38.0 41.9 39.3

All ODIs 40.7 46.2 42.3


Surprisingly there seems to be a distinct improvement of bowler strike rates during the past few years. Again one cannot but point to the number of weak teams playing one-day cricket. The pace strike rates seem to be about 15% better than the spin strike rates. Recently the spinners seem to be striking better. No doubt aided by Ajantha Mendis taking 48 wickets in his first 17 matches at a strike rate of 16 balls (yes, you read it right, 16).

5. Bowling RPO (Pace & Spin)

Period    PRpo SRpo TRpo %Pce %Spn

1971-1984 3.84 4.10 3.89 80.6 19.4 1985-1989 4.22 4.29 4.24 71.1 28.9 1990-1994 4.20 4.34 4.24 71.7 28.3 1995-1999 4.56 4.56 4.56 63.3 36.7 2000-2003 4.67 4.54 4.63 68.3 31.7 2004-2007 4.91 4.63 4.83 72.7 27.3 2008-2011 5.01 4.74 4.92 63.6 36.4

All ODIs 4.56 4.53 4.55 69.2 30.8


The RpO seems to have increased by about 5% during the recent years. Not a very big change. The surprise is that the all-matches RpO figures for the pace bowlers and spinners are almost the same.

S Rajesh has suggested that I add the % of overs bowled by pace bowlers and spinners also. An excellent suggestion and I have hastened to do so. During the initial few years over 80% of the overs were bowled by pace bowlers. This % has come down over the years and now the pace bowler % stands at 63.6, well below two-third. A very significant change indeed.

6. Bowling analysis (Maidens - Pace & Spin)

Period    PMdns SMdns TMdns

1971-1984 10.82 7.08 10.10 1985-1989 7.97 4.99 7.11 1990-1994 7.82 3.74 6.66 1995-1999 6.34 3.55 5.32 2000-2003 6.88 4.07 5.99 2004-2007 6.77 3.77 5.95 2008-2011 5.53 4.31 5.09

All ODIs 7.21 4.18 6.28


In the early years the maidens % was around 10, say 5 in each innings. It has now dropped to half that figure. Perfectly understandable in view of the reluctance of batsmen to allow 6 consecutive dot balls. The surprise is the increase in % for spinners over the past 4 years. That they exercise better control now, while opening the bowling and bowling at the death, is indeed commendable.

To download the complete tables including actual values, please right-click here and save the file. This link may be experiencing some temporary problems.

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RANGArajan on November 1, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    However, if there are a set of rules that warrant creativity of on-field strategies, it would benefit the health of the game by and large . . .

    - Let us say the PP is altered in a way that only 2 fielders should be allowed outside the circle but does not pose restrictions on how the fielders within the circle needs to be placed, then the captain can creatively use the quota and place fields. - And the rule of not having more than 3 on the leg side - why? Let a slow left armer bowl a negative line and let batsmen find ways of whacking him out of the park like SRT did for Warne in '98. By bowling a negative line, what is wrong? After all the batsman is out of his comfort zone.

    I agree with Shrikanth for the variety - size of grounds. That adds to spice. But it would be good to have a min size - 80m. Kotla is 70 and MCG is 100. Let there be 100 but let there be no 70's.Let there be a minimum size to which boundaries have to be just like there is a standard size for pitch.

  • RANGArajan on November 1, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    The PP is good but at times, it appears like its a change for the sake of change. Most good batsmen are strokeplayers+accumulators (so called big hitters are also excellent judges of runs). Like the super sub rule, team composition determines the exploitation of power play overs. It may benefit India which has decent strokeplayers at every alternate spot(Sehwag,Raina,Yuvraj,Pathan) interspersed with steady players who can explode later(Gambhir, Kohli,Dhoni). However countries like Oz, Eng may not take PP well as their strokeplayers come upfront & Later and not in the middle(Watson,K'wetter,KP,White). Team compositions would determine the way the rule is being handled. However, Ind was the lone country to struggle with super sub as at that time, we didnt have the bits&Pieces players like Pathan, Jadeja who could either bowl or bat or do both. These rules dont affect the creativity of on field strategy but these rules impact team composition.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 1, 2011, 3:11 GMT

    One day teams are looking a good bit different than test teams. Look at Raina, Yuvraj, Keiron Powell, etc. I can barely recognize the English one-day team. Too much cricket is taxing fitness. The test players are the real superstars, but since they dont play as consistently in one-days, apart from big comeptitions, one-day cricket lacks the player star crowd-pulling power. Among the lost list of problems one day cricket suffers from, this is one more. Can be easily rectified by pruning the calendar a bit.

  • Ramesh Kumar on October 31, 2011, 11:56 GMT

    Ananth,

    Powerplay is an interesting problem in ODIs. If you see ODIs in 70s and in early 80s, the field settings were similar to tests. No easy singles but more open spaces which could be leveraged only by aggressive batsmen like Viv which was not the prevalent style then. To my memory,Gavaskar introduced Sweepers in the deep during '85 world championships which protected boundaries, cutting out advantags of players like Viv, but brought out expertise of running between wickets from players like Dean Jones. We knew what happened in 92 WC with aggressive openers. If we remove field restrictions, will captains of today have attacking field? Will they be protecting boundaries?I think SRT epitomised the transtition from Viv's style to Dean jones' style with the evolving field restrictions. Can many players combine Stroke play and accumulation?In recent times, whenever PP was introduced, there was a higher instance of more wickets falling. Will the captains attach without PP compulsion? [[ Since I am working on a suggestion that the formats change every uyear, see one of my earlier mails, we could easilty look at one of the years, maybe the "only bi-lateral tours" years when we can completely remove PPs and/or Fldrests and try out. It should be very interesting and thought-provokling to do that and analyze what happened. Ananth: ]]

  • RANGArajan on October 31, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    The 10 game stretch on the trot betw Eng & Ind is indeed food for thought. Return tours should be only scheduled at least one year hence.This year, Ind would have played only between WI and Eng - 10 Tests & 15 ODIs which is heights of monotony. Triangular tournaments involving all combinations can be planned instead. So over 4 years, a country would have played ODIs against all 9 senior countries and at least 2 of 3 associate nations. Likewise for the rest of the countries. [[ I am working on a White Paper on the ODI game and these all would be used. Ananth: ]]

    I think we should stop restrictions on field setting and over limits. Why cant Swann have 7 leg side fielders? Why cant Steyn bowl 2 bouncers? At this rate, they might say any ball more than 145Kmph might be no ball!! Spectators like close matches and not necessarily high scoring ones. Last ball 6 is better than all ball 6! Only when the contests are even, do we get close interesting matches. [[ Radical thoughts. But make sense. I have always wondered why there are field restrictions at all. Let a bowler keep 4 close and 5 outside throughout. Let the batsmen improvise. They could take many singles/twos. Once in a while hit a four/six. Let the batsmen also not have everything handed over to them. Now the only salvation for bowlers is a dicey wicket. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on October 29, 2011, 3:21 GMT

    Decent sized grounds to make batsmen earn their 6's...and no 'mindless 7 game blocks' that irritate everyone incl. the players.

    Maybe cricket can do with a more standardised calendar. But this holds for all formats - not just ODI cricket.

    Re "decent sized grounds": Well, the beauty of cricket lies in the variation in playing conditions across the world. Hitting a six at Lord's will always be much easier than hitting a six at the MCG. The one thing that can be done is an agreement not to shorten boundaries significantly on any ground.

    Re 7-game series : No game is irritating or irrelevant. Even the recent 5-match Ind vs Eng series has given everyone food for thought. It has given England a much needed bout of introspection at the end of a fantastic year. It has raised India's spirits after an ill-fated, unfortunate English tour. It has set back a few players (Bresnan, Bairstow, Swann), and it has boosted a few others (Finn, Jadeja, Patel).

    Food for thought all around

  • shrikanthk on October 29, 2011, 3:04 GMT

    The discussion is not if Test format is the best, but what can be done to revive ODI's perceived to be going off people's radar

    But it is not going off anybody's radar!!!! The ODI still remains arguably the most popular and widely followed of the three formats of the game. The World Cup is still BY FAR the most widely followed cricket tournament in the whole wide world. Only a few months back, we finished a World Cup that was widely perceived as one of the most popular EVER.

    So, the question of reviving it simply does not arise!! Why would anyone want to "revive" and hearty and healthy man? I'm amazed that there's so much needless sentiment about the One-day game out here. Yet, nobody seems to bother about the sorry state of Test cricket which needs extremely urgent addressing! [[ The alarm bells should ring when India played England in 10 conseautive ODIs and at one point in future, India would have played 20 matches, 10 against West Indies and 10 against England. And couple of years back India played Sri Lanka for 265 days in the year. We are talking of awful scheduling, lack of spectator/follower interest and meaningless and completely worthless matches. I am not saying the same of the wonderful concise, competitive and exciting 3-mach series played between the top two teams last week. Ananth: ]]

  • japdb on October 28, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    ODI's need to be relevant outside the WC. Like someone has suggested a world league each year (or maybe 2 yrs) say the test nations + 4 extras. Each team to play home and away in 3 game blocks. No power plays or fancy stuff. Just fielding restrictions first 20 overs. Two bowlers allowed 12 overs. Decent sized grounds to make batsmen earn their 6's. Main thing is to make games relevant hence 'competative league' and no 'mindless 7 game blocks' that irritate everyone incl. the players. [[ Most of your suggestions are well-founded and will form the basis of my white paper. Ananth: ]]

  • Rangarajan on October 27, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    Somehow the discussion kept going to topics outside the scope like flat pitches, etc. Reg flat pitches, et al, just like we enjoy a good batsman scoring runs on a green top, a good bowler should be able to take wkts on a flat track. McGrath was successful in Ind and so was Steyn. And McGrath bowled at 70% of Steyn's pace. In fact, over the years, SAF had been one team which held India by the scruff of its neck even in India, with its flat pitches and SAF being seamer focussed. So not just pace, skills do count in. Any team is strong at home,even Zim & Ban are tough to beat @ Harare & Dhaka. In the recent series, Eng struggled to score runs in India. If the pitch was flat, Eng would have still lost, but should have amassed 300+ consistently, which it didn't. So skills still count in.

    The discussion is not if Test format is the best, but what can be done to revive ODI's perceived to be going off people's radar . . . (cotd)

  • David on October 23, 2011, 8:50 GMT

    Hey Shri, Meety called you matey. That's a mighty effort!

  • RANGArajan on November 1, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    However, if there are a set of rules that warrant creativity of on-field strategies, it would benefit the health of the game by and large . . .

    - Let us say the PP is altered in a way that only 2 fielders should be allowed outside the circle but does not pose restrictions on how the fielders within the circle needs to be placed, then the captain can creatively use the quota and place fields. - And the rule of not having more than 3 on the leg side - why? Let a slow left armer bowl a negative line and let batsmen find ways of whacking him out of the park like SRT did for Warne in '98. By bowling a negative line, what is wrong? After all the batsman is out of his comfort zone.

    I agree with Shrikanth for the variety - size of grounds. That adds to spice. But it would be good to have a min size - 80m. Kotla is 70 and MCG is 100. Let there be 100 but let there be no 70's.Let there be a minimum size to which boundaries have to be just like there is a standard size for pitch.

  • RANGArajan on November 1, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    The PP is good but at times, it appears like its a change for the sake of change. Most good batsmen are strokeplayers+accumulators (so called big hitters are also excellent judges of runs). Like the super sub rule, team composition determines the exploitation of power play overs. It may benefit India which has decent strokeplayers at every alternate spot(Sehwag,Raina,Yuvraj,Pathan) interspersed with steady players who can explode later(Gambhir, Kohli,Dhoni). However countries like Oz, Eng may not take PP well as their strokeplayers come upfront & Later and not in the middle(Watson,K'wetter,KP,White). Team compositions would determine the way the rule is being handled. However, Ind was the lone country to struggle with super sub as at that time, we didnt have the bits&Pieces players like Pathan, Jadeja who could either bowl or bat or do both. These rules dont affect the creativity of on field strategy but these rules impact team composition.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 1, 2011, 3:11 GMT

    One day teams are looking a good bit different than test teams. Look at Raina, Yuvraj, Keiron Powell, etc. I can barely recognize the English one-day team. Too much cricket is taxing fitness. The test players are the real superstars, but since they dont play as consistently in one-days, apart from big comeptitions, one-day cricket lacks the player star crowd-pulling power. Among the lost list of problems one day cricket suffers from, this is one more. Can be easily rectified by pruning the calendar a bit.

  • Ramesh Kumar on October 31, 2011, 11:56 GMT

    Ananth,

    Powerplay is an interesting problem in ODIs. If you see ODIs in 70s and in early 80s, the field settings were similar to tests. No easy singles but more open spaces which could be leveraged only by aggressive batsmen like Viv which was not the prevalent style then. To my memory,Gavaskar introduced Sweepers in the deep during '85 world championships which protected boundaries, cutting out advantags of players like Viv, but brought out expertise of running between wickets from players like Dean Jones. We knew what happened in 92 WC with aggressive openers. If we remove field restrictions, will captains of today have attacking field? Will they be protecting boundaries?I think SRT epitomised the transtition from Viv's style to Dean jones' style with the evolving field restrictions. Can many players combine Stroke play and accumulation?In recent times, whenever PP was introduced, there was a higher instance of more wickets falling. Will the captains attach without PP compulsion? [[ Since I am working on a suggestion that the formats change every uyear, see one of my earlier mails, we could easilty look at one of the years, maybe the "only bi-lateral tours" years when we can completely remove PPs and/or Fldrests and try out. It should be very interesting and thought-provokling to do that and analyze what happened. Ananth: ]]

  • RANGArajan on October 31, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    The 10 game stretch on the trot betw Eng & Ind is indeed food for thought. Return tours should be only scheduled at least one year hence.This year, Ind would have played only between WI and Eng - 10 Tests & 15 ODIs which is heights of monotony. Triangular tournaments involving all combinations can be planned instead. So over 4 years, a country would have played ODIs against all 9 senior countries and at least 2 of 3 associate nations. Likewise for the rest of the countries. [[ I am working on a White Paper on the ODI game and these all would be used. Ananth: ]]

    I think we should stop restrictions on field setting and over limits. Why cant Swann have 7 leg side fielders? Why cant Steyn bowl 2 bouncers? At this rate, they might say any ball more than 145Kmph might be no ball!! Spectators like close matches and not necessarily high scoring ones. Last ball 6 is better than all ball 6! Only when the contests are even, do we get close interesting matches. [[ Radical thoughts. But make sense. I have always wondered why there are field restrictions at all. Let a bowler keep 4 close and 5 outside throughout. Let the batsmen improvise. They could take many singles/twos. Once in a while hit a four/six. Let the batsmen also not have everything handed over to them. Now the only salvation for bowlers is a dicey wicket. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on October 29, 2011, 3:21 GMT

    Decent sized grounds to make batsmen earn their 6's...and no 'mindless 7 game blocks' that irritate everyone incl. the players.

    Maybe cricket can do with a more standardised calendar. But this holds for all formats - not just ODI cricket.

    Re "decent sized grounds": Well, the beauty of cricket lies in the variation in playing conditions across the world. Hitting a six at Lord's will always be much easier than hitting a six at the MCG. The one thing that can be done is an agreement not to shorten boundaries significantly on any ground.

    Re 7-game series : No game is irritating or irrelevant. Even the recent 5-match Ind vs Eng series has given everyone food for thought. It has given England a much needed bout of introspection at the end of a fantastic year. It has raised India's spirits after an ill-fated, unfortunate English tour. It has set back a few players (Bresnan, Bairstow, Swann), and it has boosted a few others (Finn, Jadeja, Patel).

    Food for thought all around

  • shrikanthk on October 29, 2011, 3:04 GMT

    The discussion is not if Test format is the best, but what can be done to revive ODI's perceived to be going off people's radar

    But it is not going off anybody's radar!!!! The ODI still remains arguably the most popular and widely followed of the three formats of the game. The World Cup is still BY FAR the most widely followed cricket tournament in the whole wide world. Only a few months back, we finished a World Cup that was widely perceived as one of the most popular EVER.

    So, the question of reviving it simply does not arise!! Why would anyone want to "revive" and hearty and healthy man? I'm amazed that there's so much needless sentiment about the One-day game out here. Yet, nobody seems to bother about the sorry state of Test cricket which needs extremely urgent addressing! [[ The alarm bells should ring when India played England in 10 conseautive ODIs and at one point in future, India would have played 20 matches, 10 against West Indies and 10 against England. And couple of years back India played Sri Lanka for 265 days in the year. We are talking of awful scheduling, lack of spectator/follower interest and meaningless and completely worthless matches. I am not saying the same of the wonderful concise, competitive and exciting 3-mach series played between the top two teams last week. Ananth: ]]

  • japdb on October 28, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    ODI's need to be relevant outside the WC. Like someone has suggested a world league each year (or maybe 2 yrs) say the test nations + 4 extras. Each team to play home and away in 3 game blocks. No power plays or fancy stuff. Just fielding restrictions first 20 overs. Two bowlers allowed 12 overs. Decent sized grounds to make batsmen earn their 6's. Main thing is to make games relevant hence 'competative league' and no 'mindless 7 game blocks' that irritate everyone incl. the players. [[ Most of your suggestions are well-founded and will form the basis of my white paper. Ananth: ]]

  • Rangarajan on October 27, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    Somehow the discussion kept going to topics outside the scope like flat pitches, etc. Reg flat pitches, et al, just like we enjoy a good batsman scoring runs on a green top, a good bowler should be able to take wkts on a flat track. McGrath was successful in Ind and so was Steyn. And McGrath bowled at 70% of Steyn's pace. In fact, over the years, SAF had been one team which held India by the scruff of its neck even in India, with its flat pitches and SAF being seamer focussed. So not just pace, skills do count in. Any team is strong at home,even Zim & Ban are tough to beat @ Harare & Dhaka. In the recent series, Eng struggled to score runs in India. If the pitch was flat, Eng would have still lost, but should have amassed 300+ consistently, which it didn't. So skills still count in.

    The discussion is not if Test format is the best, but what can be done to revive ODI's perceived to be going off people's radar . . . (cotd)

  • David on October 23, 2011, 8:50 GMT

    Hey Shri, Meety called you matey. That's a mighty effort!

  • shrikanthk on October 23, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    @Meety : First of all, the requirements of Tests and Limited overs cricket are very different. You often find fine ODI fielders struggling after a while in Test matches due to their lack of endurance. We all saw how poorly India fielded in the Edgbaston test where England scored 700+.

    This is exactly the reason why bowlers like Malinga, Tait, Lee have backed off from Test matches. Because their bodies can't last the rigours of bowling 30 overs in a day

    I don't think close-in catching has improved greatly because of ODIs! Catches were dropped a 100 years ago. Catches are dropped today. Catches will be dropped a 100 years hence (if at all cricket is played then). You might have noted that Pakistan dropped 6 catches in the SL 2nd innings in the match that finished yesterday! So much for superior modern fielding.

  • Meety on October 23, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    @shrikanthk - at the risk of carrying this on too long, "...The improvement in fitness has got to do with the advent of professionalism and big money (indiretly caused by ODI cricket's popularity)." - I disagree matey. == == == The increased incentive to create scoreboard or run rate pressure led to increases in athletic efforts in the field. Whether it be diving, or hitting the stumps to cause a run out. I would argue that the pro-nature of the game ran seperately to the performance requirements of the player. The late 1980s early 90s Oz ODI sides, set the standard of decades to come with their fielding exploits. They were no more professional than the players of the previous 10 years, IMO. [[ Barring stray players like Mervyn Hughes, Australia has always had fit players. On the other hand, India and probably Pakistan have certainly had their fitness quotient increased because of stricter regimens. While they have to hide players even now, that hiding requitrement itself has now come down. There was a time when it was a quesrion of who to show, rather than who to hide. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on October 22, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    I only mean to say that Dale Steyn carted around for 200* in a 50 yard ground in Jaipur is.. just not cricket with bat v/s ball contest

    Agree. It's "just not cricket" for you and me and other readers on this blog. But we don't count. We are too few in number.

    The average limited-overs cricket watcher, especially in the subcontinent, is NOT interested in watching an even contest between bat and ball. All he/she's interested is in watching Indian batsmen chase down totals of 300+ under lights :)

    As Bhogle says in his latest column, only two things matter to the average Indian cricket fan - 1. Is India playing? 2. Is India winning?

    For India to win, it is not favourable to prepare "bowler-friendly" pitches that you ask for. That's all I have to say.

    The only format where the Indian ascendancy can be challenged is in Test cricket where you cannot win unless you can take 20 wickets. And we all know that India has never managed to do that on a consistently in its 80 yr history. [[ I suggest let us call it a truce and move on. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on October 22, 2011, 18:25 GMT

    Further, again, you seem to imagine that there are belters, and at the other extreme, inconsistent pitches, and nothing in-between

    Gerry sir : I never said there's nothing in between. It's just that groundsmen find it a lot easier to make a "bowler-friendly" pitch by under-preparing it as opposed to working hard to produce a surface which offers something for everybody.

    Also, the "powers that be" have very little incentive to prepare pitches that are not belters. Because you see, the limited overs game by its very definition (be it ODIs or T20s) is a format which is designed for people who don't like cricket!!!

    Now this constituency which is drawn towards limited overs cricket likes to see a lot of fours and sixes. Because that's the only aspect of the game they understand! So it behooves the administrators to design the game such that 600-run ODIs become very common! No wonder you hear Ravi Shastri exulting each time 600 runs are scored in an ODI!

    It's sad, but true.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on October 22, 2011, 16:37 GMT

    Shrikanthk, as always, your responses leave me stupified. If test matches in Sri Lanka were close to a result, what does that have to do with my complaint that in one-day cricket, pitches are too much in favour of batsmen? No need to respond to this though.

    Further, again, you seem to imagine that there are belters, and at the other extreme, inconsistent pitches, and nothing in-between. I merely meant to say that relatively, bowler friendly, or since this may provoke you to repeat your argument, balanced pitches are needed to have a contest between bat and ball, adn not only a contest between two teams.

    I only mean to say that Dale Steyn carted around for 200* in a 50 yard ground in Jaipur or 868 runs in a 100 over day are just not cricket with bat v/s ball contest.

    Make pitches in the same way as for test matches, make it pacy as much as you can (good pitches dont take turn early). Now dont bother telling me this is impossible. It isnt. Problem is political, not commercial.

  • shrikanthk on October 22, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    What about test matches than? Will we have 7 batsmen or 11 batsmen?

    11 ofcourse! You probably didn't get my point. The whole idea of limiting the number of wickets was to incentivise bowlers to attack more! Trust me it's the only way. You can't bowl sides out consistently in 50 overs on good pitches. Not even if you have Lillee, Marshall, Sydney Barnes and Bill O'Reilly in your team.

    You talk about preparing greentops. Trust me, it isn't marketable. Nor is it fair to have such pitches in a one-day game where teams are supposed to chase down targets! It's alright in a test match where teams have the option of playing for a draw. But not in a one-day game with ever-mounting scoreboard pressure.

    That's the whole problem with one-day cricket. The moment you say - look you gotta chase down targets to win games, you are obliged to prepare surfaces that make that feasible. Otherwise, attacking batsmanship becomes too much of a gamble with the ball seaming all over the place.

  • shrikanthk on October 22, 2011, 12:45 GMT

    ODis ...brought innovation and fitness to the game

    Hang on. The improvement in fitness has got to do with the advent of professionalism and big money (indiretly caused by ODI cricket's popularity). It has nothing to do with the ODI format's inherent superiority or any of Test cricket's inadequacies.

    You don't get to see as much intensity on the field in a test match as in an ODI. But that's because fielding in test cricket is a LOT HARDER. It's hard to motivate oneself to dive and slide around when the opposition is cruising at 500-2. Test cricket also examines close-in catching skills that are totally ignored in ODIs.

    Do ODIs improve fitness levels? Well. That's a dubious claim to make especially in an era when so many bowlers around us have been retiring from test cricket to concentrate on Limited overs citing fitness reasons!!(Think Lee, Malinga, Tait).

    A lot of this cribbing about test cricket reminds me of the Hindi proverb -

    "Naach na jaane, Aangan teDa"

  • love goel on October 22, 2011, 11:31 GMT

    You're quibbling at minor points here and missing the big picture.Instead, you're bemoaning the absence of tail-ender batting

    Yes, I am bemoaning the absence of tailender batting. Why should only 7 players have right to bat when it is an 11 players game? What about test matches than? Will we have 7 batsmen or 11 batsmen? Or you will say to Shaun Pollock, Gillispe, Lee, Agarkar etc that you can bat in test matches but throw away your batting kits for ODI? Fall in batting standards in ODI will cause fall in test matches also. Pinch hitters will be lost. England tail is better than other coutries. This advantage will be lost. Ultimately you are taking a skill set out of the game.

    And since when does making bowler friendly pitches mean making inconsistent pitches?I am looking at the pitches for Eng-Ind series. All of them have support for bowlers but none of them were dodgy. This is the easiet way to restore balance, along with larger boundaries [[ I think all of us must appreciate that we do not want a new format. Within the existing framework, suggest changes, radical they may be, which will bring the crowds in, keep the quality intact, at least restore some primacy to bowlers and have a something-to-play-for factor in every match. That is where I like Ramesh's suggestion and Vishal's also. As far as I am concerned there is nothing better than a top batsman nursing the low order batsmen and taking his team to something special. One reason I put Lara's 153* at the highest level. I died every time a ball was bowled to Ambrose and Walsh, a total of 44 times. I did not worry about Lara. Something told me that that was his day. And Richards' 189 in the company of Holding, Kapil's 175 in the company of the late order batsmen, the last wicket partnership of Murray and Roberts, 64 runs in 11+ overs, Malinga's 58, coming in at 107 for 7 and adding 130 runs to win, we can go on. Not to forget about the pleasure of seeing Chris Martin "bat". Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on October 22, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    Ananth, Thanks for the compliments. I am not commenting much on some of the recent ones as it needs peaceful time to go back to early days' memories which I earnestly yearn for.

    Back to ODIs...Shrikanthk..I need to second what David says. ODis brought certain finality to the contest and it brought innovation and fitness to the game. If you listened to yesteryears critics of cricket, they used to point out to draws and the lack of Athleticism in the game. ODis bridged this gap, brought innovations and created a new set of risk/rewards. Ananth....Supposing if we do away with Powerplay in 1st 10 overs. With your best two fast bowlers bowling, you might end up attacking and have some flexibility in the field to stop some easy runs.Batsmen would need to be careful in losing wickets and thereby restore balance between ball and bat. Middle overs--Fielding captains need to attack more. If a team is down 5 wickets by 30 overs,the batting team will be confused between attack and defense. [[ Rameh, extending your logic further, why not something as radical as no PP for 1-15 and 35-50. The middle 20 overs are all PP overs. Let there be wicket-taking possibilities right through. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on October 22, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    Gerry: My reply was not directed at you per se. You talk about making "bowler-friendly" pitches, that are at the same time not untrue and inconsistent. This is difficult to achieve. One cannot change the character and nature of the soil in different countries so very easily.

    Moreover, I don't think subcontinental pitches are as flat as widely imagined. If one gets in 450 overs of play with no rain or bad light, then a result is always obtainable if bowlers bowl with purpose and discipline. We saw that in the recent Aus-SL series. With a bit of luck with the weather, we could've had results in the 2nd and 3rd tests where the pitches were fairly flat. And here we are talking about two teams - Aus and SL - with fairly weak bowling attacks. Yet, a result was possible if it had not been for the rain and bad light.

  • Raghav Bihani on October 22, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    @Ruchir: You miscalculated somewhere the number of matches played by top 4 teams. This will be at least 4 (Stage 1) + 6 (stage 2) + 6 (stage 3) = 16 plus 5 more matches for the top 2. We can have a 3/4th place off so that all 4 play 21 matches which a decent number for a year.

    Also the 8 others who do not qualify play quite a bit, because they have to play qualifiers toward the end of the year. Though that will only generate interest in the countries involved at best. I like the idea of keeping this annual tournament also once in 3-4 years.

    It could be as coveted as a WC win and do away with Champions trophy. Then you will have a WC champion and League champion at the same time. Just like a Euro and WC winner in soccer and WC and Champions trophy in hockey. [[ I like the idea of Vishal. Something like the following. 2013: Year-long league-cum-playoff. 2014: The ODI World Cup 2015: Year-long league-cum-playoff. 2016: Reserved for Test Championship. 2017: The above cycle starts agan. This means that any title, is kept for a longer period than one year. The ODI League champions have a reign of 2 years, the WC winners a reign of 4 years and the TC winners a reign of 4 years. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on October 22, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    Shrikanthk, my sugestion of making bowler friendly pitches is read by you as making dodgy inconsistent pitches.

    This illustrates the problem Indian cricket suffers from...any suggestion to redress the imbalance between bat and ball (when we are seeing 350+ scores on 50 yard grounds regularly being made) will be read with horror, and extreme scenarios which are not even being suggested will be hurriedly dumped by the board etc. [[ Without bringing in Shri at all, this is similar to a reader's conclusion that "I am angry at Raina: when I only used Raina's case to show the shortcomings of the Indian Board in defining the FC scene. I get the feeling the bottom line is not how many spectators come in or what are the types of pitches produced or what would the unprepared Indian batsmen do at faster pitches, but the broadcasting pay-out to the Board which is number of matches x X crores. As long as there are broadcasters willing to bid billions of dollars for 5-year deals, WHAT DOES IT MATTER since India wins 70+% of the matches at home. Ananth: ]]

    India wont produce fast bowlers, and our batsmen will always be scared of fast bowling (not Yuvraj, since he has accumulated a lot of blubber to protect himself), until we produce fast pitches.

    The bowling restriction can also be improved. Perhaps 15 overs per bowler max, why 12.

    And no restriction on bouncers (no use making fast pitches and then limiting bouncers). Bouncer rule was to neutralize West Indies, now they are gone, and rule can be removed.

  • David on October 22, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    A question on your table 5 (batting FBtW v SBtW).

    You noted the number of periods where one or the other was dominant, but not how the periods are grouped. That is, the side batting second has always done better, apart from the years 1990-2003. When Aus was at its prime, they used to prefer batting first, in order to put scoreboard pressure on, before McGrath, Gillespie and Warne would choke the life out of the chase. If you take Australia's results out during this period, does that change the balance of FBtW v SBtW at all? [[ As a special exercise can be done. Looking at your valuable contributions to this discussion will do it. Ananth: ]]

  • David on October 22, 2011, 2:56 GMT

    Srikanthk, I'll just have to agree to disagree.

    I'm not pessimistic about the future of tests (as long as cricket in general has a sound financial base). I also think the differences between limited overs and test cricket are exaggerated.

    They're both cricket. They require 95% of the same skills. They have 95% of the same rules. The top limited over players are almost universally also the top test players and 95% of their shot-selection in ODIs is textbook. The truly great test players can adapt to the short forms successfully (eg, Dravid). The limited overs "specialists" are more hype than substance; when you look at their international records, they're usually pretty second rate; picking ODI specialists is just bad selection policy.

    If tests do disappear, then a limited overs format that's designed to look more like tests won't survive either. Test cricket will be better served by reclaiming the popular spectacle ODIs used to be, not by sucking the popular appeal out of them. IMHO

  • Meety on October 21, 2011, 21:12 GMT

    I'm personally not in favour of splitting an innings up. In Oz with the Ryobi Cup last year & the dumb 20/25 split, sides played for the break. It created negativity from the batsmen - particularly if a wicket fell near the break. All momentum is lost. I'm all in favour of ensuring bowlers have more say - but at the end of the day, it's really about what sort of pitch is dished up. A pitch that gives the bowlers something to work with, aill almost instantly lop about 50 runs off the "par" 300 score. I don't mind the odd "Thrashathon" like the famous 400+ chase by the Saffas v Oz, but I long for some of those old days where 200 was almost a match winning score. So I think VARIETY of pitches will ensure that ODIs have a long shelf life! (Hint to some Indian curators, leave a bit of grass on SOME of your pitches, it will help your boys when overseas!)

  • David on October 21, 2011, 21:05 GMT

    By "conservative skill set" I meant text book techniques. Subtle changes of pace, the slow bouncer, the dilscoop, the uppercut, switch hitting, etc are all innovations of limited overs cricket that players have been able to experiment with precisely because they have 10 wickets in a innings. Purists don't like all of these innovations (although test cricket has already benefited from some of them!), but that's what gets the general public's interest (and money!). Your suggested ODI changes will force batsmen in particular to abandon experimentalism for classicism, which will bring ODIs closer to tests in cricketing style, and therefore also in (non-)marketability. And in the end, test cricket will be the poorer for it, in every sense.

  • Vishal Gupta on October 21, 2011, 20:55 GMT

    Raghav's format is indeed appreciable, so are others. The thing is, even that will be boring in a few years down the line. Also, we need to note that everything in this world is governed by businessmen.

    We can have a different calender every year. 1. Raghav's format in 1st year 2. ODI WC 2nd year 3. 3rd year dominated by Triangular Series 4. 4th year full of tours consisting of 2 T20s, 3 ODIs and 3 Tests.

    You can put-in Bilateral series in between and T20 WC and other matches in between in any of the 4 years.

    What makes ODI WC special is the fact that it occurs in 4years. People are made to wait & long for it. It doesn't come as easy as T20s in IPLs and Champions League.

    I thing making schedule more dynamic without much changing the format is more practical. You may say that even this is routine - well just keep them rotating!

    As they say- Change is Constant, we may find this discussion coming to life once again a decade later, when the fans will be bored again. [[ This is an excellent suggestion. The complexities of the implementation notwithstanding, the whole scene will come to life. The non-repetitiveness of the events will meke people look forward to the same. The primacy of the WC will be retained. Ananth: ]]

  • David on October 21, 2011, 20:45 GMT

    @srikanthk, "they haven't looked like winning a test match for a really long time."

    1. In SL’s last 11 tests, 7 have not produced a result. Ie, NO SIDE has looked like winning. That’s a combination of timed tests and ridiculous wickets – neither of which is SL’s fault.

    2. In their last 11 ODIs, SL have won only 4. An improvement on their test record, but not by a whole lot (given that draws aren’t possible).

    3. What’s the difference between their test & ODI sides? Malinga. With him in the side and no time limit, SL would certainly have won 2 or 3 of those 7 drawn tests. That he’s not fit enough is not SL’s (or ODIs’) fault.

    4. Have Aus’s recent drastically different fortunes in tests & ODIs come about because of the evils of the ODI format? Patently not; it was the departure of their best test bowlers (just like SL with Malinga & Murali), while some old heads have remained in the ODI team (eg, Lee). That’s part cricket cycle and part FC system.

  • Vishal Gupta on October 21, 2011, 20:43 GMT

    This was one of the best articles and one of the best discussion forums in which all the discussion was aimed to be constructive. No two individuals are alike and definitely there's be differences in opinions. Still, the bottom-line is that most of the fans have been bored with the monotonous nature of cricket being played these days though there exists 3 formats. Fans are voicing for CHANGE.

    A half-century, a Six, a 300+ scores provided thrilling sensations for fans, a few years ago. However, we have seen an excess of these things in quite a short period of time. 434 being successfully chased in ODI is indeed ridiculous.

    While most of the suggestions are appreciable and worth considering a few really stand-out: 1. Make pitches bowler friendly [however, one need not forget that spinners are bowlers. Yes I am talking about Spinning tracks in the Indian sub-continent] 2. 2 bouncers per over 3. Increase the size of stumps. 4. Increase the Quota (12 overs is good enough!) for the Bowlrs

  • shrikanthk on October 21, 2011, 18:23 GMT

    In other words, it's a second non money-spinning format for the purists. ODIs were create to generate money and profile (in that order); your changes would negate those two very things.

    Well. You are assuming that Test cricket in its present form will continue to flourish for many more decades. But I doubt it. Given the way things are going, I am extremely pessimistic.

    Which is why I suggest this change so that atleast we can capture a flavour of traditional cricket in the One-day variety. So that, even if Tests were to turn extinct, we won't feel too bad.

  • shrikanthk on October 21, 2011, 18:16 GMT

    Cricket is a 11 player game, not a 7 player game.By the game definition itself... This suggestion just makes tailenders who can bat useless. Allrounders values will go down significantly

    A classic case of missing the wood for the trees. You're quibbling at minor points here and missing the big picture. This format radically redresses the balance between bat and ball. Instead, you're bemoaning the absence of tail-ender batting!

    I don't pay good money to watch the Samit Patels, Jadejas and Dernbachs of this world. I pay good money to watch Anderson vs Tendulkar, McGrath vs Lara, Warne vs Laxman. Therein lies the pleasure of cricket as a spectator sport.

    Regarding All-rounders : Well, they can bat in the top 7 and bowl without limit if they're good enough. Nobody's stopping them.

    Re bowler friendly pitches : I'm in favour of true, consistent surfaces. Achieving balance between bat and ball by making dodgy, inconsistent surfaces is never a clever idea.

  • shrikanthk on October 21, 2011, 14:47 GMT

    For tests in India, I think the problem lies with where and how test matches are staged

    I just hope you're right and it's not a much deeper malaise. My concern is with the younger generation. I'm 27. So growing up in the nineties, my initiation to watching test matches was natural. People of my generation will continue to follow test cricket as long as it is played. But what about the youngsters?

    Are the kids growing up these days understanding the rules from their parents? Are they familiar with the follow-on rules? Do they know the new ball is renewed after 80 overs? Do they understand how right-arm bowlers create the rough outside leg-stump for leg-spinners? Are the cricket-mad fathers teaching these things to their cricket-mad sons? If not, how are they going to pick up? Once the generational transfer of knowledge stops, test cricket viewership will be pretty much dead.

  • shrikanthk on October 21, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    As I see it, the result of these changes would be to create a format that is almost exactly the same as test cricket, with the only difference that the draw is removed, and a result is achieved in one day. It's about attacking fields, grafting an innings, and a conservative skill set

    Conservative skill set? Test cricket is the least conservative and most radical of the three formats of international cricket that are played. It is the Limited overs game which is conservative - where you grant a side a win without asking them to bowl the opposition out. Where you have all sorts of restrictions on bowlers causing very conservative field placings and risk-free accumulation of singles!

    The risk-return tradeoff is the sharpest in Test cricket. With the attacking fields, batsmen get full value for their strokes. Yet, their edges get punished. Unlike in ODI cricket, where edges are blessed with singles thanks to the deep fields.

  • love goel on October 21, 2011, 14:35 GMT

    6 wickets ??? Yep. 7 batsmen. 6 wickets to bowl a side out...

    I simply can not digest this suggestion. Cricket is a 11 player game, not a 7 player game.By the game definition itself, all 11 players are equal and can do everything on the field. This suggestion just makes tailenders who can bat useless. Allrounders values will go down significantly.

    What does this achieve which cannot be achieved by making bowler friendly pitches?

  • shrikanthk on October 21, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    @srikanthk, you say HUMUNGOUS, I say minor. You haven't substantiated your humungous, so I'll stick with minor!

    It is easy to substantiate. When it isn't necessary to bowl sides out in order to win games, teams will do the expedient thing of stuffing their side with aggressive batsmen with little concern for developing the bowling. What you end up with is utility bowlers like Dernbach, Samit Patel and Jadeja. SL have not won even one of their 11 test matches! This is a team which boasts of Sangakkara, Jayawardene, Dilshan and Samaraweera. Yet, they haven't looked like winning a test match for a really long time. Why? Because they don't have the bowlers to bowl sides out on good wickets. Just goes to show how hard it is to win a test match!

    This difference between SL's Test and ODI fortunes is precisely because of the "minor thing" you talked about!

  • Mahendran on October 21, 2011, 12:10 GMT

    (Contd) The test match enthusiasts can look at only the string of tests as a series, ODI fans on the string of ODIs as a series and so on. And the Test matches, ODIs and T20s should not happen as separate set of events. They should be interspersed. Also in ODIs there should be only 2 powerplays of 5 overs each - one for the bowling team and the other for the batting team. Any kind of field restriction should be there only for the batting powerplay. No restriction on the number of overs bowled by a bowler. If a bowler manages to bowl a maiden over credit 4 runs to the bowling team.

  • Mahendran on October 21, 2011, 11:57 GMT

    To enable all the 3 formats to co-exist each series between 2 countries should restrict the ODIs to 3 nos and T20s to 2 nos with atleast 3 Tests. Then all the matches should be given points (more weightage on Tests). For example each Test win can be awarded 20 points, each ODI win 10 points and each T20 win 5 points. Based on the number of points earned by a team at the end of a full series, the winner of that series emerges. This will ensure that both the teams will take all the formats seriously and every match be it a Test or ODI or T20 will become interesting as it has a bearing on the series outcome. (Contd)

  • Dhanush on October 21, 2011, 10:19 GMT

    Ananth,

    I am not sure why you have so much of anger towards Raina. Agreed that he had a horrible test tour, his problem with short ball and might be misfit for the current Test team. But that doesnt mean that he will never be able to perform in Test matches. We believe he has more talent and is not used in the right way. We havent seen the enthusiasm shown by the players during their time (regarded as great players) while fielding the ball. He is more a committed guy who can bring liveliness to the team. Hope he will perform in Australia. [[ I am amazed at how readers do not understand what is being said and perceive imaginary insults to their favourite players. Myself angry at raina. Far from it. He is a wonderful ODI player. However you would be the first to admit that he had an awful England Test series. Certainly he redeemed himself in the ODI series. However what was required was for him to go back to FC and play couple of matches against teams with good pace bowlers. My complaint was not against Raina but the FC system whch exists, or does not exist, in India. Raina was just an example. It could well have someother player. If you think Raina (or XYZ) can play ODI series/CL11/ODI series/2 home Tests/ODI series and then walk on to bat against the Australian fast bowlers, consistently bowling at 145+ and on pacy bouncy wickets and do well, I am afraid we live in different worlds. Sewag/Gambhir/Tendulkar/Dravid/Laxman can do that. The others would struggle. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on October 21, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    I dont see the need for pressing panic button and trying to place ODIs in ICU as currently, the plethora of T20s have just come. When ODIs were introduced test cricket might have felt threatened but it kept producing great games till date. Test cricket, nevertheless, kept evolving. In India, the stands may be empty for tests, but the cash cow, TV, is still followed by billions. Maybe the emotional knee jerk reaction (whenever something new comes), would prompt people to say, "It is the end of ODIs". But the classical formats have always endured. The T20 mania would subside and may get normal. Just as Test cricket stands after 150 yrs, so will ODIs. May be like sunday league, we can restrict T20 for just weekends. Fridays and Saturdays. Overexposure of T20 is actually doing T20 itself no good. ODIs would survive and still get the 2nd premium billing (next only to tests)

  • David on October 21, 2011, 5:56 GMT

    @srikanthk, you say HUMUNGOUS, I say minor. You haven't substantiated your humungous, so I'll stick with minor!

    My point simply is that if you're behind in a test, a draw is a partial victory (and a partial injustice to the team in the ascendancy). For the sake of marketing, ODIs have just converted this draw into a victory for the dominant team. That's a minor change, since it's how most fans would feel about the draw in a test anyway - as a moral victory for the better side (cf. the fact that the better team can take momentum out of a draw). Ask any Aussie about NZ's "magnificent" drawn test series in 2001. Aus dominated 2 tests out of 3 and NZ was only saved by rain. Turning this series into a 2-1 series result for Aus, as in ODIs, would only be to confirm what everyone knows to be the true (qualitative) nature of the contest.

    (By the way, this is why I despise the super over in T20s. It destroys the one situation in cricket where there can be a genuine sharing of the honours.)

  • Ramesh Kumar on October 21, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    I have been a silent reader enjoying your blogs and comments. Felt the need to jump in to comment as you have raised interesting points on ODIs.I feel that ODIs are very important to Cricket and they test players on many areas which may get missed out in tests. Aggressive intent, stroke production, innovation, fielding improvements, captaincy skills have been the by-products of ODIs. In my opinion, great players from 70s will be evaluated a notch less if they couldn’t show greatness in ODIs and vice versa while comparing the greats. A few points to improve ODIs 1.Scheduling—2 T20s,3 ODIs & 3 tests should be the norm. [[ Mandatorily limited by ICC, and not left to individual boards. One board will mschedule a 7-ODi series just to polease broadcasters and associations. Especially the T20/ODI segment will take 12 days (1/3/6/9/12). Ananth: ]]

    2.Context---Have a cycle to complete one against others and have points accrued for match wins and series wins and the finals will be a 5 match affair. This cycle can finish at a midpoint of 4 years between two world cups and it can replace CT 3.Rules—Leg side wide, one bouncer rule to be modified and field restriction Structural changes are OK for T20, not on ODIs [[ Ramesh, your comments have become scarcer, but as always, valuable. Ananth: ]]

  • Ganesh on October 21, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    A very intersting analysis of the one-day format. There is one point that I think is being missed out in evolution of one-dayers. This is the fact that the players are much fitter in the last 10 years as oppossed to the earlier 25-30 years. I think that this has resulted in many more singles , two's and three's.

    This combined with the restricted Bouncer and wide rules means that Batsmen step out, tap in gaps and run . This was clearly not the case until 1995. I think this has had the major impact in lowering the number of Maiden overs and in the drastic upswing of RPO.

    This can be substantiated by looking at the runs scored in the field ratio to total runs in the periods if it is possible .

  • Ruchir on October 21, 2011, 4:01 GMT

    FOr tests in India, I think the problem lies with where and how test matches are staged. For example in the last series against AUS, the first test was played to empty stands in Mohali but the second one in Bangalore was well supported. SImilar story for the SA series with Nagpur and Kolkata. The smaller cities like Nagpur, Mohali, Ahmedabad etc have had pretty poor response to test matches (Kanpur is an exception). I don't know if this has something to do with the location of the ground or a lack of test match history in those cities. But maybe the BCCI can concentrate on major centres like Bombay, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore for tests. So in general, I don't think test cricket is in worse health than it was 10 years ago. If west Indies can improve and somehow Pakistan can get to play more, it will be even better

  • Ruchir on October 21, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    @Shri, Excellent idea about limiting the number of wickets. I have always thought that i could be convinced of following T20 if they reduce it to 6 wickets per team. The same idea can be applied to ODIs. In general anything that encourages bowlers/captains to try and take wickets is a good idea

    Regarding your comment about crowds at test matches, maybe I am mistaken but I think the only place where there has been a dramatic decrease in interest in recent years is teh Carribean. It was really tragic to see the empty stands at Barbados recently when 10 years ago they were filled to the rafters to see Lara play one of the greatest ever innings. The crowds for the India-SA series were some of the best I have seen for test matches in SA. England is probably the only country where test cricket is as/more popular than the limited versions Tests in AUS usually get pretty good crowds and hopefully the AUS team is back in the right direction That leaves India.. [Cont.]

  • shrikanthk on October 21, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    The only difference between tests and ODIs in this regard is that if neither team is dismissed (2x, in the case of tests, 1x in the case of limited overs - that's merely a nuance of the rules) then in tests we declare the result a draw, while in limited overs we declare a winner.

    You talk about this "only difference" as if it's a minor thing!! It is a HUMONGOUS difference. Yes. A Qualitative difference.

  • David on October 21, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    I take the point that there is too much unimaginative/unskillful play in T20s. But it's tenuous to mount a case just based on unskillful players. You could take similar examples in every format ... for a McGrath in tests I could name you a Sami. For a Dernbach in T20s I could name you a Malinga.

    And in terms of player development across formats, it is possible to develop your game in the other direction - take Hussey, Dravid and Kallis, for example, who have transformed their immense talents from the longer to the shorter forms. That suggests that Pollard, who hasn't been able to transfer across formats, just isn't a very good batsman. And his record at international level bears that out. Compare him with any of the top middle-lower order players and you'll see that he's much more hype than substance: Hussey's T20I average is nearly 3 times as much, and his strike rate is 20% more.

    Players will develop the skills for tests in a good FC system just as well as in ODIs. [[ The FC system in SA, Eng and Aus are very sound. In India not so as also in a ew other Asian countries. Raina, after a horrific Test tour, keeps on playing one day matches. He might do well against West indies. But in Australia ??? He does not play couple of 4-day matches to get his confidence back. That is where I feel ODIs are at least partly similar to Tests. Yesterday he could very well have played a run-a-ball 50. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on October 21, 2011, 3:26 GMT

    All suggestions made by readers above seem to do with changing formats, tweak rules, etc. Some of them are good suggestions.

    I was shocked when Ricky Ponting hit 140* and when Aussies ran up 359/2. I put it down to poor bowling and great batting. Then he made 164, and Gibbs 175. The way bowlers on both sides were thrashed was unforgettable. The pitch was too batting friendly.

    Unless the pitches are bowler friendly, the impact of real fast bowling wont be seen. In India, fast pitches will never be made, since Indian batsmen are scared of fast bowling.

    But at least internationally, the one-day pitches being made very batting friendly is a practice than can stop. It will have a positive rub off effect on Test cricket also, with batsmen like Raina not able to score easy runs.

  • David on October 21, 2011, 3:18 GMT

    @shrikanthk, and your suggestion for 6 wickets per match and no limitation on the bowlers.

    I appreciate your attempt to even up the contest between bat and ball, and I think your proposal would achieve that, however I don't think this is a practical suggestion.

    As I see it, the result of these changes would be to create a format that is almost exactly the same as test cricket, with the only difference that the draw is removed, and a result is achieved in one day. It's about attacking fields, grafting an innings, and a conservative skill set. In other words, it's a second non money-spinning format for the purists. ODIs were create to generate money and profile (in that order); your changes would negate those two very things.

    Now that we have T20s, do we still need another money-spinner like ODIs? That's another question. But if the answer is "yes", then your proposal isn't the answer, and if the answer is "no", then I don't believe that we need another purist's format either.

  • David on October 21, 2011, 2:26 GMT

    Take the issue of building an innings: as each new, shorter format has been introduced, everyone has assumed the end of innings building. But in both ODIs and T20, this has been proven to be false. Every good innings has a natural shape, whether test or T20. The difference is simply that as the format is condensed, so also the shape of the innings is condensed.

    Even the outlier types of innings exist across all formats. So a 30 ball hundred in T20s is matched by a 40 ball hundred in ODIs is matched by a 60 ball hundred in tests. Likewise for a grinding innings aimed simply at survival.

    And the "slower ball specialists" srikanthk bemoans have always been present in all formats. Maybe the skills and strategies have morphed over time, but the principle of the unconventional variety bowler has always been there. In fact, you could argue that the skills developed for limited overs bowling have also enhanced test bowling, just as in batting (think Sehwag and Gilchrist). [[ ODIs allow for the Trotts/Kohlis/Gambhirs/Cooks of the world to play their natural innings. In this regard T20s are different. Dehrnbach is a perfect example of the negative side of too much variation, for the sake of variation, not as a surprise weapon. If England had either Onions or Woakes playing instead of Dehrnbach, they would have won yesterday's match. 4 slower deliveries in an over, losing control because of that, more intent on deceiving the batsman than taking his wicket. On the other hand, the normal Bresnan bowled 6 balls on the spot, on the line, so much so, he allowed 6 singles. Even there slightly more aggressive field placement might have cut out couple of runs or even effected a run out. Kieswetter is another example of teams giving up on keeping quality for batting skills. Even then no one can convince me that, on current form, Prior is a lesser batsman than Kies. While one can generalize on three formats of the game, there is no doubt that the ODI format embodies both types of skills. Pollard is an example of a T20 guy who is found wanting, even in ODIs, leave alone Tests. As compared to Gayle who can adjust to all forms of the game. ODIs are needed, if nothing else, at least for the Kohlis and Rainas to move in stages from T20s to Tests. Your points are very well made. Ananth: ]]

  • David on October 21, 2011, 2:19 GMT

    There is, of course, an irony in referring to ODIs as a "bridging format", because that implies that ODIs were invented to sit in the middle of a pre-existing gulf between tests and T20s. However, we know that the opposite is true. So the claim that saving tests is dependent on saving ODIs I don't think follows. "Pyjama" formats are all about income generation and keeping cricket as a sport in the public eye. As long as cricket has a profile and an income stream, I think tests will continue, regardless of what other formats wax and wane over the decades.

    This is because all cricket formats are qualitatively similar enough that, until we allow such radical rule changes like chucking, catcher's mitts, etc, there will always be a natural synergy across the formats. (Cont'd)

  • David on October 21, 2011, 2:09 GMT

    @shrikanthk, I almost agreed with you about ODIs not being a bridging format, until I realised that tests are only quantitively less restricted than ODIs and T20s, not qualitatively.

    Since the demise of the timeless test, test matches have also been artificially restricted (by time, not overs). It is not necessary for either team to be bowled out twice to have a completed test match. The only difference between tests and ODIs in this regard is that if neither team is dismissed (2x, in the case of tests, 1x in the case of limited overs - that's merely a nuance of the rules) then in tests we declare the result a draw, while in limited overs we declare a winner.

    So in test matches there are 4 degrees of result rather than 3: definitively positive (victory), qualified positive (draw), neutral (tie), negative (loss). ODIs cut out the qualified positive, not because they're limited, but because they conflate the qualified and definitive positives, and just declare a positive. (cont'd)

  • shrikanthk on October 21, 2011, 2:04 GMT

    6 wickets ???

    Yep. 7 batsmen. 6 wickets to bowl a side out. Now, those 7 batsmen can be any of the 11 players in the side. The team doesn't have to announce before the match who the 7 batsmen are going to be. It can be decided on the spot, depending on the match circumstance.

    Advantages of the format -

    - Quick resolution of games. Suppose Aus scores 350 against Kenya and Kenya loses 4 wickets in first 10 overs. The game is practically over. Yet, in the present form, we have to endure Kenya batting the full quota of overs unless Aus get the 10 wickets. In a 6 wicket game, such non-contests get over fast. No dragging of games.

    - The format encourages specialists : Surviving the 50 overs without getting bowled out becomes a bigger challenge in a 6-wicket game, especially since there are no restrictions on the number of overs per bowler. Teams are encouraged to pick the best batsmen and best bowlers in the country, instead of flawed bits-and-pieces cricketers. [[ This is akin to the Baseball idea of specialist batters and pitchers or Football sepration of Oaffence and Deefence (both changes intentional). I like the idea and let us wait for comments. Ananth: ]]

  • Meety on October 20, 2011, 23:55 GMT

    Hi Ananth, "Odi is the bridging forrmat." I agree fully. Test Matches obviously are the pinnacle. I personally beleive that the ODI W/C is the best format to crown a champion. I have a preference that International T20s are just an appetizer played before the ODI leg of a tour & that the T20 W/C should only be Regional/Franchise based. The exception to this is IF cricket gets into the OLYMPICS. Then T20 International T20s would be the way to go, but I'd have restrictions on the Test playing nations like players U23 yrs of age, or have not played Test cricket. I actually like the middle overs of an ODI, it is where ODI cricket is most test like. Sides often have to graft for runs, some sides are always going for wickets during this phase, some sides are looking to up the tempo. During the mid 90s in Oz, there was a couple of seasons where 200 was a hard score to reach, & there were games where scores around 150 were defended often. They were edge of the seat thrillers.

  • shrikanthk on October 20, 2011, 18:32 GMT

    There is too wide a gap which exists between the two forms of cricket. Odi is the bridging forrmat

    I don't think it bridges anything at all. Both the ODIs and T20s are "Limited overs" cricket. Period. The ODIs aren't any closer to Test cricket than the T20s are!

    To win a First class game, you need to bowl a side out twice. To win a Limited overs game, you don't even need to take a single wicket as long as you contain the batsmen. This is the fundamental difference. I know I am stating the obvious. But the obvious needs to be stated. Again and Again.

    It doesn't matter whether the number of overs per side is 20, 50, 75 or a 100. The game is no different if you don't have to bowl a side out to win.

    What you get with Limited overs cricket is slower ball specialists like Dernbach who concede 65 runs per 10 overs;) That's where Limited overs cricket takes you.

    Jade Dernbach represents the logical conclusion of "Limited overs" cricket.

  • shrikanthk on October 20, 2011, 18:12 GMT

    Ruchir : Ofcourse one is aware of economic considerations. Which is why the shorter forms of the game are inevitable.

    My point was - Is the ODI or the World Cup in danger of extinction? The answer is a big resounding NO.

    ODIs still remain a very profitable cash cow for most boards. The Crowds love the format. Just look at the number of people who turned up for today's Mohali game!

    All said and done, the ODI is still by far the most popular of the three forms of the game. Though in principle it is neither the most challenging nor the most accessible of the three formats.

    So the ODIs has to be the last of our worries. The biggest worry right now is to bring back the crowds to test matches. It appears to be a very hard task. And I'm not too optimistic.

    Which is why I think the ODI should probably be revamped so that it becomes something closer to test cricket than T20. Hence, the suggestion in my previous comment of a 7-wicket game with no restrictions on bowlers.

  • shrikanthk on October 20, 2011, 17:56 GMT

    Okay. Here's a suggestion to improve the One-day game. I am sure this won't be implemented. Because it won't attract the housewives you see....

    50 overs a side. 7 batsmen per team (including wicketkeeper) No restriction on the number of overs per bowler. Bowlers can't bat. No field restrictions whatsoever. Red ball if it is a day game.

    This will automatically reduce the run aggregates. It will encourage bowlers to attack more, since they only need 7 wickets to bowl a side out. It will encourage voluntarily offensive field placings, without necessarily having any artificial field restrictions imposed. It will force teams to pick the 7 best batsmen and the 4 best bowlers. The Bits and Pieces cricketer will move out of the picture.

    All in all, good for the health of the game.

    [[ 6 wickets ??? Ananth: ]]

  • Ruchir on October 20, 2011, 17:24 GMT

    Shri, I love test cricket as much as the next person and i agree with you that a test championship is a contrived idea which does not fit the format. But you have to realize that cricket does not exist in a vacuum. To survive and prosper it has to be economically viable. You and I will follow cricket even if Papua New Guinea and Afghanistan are the only teams left playing but you have to look at the bigger picture beyond the followers of this blog

    The real threat is not to test/odi cricket but to International cricket from the domestic T20 leagues. If you say that you want to save test cricket but don't care about ODIs, eventually the upstream flow of fans, players and money from ODIs to test cricket will end as well

    Infact I think test cricket is in better health right now than ODIs. Bilateral test series atleast have meaning and context. An annual ODI championship is the only way you can do the same for ODIs [[ I am certain that if Tests and T20/IPL/CL are the only forms of cricket surviving by, say, 2016, then, by 2020, Test Cricket would have gone the way of Quagga or Tarpan or the more well-known Dodo. There is too wide a gap which exists between the two forms of cricket. Odi is the bridging forrmat. Ananth: ]]

  • Ruchir on October 20, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    I think Raghav Bijani's proposal of having a group/league system leading to a playoff has a lot of merit. It provides meaning and context to each ODI. The only issue if I understand his format correctly is that you would have 4 top teams possibly playing only 12 ODIs a year if you get rid of all other bilateral ODIs. That is too few

    But you could tweak the format to have 2 groups of 6 teams. Each team plays the 5 other teams in its group 5 times. The top 2 teams from each group go ahead to have a 5/7 match playoff type series. That way every team gets atleast 25 ODIs and the finalists will play a max of about 40

    You could get rid of the WC and the silly Champions Trophy and replace them with this annual ODI championship. [[ Yes, I think Raghav's idea has a lot of merit. It is an eminently workable idea and bring the idea of a calendar year event very well. Vikram's idea is also good. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on October 20, 2011, 15:15 GMT

    You do not approve of ODI WCs. But want ODIs to continue. In what form. The universally-despised 7-match bi-lateral series.

    I never said I don't approve of ODI WCs. All I said is that it isn't that big a deal as people imagine. As someone mentioned, the ODI was originally a marketing ploy. So is T20. These are watered down versions of cricket with inevitable flaws. It doesn't matter how you try to gloss it up by creating "World Cups" and "Champions Trophies". The fact is that the formats are flawed.

    Regarding Bilateral series - What's wrong with them? If you love the game, then it doesn't matter whether the rubber is "dead" or "alive", whether the tournament is "bilateral" or "multilateral". A game is a game! I love watching cricket of any variety, be it the current India-England ODI series or be it the final of a Cricket World Cup! It's all the same to me!

  • Ruchir on October 20, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    [[This rule will make teams go for relying on 3 specialist bowlers]]

    @Aina, That is just bad selection. Any team that relies on 3 bowlers whether it be tests/ODIs deserves the misfortune of 1 of its 3 bowlers having a poor day/match

    Even if you allow 2 or 3 bowlers to go up to 12 overs, you will want to have 4 frontline bowlers in your team. Take today's Eng-Ind match. If Ashwin and Jadeja had 12 overs instead of 10, it would have given Dhoni more flexibility to use them as they seem to have bowled much better than the seamers

    And in general, wouldn't you watch 6 extra overs from Gul/Riaz instead of Pakistan's 5th bowler (well, PAK's 5th bowler may be better than many team's 1st choice, but you get the point). It is to have fewer overs from guys who are there to just try and contain and more from your wicket taking bowlers

  • Ruchir on October 20, 2011, 12:58 GMT

    Someone suggested having an extra fielder during the powerplay. Extend that idea further. 2 extra fielders for the entirety of the innings BUT with the rule that they have to be in catching positions (true catching positions not the faux ones like short third man or short fine leg)

    Imagine Harbhajan bowling with a bat-pad and slip. Probably give him more incentive to take wickets instead of being happy with giving 4/5 singles an over

    In general, I am fine with more 4s and 6s but its frustrating to watch top edges go over the deep point boundary. I am surprised no one has thought about changing the equipment with which the game is played - limit the thickness of the bat edge - reduce the size of the ball - increase the height/width of the stumps. The opposite (reducing the strike zone) was done in baseball in the 60s when pitchers were dominant [[ But, Ruchir, these will have a major impact on the othr forms of Cricket also. Test matches ??? Ananth: ]]

  • Meety on October 20, 2011, 11:07 GMT

    Got afew more odd ideas. 1. Move the legside wide wider! I think its terrible that a wide can be called (particularly a spinner), where the ball almost brushes the thigh pad. [[ Yes, I agree. A sharply turning off-break pitched on the middle stump has every chance of being called a wide. Ananth: ]]

    2. Allow the fielding captain to decide whether they want 2 new balls in play. This can add a bit of strategy & play to your strengths. Maybe even allow to bring the 2nd new ball into play during the innings. 3. Allow the fielding captain to split his Power Play overs up in lots of one over. May end up being a situation where your best bowler ends up bowling all the overs. [[ Tough to keep track of. Ananth: ]]

    BTW - I do like the idea of raising the bowling limit to 12 overs. Just wonder if that will make All-rounders obsolete & specialists the norm? I suppose if you had a rule that there needs to be 5 bowlers to have bowled a minimum of 8 overs or something like that.

  • Ranga on October 20, 2011, 11:06 GMT

    Maybe one more tweak to the existing rules: During powerplay, allow 2 bouncers instead of 1. When switch hitting (or reverse sweeping) discount wides. LBW to be given, treating the batsman according to the side the batsman faces (A ball pitched outside leg, for a right hander, if reverse sweeping can still be given out lbw).

    Splitting innings, etc with too many breaks between innings could make innings building a thing of past and it becomes no different from the t20's which we all bash . . . The best part of ODI is that only technically correct players can survive and last longer. Shortening the innings would mean bash bash bash bash. An eyesore to watch. It would make ODIs more boring than it is currently perceived to be! [[ This is a point worth noting. Trott, as I write, is on 58 in 84. He could score the next 62 in 46 and get a 130-ball 120, a pretty good effort. Ananth: ]]

    The super sub rule was good. It could be reconsidered

  • Aina on October 20, 2011, 8:48 GMT

    You only noticed my personal reason for disliking that rule. It wasn't the only one I gave. Let me clarify what I mean. This rule will make teams go for relying on 3 specialist bowlers. That will have two adverse effects. Firstly, it will be counter-intuitive in the sense that it will make the game even more batsman-friendly. Secondly, imagine Pakistan goes with Gul, Riaz and Ajmal, and either Gul or Riaz have a bad day. An out of form Gul who is needed for 12 overs is even worse than an out of form Gul who is needed for just 10 overs at most. Not to mention we will already have a limited supply of bowlers. Pakistani bowlers are amazing no doubt but even they can have bad days. Imagine what would happen if it happens to a team that LACKS Pakistan's immense bowling talent, and probably doesn't have a Mohammad Hafeez to turn to, for saving face. [[ My apologies, Aina. The point is that the bowling captain need not take this option. He could stick to the traditional 10 over pattern with the option of having a crucial over or two at the end being bowled by a more trusted bowler. Look at the big picture. Ananth: ]]

  • Santosh Sequeira on October 20, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    Hi Ananth

    Interesting analysis. I don't know where these questions about the recall value of ODIs have come about. I enjoy watching them today as much (if not more) as i used to back in the 80s & 90s.

    Any ways for the sake of the doubting Thomas' I have a few suggestions that might revive their interest in the game.

    1. Increase the limit to 12 Overs per Bowler. 2. Allow 2 bouncers in the power plays 3. Substitutes can bowl a maximum of 5 over after having spent a certain amount of time on the field 4. Lastly and the most impractical of them all...allow an additional fielder on the field in the power plays.

    This should bring the balance between bat and ball to about 60-40.

    [[ Frst two are perfect. The next two are controversial, but needed to indicate the impact of the bowlers' handicaps. Ananth: ]]

  • Meety on October 20, 2011, 4:17 GMT

    To rid the meaningless of a lot of bi-lateral ODI series, I would suggest making the ODI series count towards W/C qualification. If boards want to be money hungry, they can schedule extra series, but 2 series home & away over 5 matches, amongst the Test playing nations should be simple to implement. For the Associates, they can play each other via the Intercontinental for W/C places. It's then up to the ICC to decide how many teams play in the tournament! Also - like in tests, I think their should be a World Champion's Trophy that is up for grabs EVERYTIME the titleholders play - like in Boxing with the belt. So it doesn't matter if Australia (ranked 1st) is playing Zimbabwe ranked (8th), Zimbabwe have the chance to win the "Belt" by winning a bilateral series. Then Zimbabwe are the reigning champions. I know there use to be a page on cricinfo that tracked the Test "Belt" from the 1st test till about 10yrs ago. In that time Zimbabwe actually did take the "Belt" off Pakistan I believe. [[ Radical new ideas coming through. Let us get everything in and come out with suggestions. Ananth: ]]

  • David on October 20, 2011, 3:58 GMT

    Other advantages of 5ives include:

    1. The end of D/L. If rain intervenes, then the winner is the team that was ahead at the last concluded innings split.

    2. Natural interest injected into the boring middle overs.

    3. Tournaments are decided simply on points, rather than things like NRR. Points are earned for winning the match (2x the total number of innings splits), and a bonus point for each individual split won.

    4. As I already commented, the fact that both teams experience essentially the same conditions, so the influence of the toss is almost nullified.

    I'm not convinced about this idea yet - I wonder if it would mean the end of a Bevan or Hussey type innings which imperceptibly builds in tempo across the match, for example, but I can appreciate the frustrations with ODIs which have led to the invention of 5ives, and think it's well worth some serious trialling. [[ The same Hussey played the type of innings a Pollard or Gayle would be proud of. I can see there are a lot of things going for this. Ananth: ]]

    Remember, both ODIs and T20 began as marketing ploys, yet they're now considered indispensible to the calendar.

  • David on October 20, 2011, 3:47 GMT

    "My initial reaction is, too many interruptions to the innings"

    If at the moment there are two drinks breaks per innings of several minutes each (approx 1/hour), then, including the changeover between innings (40 minutes) there are already 5 breaks in an ODI, totalling about one hour. The 5ives proposal includes up to 10 breaks (although it would only be 5 breaks if the innings were split into 10 over blocks rather than 5 over blocks) of only about 2 minutes each, and with the addition of 2 substitute fielders, and a spell for the batting side every 40 or 80 minutes, there is no need for a 40 minute lunch/dinner break.

    In other words, under a 10 overs + 20 + 20 + 20 + 20 + 10 format, there would be the same number of breaks as a conventional ODI, but nearly one hour time saved. That seems to be an unqualified improvement.

    The point about whether the spectators will be confused on the state of the innings would largely depend on the clarity of the scoreboards. [[ Yes, David, all points taken. As I have concluded any new proposal is worth extra looks. Ananth: ]]

  • David on October 20, 2011, 0:03 GMT

    While on the topic of how to improve ODIs, have you seen the radical proposal called 5ives cricket? (http://www.5ivescricket.com/) The basic idea is that the match is broken down into 10 over slots (5 for each team) so that the spectators have an ongoing feel for how the match is going as a competition (eg, sometimes when a batting team is struggling, you can't tell until the next team bats if it's the quality of the bowling or the adverse conditions), and also so that both teams experience the same conditions.

    As I understand it, team A bats 5 overs, then team B bats 10, then team A bats 10 ... finishing with team A's final 5 overs. Powerplays are still used, etc. The only change to the rules is that teams are allowed 2 substitute fielders so that innings changeover times are minimised, as not out batsmen don't have to pad up/take their pads off.

    In an MCC trial match, the changeovers took 90 seconds; each 10 over batting block took 40 minutes.

    What do you think of the idea? [[ David, nice of you to bring this to everyone's notice. My initial reaction is, too many interruptions to the innings, the public will be confused on the state of the innings and the rhythm will be interrupted. If ICC did not accept the proposal to split the 50-overs into 2 of 25 innings each, this proposal will not even cross first hurdle. But any new idea is worth a detailed look. Ananth: ]]

  • Vikram Pyati on October 19, 2011, 23:28 GMT

    As many experts have recently commented, the ODIs lack a context. My suggestions to revive the ODI format:

    - Remove all bilateral series from the calendar. - Have a tennis-like Grandslam format with four major tournaments in a year. Indian Cup, Australian Cup, South African Cup and the English Cup. There can be qualifying slots for associate members - may be two slots. The format of the tournament can be open to discussion. - Based on the performance in the four tournaments, the top two play a bilateral series to determine the year-end ODI championship winner. [[ Good idea. A different colour to Raghav's format. I like the geographic division. To ensure the interests of other countiies, I would call these Asian, Australasian, Southern and Northern Cups. Ananth: ]]

  • Aina on October 19, 2011, 21:50 GMT

    1) Far as I know, the bowling powerplay involves the same kind of field restrictions as the batting powerplay. Won't it make sense to redefine it and let the bowling captain go berserk and make any field setting he likes, whether its all around the batsman or all on the boundary? Its the BOWLING powerplay afterall! Or maybe allow unlimited bouncers... 2) People keep complaining that ODI cricket is dying. The Sharjah Cup was a popular event that doesn't take place now. Triangular series are dead and buried for an unfathomable reason. Just make them come back. Imagine the interest Pakistan Australia India would generate. 3) I completely disagree with suggestions of some bowlers being allowed 12-15 overs. This will allow teams to load themselves with batsmen and keep just 3 bowlers, thus helping the batting even more. Bad bowling teams who lack bowling stars will benefit and of course one reason I'd hate it is because Pakistan with its amazing bowling and bad batting will suffer most. [[ That Pakistan will suffer is not a reason to reject an excellent suggestion. Let Gul and Riaz bowl 12 overs each. You will see Pakistan will benefit. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on October 19, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    Today, they're trying to tweak the One-day game with nonsensical changes. Powerplays, 40 over games, 2 new balls etc. But just about everything is pointless.

    Because the basic premise of the format is to "bring crowds", "make the housewife watch cricket". Any art form based on such a populist premise is doomed from the start. Because the moment you start stooping to accomodate people who don't like you, you enter a bottomless pit.

  • shrikanthk on October 19, 2011, 19:01 GMT

    Can't see Viv thinking that way about it unless the event was fairly serious business.

    He probably thought about it that way with the benefit of hindsight many years hence!

    The World Cup is "prestigious" because everyone else thinks so. It's always easier to sell the concept of "World Cup winner" than it is to sell the concept of "Winning a five-test series away from home". No wonder it caught on.

    When India won the '83 World Cup, the public took to the idea of us being "World Champions". This image of the burly Haryanvi holding aloft a trophy that is simply called "The World Cup" struck a chord. No test win can have a similar broad based appeal.

    So essentially the World Cup and ODIs were essentially moves to make the game more accessible, more than anything else. In this respect, they are no different from T20s.

  • shrikanthk on October 19, 2011, 17:32 GMT

    Still this is the only true WC. The The T20 WC is still in its infantile stage.....Test World Championship may not see colour of the day for quite a few years

    Agree. Let me grant you that it is the "only True WC". So what. Should every sport have a World Cup necessarily? Why bother. I don't care for the "Test championship" either. It is a terribly flawed idea in a format that does not lend itself to tournaments. Nor do I care for the "Test rankings"! I think fans ought to decide for themselves which is the best team. The rankings tell me that SL is the 5th best team, ahead of Pakistan! But do I buy that as a cricket fan? NO. Fans are smart enough to make up their own mind. These rankings are meant for casual watchers who don't understand the game particularly well.

    Ofcourse none of this means I want the ODIs to die. It's just that this fear is greatly exaggerated. What we should be more worried about is the future of Test cricket! [[ Something is amiss. You do not approve of ODI WCs. But want ODIs to continue. In what form. The universally-despised 7-match bi-lateral series. You do not like Test rankings. Should not you then take it or leave it (so that the others, less knowledgeable than you, can follow). You do not like the Test Championship. So what do you want. Bi-lateral Test series fought for the honour of playing. Who would watch (last Test in Chandigarh had empty stands). Who would telecast. Who would pay the millions of dollars to the players. If you think that would be done by T20/IPL/CL, over a period of time, these formats, a la BCCI, would take over the game. Nothing would be gained by the range of negative thoughts. Positive suggestions are needed. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on October 19, 2011, 15:37 GMT

    A simple format to make each ODI count. 16 teams to play ODIs in a year. We start with the top 12 teams.

    Stage 1: Split them into 4 groups of 3 each. Teams play each other 3 times resulting in 9 matches per group. The team coming last in the group is eliminated. We have played a total of 36 matches. Played over six months with each country hosting 3 matches.

    Stage 2: 8 left teams are split into 2 groups of 4. Each team plays the other 2 times. The last 2 teams are eliminated from each group. Another 24 matches and 4 teams remain.

    Stage 3: 4 teams play each other 2 times to decide the top 2 teams. Another 12 matches.

    Stage 4: The finalists play out a 3 or 5 match decider series. 5 matches.

    So we have a total of 36 + 24 +12 + 5 = 77 matches. (2010 had 141 ODIs)

    During stage 3 & 4, we have a qualifying round (not official ODI status). This is played by 8 knocked out sides with teams 13-16. This decides the 8 teams who qualify to play next year. The 4 in stage 3 automatically qualify [[ Complex system but a radical one. With some fine-tuning this can go places. Ananth: ]]

  • Anand on October 19, 2011, 15:16 GMT

    Is it also possible to compare scoring rates of? From the RPO figs u have given, it looks like in 71-84, the 34 runs were probably scored over 14 overs while in 2005 onwards it might be in 4-6 overs. We see more than 35 in 14 overs in Tests now, if no wicket is lost (unless Akash chopra and Dravid open, in which case you may not even have double figures:-)).

    Would love to see how the scoring rates in tests and the draw percentages compare before ODIs and during these ODI periods you have listed. I have a feeling that the draw percentages have drastically reduced. You may ignore Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in your calculations to avoid minnow bashing in tests. I strongly believe the draw percentages have reduces even in the sub-continent, after ODIs picked up. [[ I have already done a similar analysis on Tests. Ananth: ]]

    To me, T20 is like a fast food, ODIs are a good breakfast/snack and tests are like full lunch meals. I still do not know of a Saravana Bhavan that closed due to a McD or Pizza hut.

  • Raghav Bihani on October 19, 2011, 15:03 GMT

    @Ananth; I agree that this a recent phenomenon of ODIs losing relevance. The old knocks are quite fresh in mind including bowling spells. 40 runs against wasim-waqar 5 overs each was a nightmare for the team chasing.

    I think the main reason is the easy availability of 4s and 6s. Add to it lack of context for matches. More is less when it comes to matches and boundaries. The SIX is a moment of celebration. Gilchrist cherished that split second when he connected a ball for a six. He got the thrill a 100 times in Tests. Some suggestions

    1. Make batsmen earn their boundaries. They are too easy to come by for various reasons like short boundary, fiedling restrictions, better bats etc. [[ Keep the ropes back. Take away one Power Play. Ananth: ]]

    2. What has already been suggested is to decrease the number of ODIs. But, even short 3 ODI series with each Test tour is not exciting. There needs to be a context where each match counts towards a bigger prize.

    3. Get the bowlers back in the game. 50-60 runs in the last ten should be a live match. [[ At least two bowlers to bowl 12 overs each. Ananth: ]]

  • Anand on October 19, 2011, 15:03 GMT

    Ananth: DO you think the numbers have also got to do with some non-measurable factors? When ODI cricket stared, the openers were the same guys who performed the same role in test matches. Do you think they treated the ODIs like they treated test matches? Till the end of 92 WC, 50-0 in 15 overs was considered outstanding. Was the mind set of openers to just keep wickets intact? Did they later evolve into run scoring mode?

    Make shift hitting openers were tried in 80s too (Botham opened in 85-86), but I think they really picked up at 92 WC (courtesy, Greatbatch and Lara), later followed by Tendulkar in 1994. Anwar and Sohail were famous for destroying bowlers in initial overs before Jayasurya and Kalu took it to different heights. Now the trend changed in test matches where every team wants one hard hitting player at the top (Sehwag, Gayle, Gibbs, Hayden, Tamim Iqbal)

    (contd)

  • Waspsting on October 19, 2011, 15:02 GMT

    "Until then, the WC was a "fun" event which was nowhere near being the "prestige" tournament that it is now."

    I agree that it wasn't considered as prestigious as it is now, but probably not as low as a "fun" event either.

    Viv Richards thought putting Geoff Boycott on to bowl in the 79 final was a psychological masterstroke because the batsman would be afraid of getting out to him...

    "... because no one in his right mind wants to be stuck with that label; you would be remembered for the rest of your life for getting out to Boycott in a World Cup Final", he says.

    Can't see Viv thinking that way about it unless the event was fairly serious business.

  • love goel on October 19, 2011, 14:49 GMT

    "" In my opinion, the World Cup has occupied an inordinately large mindshare of cricket fans. It's just another multilateral tournament.Why bemoan its demise.... ""

    I am sure I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of multilateral tournaments in ODI cricket. Champions trophy,Australian triangualr, Asia cup and that is all I can remember. May be the one which use to take place in Sharjah. That is all. There are no tournaments with 5/6 teams. WC is the only such tournament

    WC holds so much prestige because it happens only once every 4 years. It includes all the best teams, best players. To win the tournament you must defeat all the other best teams. There is simply no alternative to it. It is and will remain the premier tournament in ODI.

    No WC has been won by an undeserving team. Ind-83, Aus-87 seems to be weakest among all WC winners(my opinion) but even they took out some giant teams on their way to victory. To discredit it is to discredit the game [[ The 1983/1987 winners were very deserving, as much as the favourites were a few years later. One can luck into a Champions' Trophy win and even a T20 WC but not the WC. If Sangakkara had bowled two additional overs of Malinga or kept a slip for Malinga when he got him back, Sri lanka would have been as deserving a winner as India was. Ananth: ]]

  • love goel on October 19, 2011, 14:31 GMT

    Suppose the 1st match of the WC could be between ICC 1 and ICC 5 at Brisbane. It could be India v Aus or SAF v SL. But till the tournament begins, this suspense would have to be there. . .

    There is one big issue. A fan will not be able to follow his team as he wouldn't know when are they playing , where they are playing and who they are playing. No planned travel will be possible. You just can't hop on a bus ride to go from Sydney to Perth or from delhi to Chennai.

    Today WC are almost always multi-host travel. Without fixed schedule no body will be able to travel across the countries. It is much easier to follow your team on TV, but it takes a lot more effort do to the same live in stadiums

    It will become a logistic nightmare. Fixed schedules , months in advance, are practical neccesity

  • Gerry_the_Merry on October 19, 2011, 13:21 GMT

    I remember with a great deal of fondness the 3 way tournament between 1) South Africa, Pakistan and West Indies in 1992-93 in South Africa and 2) the 2002 Tournament between South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Most matches were thrilling. Very few large totals. The problem (inter alia) is making the game batting friendly. That is translating into boredom with teh format. It is also translating into decline in bowling standards, and batting standards. Make pitches for One-days bowler friendly and 50% of the problem will be solved (fast bowlers, i mean; And of course, Tenduklar's 50 centuries will stand forever...! now that i think of it, this (protecting Tendulkar's record) can be used as a powerful tool to motivate the public and board to make fast bowler friendly pitches.) It may sound facetious, but i think there is potential in this suggestion. [[ A bit devious but a very powerful suggestion. Ananth: ]]

  • Ruchir on October 19, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    One of the easiest ways to help bowlers is to remove the 10 over per bowler quota. A batsman does not have to retire after batting for 25 overs, why should bowlers be limited? If you do not want to completely remove it to avoid a situation where 2 spinners bowl 20-25 overs each, you can atleast increase it to where 1 bowler can bowl 15 and maybe 2 more can bowl 12. That will force batsmen to take risks against the best bowlers instead of just waiting for the weakest link

    Your stats on averages of LHB v/s RHB is very interesting. What could be the reasons? - Is it just that there have been so many great ODI batsmen in the 95-05 period? Gilchrist, Bevan, Hayden, Jayasuriya, Ganguly, Lara, Anwar, Kirsten - Or is it something more fundamental in the way batsmen play? Much more often, they try to move to the leg and make room to carve over the offside. Maybe the right hand bowler's angle to the left hand bat becomes a liability in this case instead of a weapon [[ I think it is an inherent advantage a left-hander gets. Probably the bowler is so conditioned to bowl to a right-hander that he gets it slightly wrong when bowling to a left-hander. My feeling is that if I do this analysis for a team like Sri Lanka, there may not be this type of variation. Ananth: ]]

  • Nimal on October 19, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    Just a comment on the powerplays. When the field is in the number of singles get cut. So either you have to be precise in piercing the gaps or go over the top and which not only fetches boundaries but creates wicket taking opportunities. The new rule change in powerplays is going to do good to India. It was in the middle overs where we used to lose and Australia with their running between the wickets and good outfielding win

  • love goel on October 19, 2011, 12:07 GMT

    To improve the ODI we just need 2 things.

    1. Reduction in the number of ODI . Watching 7 match series between Aus-Eng after ashes, this 10 ODI series between Eng-Ind is just dumb

    2.Make the pitches favorable to bowlers,grounds bigger. 300's have become meaningless, centuries have lost their impact,and so many batsmen are just sloggers. Any time a bowling pitche comes up, we see batsmen struggle like cat on a hot tin roof. See the Bang-WI game. Slighlty bowling pitch and you get a total of 61! unbelievable!

    3. T20 is a fine format of game. But any form of game needs to have the scope for all the 11 players. These means creating even more bowling-oriented pitches. Essentailly as the the numbers of overs reduce we need to make the pitches bowler friendly so that batsmen need to work hard for their runs. But i think we are going backward

    4. Sachin 200.Forget Gayle,Watson would have already done it if not for chasing only 226.A big enough total to chase and it can fall any time [[ Or a typical Bangalore wicket and Watson/Warner/Gayle/Sehwag/McCullum open and this might fall even in the first innings. Ananth: ]]

  • Phil on October 19, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    Interesting blog, Ananth. In considering the increase in failed opening partnerships during the past decade (Item 3 in your list), I wonder whether there is a contribution made by the "Pinch hitters" who have seemed to rise and fall in popularity recently. It seems to me that a "lower order" big-hitting batsman coming in at 1 or 2, who sometimes get 50 quickly during a powerplay is also more likely to get out for less than 10. Including the statistic for avg number of balls faced for the opening partnership might be quite illuminating. Probably not true, since the average has remained constant, but I'd like it to be! [[ Yes, Pil. Almost no team has a proper, innings-building opening partnership. Cook and Strauss were there and then Strauss was replaced by Kieswetter. Sehwag and Tendulkar were very good but I am not sure whether we will ever see them walk out together. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on October 19, 2011, 11:00 GMT

    ...cotd. There is no need to tinker with the rules and then take it off, just because a particular board is not able to exploit the rule well. Excitement could be added through surprises. Suppose the 1st match of the WC could be between ICC 1 and ICC 5 at Brisbane. Now, we have a 4 year window to decide who these two teams are. It could be India v Aus or SAF v SL. But till the tournament begins, this suspense would have to be there. . . This way, the entire tournament would read as TBD v TBD . . . and a single team can not exploit the loop holes to hold matches in favorable venues (Like WACA for Oz, Durban for SA, Chennai for Ind, so on) . . . 1992 & 2011 WC had one sour point is that the rules were slightly predictable and "home advantage" was exploited. Home advantage is fine for bilateral series but not for WC [[ Good ideas. Let me store all and then we have a consensus. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on October 19, 2011, 10:49 GMT

    I for one, feel that all formats of the game have to be there and most importantly, they have to be balanced. An overkill of these is the problem these days. I would rather like to have the FTP balanced to an average of 3 Tests and 2 T20s in a bilateral series and a triangular tournament in the same tour with 6 matches + 1 final. In this way, there would be both bilateral and neutral series same time. Qualifications for world cup would be based on the standings of the FTPs (just like Test championships). now almost all countries can host a triangular series and it coudl replace the bilateral ODI. The so called minnows coudl compete in T20 but definitely not in WC as then, the tournament would lose its premier status. Also, like Aus did in 1994 by including Aus A team for their C&UB Triangular series, we could use minnows regularly in these triangular tournaments. Then they woudl also get exposure regularly to top cricket and the low ranked games could no longer be boring.

  • Ranga on October 19, 2011, 7:35 GMT

    Nice analysis, Ananth. I am not sure if this is in your pipeline of blogs, but a small variation of adding geographies could add a new dimension to this. Totals in excess of 400s were hit and chased, not anywhere in the Sub Continent (famed for flat tracks), but in SAF, where the slowest track is faster than the fastest track in Ind/SL. Of course, then it no longer becomes a "micro analysis" :) But could be worth considering.

    Also, the figures get skewed from 2007 is that even intercontinental and regular matches between Associate nations are also given ODI status. So while we consider a lot about Top-10 countries, quite a lot of ODIs are being played between Afganisthan and Canada and so on . . . Dont know if we have considered that within this analysis to arrive at any interpretation of these numbers! [[ Pl see the responses to Gerry, Raghav and Shri. Let us make this as an exercise how to revive the ODI game. You and I have no influence. But Cricinfo has and they could forward the resultant document to ICC. Come out with suggestions. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on October 19, 2011, 4:55 GMT

    I think the ODI game will live as long as the WC retains its premier status

    Well. The development of the ODI game has largely been accidental. The World Cup's "premier" status owes a lot to India's triumph in the '83 edition, following which the tournament moved out of England for the first time! Until then, the WC was a "fun" event which was nowhere near being the "prestige" tournament that it is now.

    Even the first ODI - played in Australia in 1971 - was Don Bradman's stopgap solution to make some money out of what was a rain-ravaged test match!

    So, I wouldn't be unhappy if the World Cup ceases to be a "premier" tournament and ODI cricket declines as a result. This isn't something to be bemoaned.

    In my opinion, the World Cup has occupied an inordinately large mindshare of cricket fans. It's just another multilateral tournament, played in a format that's neither the most challenging nor the most entertaining of the three forms of the game! Why bemoan its demise? [[ Extremely disappointing, Shri. Why trash the format and the early WCs just because there is lack of planning and foresight now. India playing England in 10 ODIs in 3 months and meeting Windies in10 ODIs within 4 months is the scheduling result of ICC which must have forgotten how to schedule tours. Still this is the only true WC. The The T20 WC is still in its infantile stage. The less said about the Champions' Trophy, the better. Test World Championship may not see colour of the day for quite a few years. Why are you belittling the first two WCs. West Indies could only play who took the field opposite them. You cannot blame them for that. This is like belittling the WC successes of Uruguay or Italy or the Grand Slam successes of Rod Laver or the Major successes of Arnold Palmer. Not one WC was won by an undeserving team. Not one winner would put that success on a lower pedestal than other achievements. Australia would consider their 3 WC successes as probably more important than their Test supremacy during those years. You may not agree but most Australians would think so. Look at suggestions which would move the ODI game out of the rut. Don't shovel in mud. Then IPL/CL would just swamp everything in front of them. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on October 19, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    Very brave of you to do an article on ODIs considering the lack of recall value of this form today. I fail to remember who scored a century where and valuable 50s are even more difficult to recall. I am not even following IND vs ENG and was just informed that there is match in Kolkata when I am there (Anything at Eden is mesmerising). I will be following the Tests very keenly.

    The only performances that I recall are from World Cups or a few spectacular efforts (Sachin vs AUS in Sharjah, Kumble 6-12 against WI etc.). What is the relevance of ODIs in current context when they mimick extended T20s? Alongwith T20 they are a "sport" which tell me that Pathan is better than Dravid / Laxman. Warner is more imp. than Ponting. May be Pollard would be preferred over Lara (thank God that day did not come). This does not sound like cricket and a few matches I saw recently of T20 and ODI did not feel like cricket. ODIs are now mechanical and follow set pattern.

    Am I the only one? [[ Raghav, there is a clear lack of recall of recent matches. However let me say that I find it as easy to recall 189*, 175*, 149 and 107 as I do of 153*, 281, 149 and 270. The problem is current. Maybe I should turn this into a forum to get views on how to drastically move forward the ODI game. Two things come to mind. Shorten and make the bi-lateral series more meaningful. Increase the relevance of the bowlers (change the current 70-30 to at least 60-40). Ananth: ]]

  • Meety on October 19, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    Hi Anantha, "Surprisingly there seems to be a distinct improvement of bowler strike rates during the past few years. Again one cannot but point to the number of weak teams playing one-day cricket"

    I think the issue is that whilst team totals have increased, bowling strike rates have increased because; a) Higher risk taking by batsmen, (increased S/R & innovation like the Dilscoop) b) Deeper batting orders, sides keep swinging the whole way down the line. Bowlers can get wickets (Lee), but may go for runs. c) T20 effect, whilst T20 is seen as a batsmen's game, bowlers can pick up wickets at a S/R of between 12 & 18 balls. In ODIs, bowlers like Mitch Johnson, not renowned for accuracy can strike at rates better than most of the famed WI pace battery. Relates to the 1st point about risk. I would argue that weaker teams may not skew the figures as if "strong" teams bat first, weak teams bowling S/Rates etc will be higher. Anyways good article! [[ Very true. The number of top class modern bowlers who concede 5+ runs per game, like Steyn, but with outstanding strike rates is reflected in the numbers. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on October 19, 2011, 2:21 GMT

    This proves that the number of matches have been becoming more frequent, and recall value receding. The impact of boundaries being brought in, increase in field restrictions, power plays and other hare brained schemes have tilted the game towards batsmen. Batsmen' achievements thus stand devalued. I get the sneaking suspicion that the Indian board has a lot to do with these innovations, adding its own stuff like choosing ever smaller grounds. [[ Yes, the Bangalore ground was a ridiculously smaller one. During the CL nothing was safe. I don't understand why the ropes are brought in. Ananth: ]]

    The 50 over game should be changed to a 100-a-side game, spread over two days, with no restrictions on bouncers. That will make the game more even between bat and ball, and give opportunities for batsmen other than openers to score centuries. A clear case of overkill. I predict that after 2016 there will be no more one day cricket. Tendulkar's record will be safe forever...! [[ Longevity-based records will stay forever. However the performance based records might disappear. If Gayle comes back, gets a ground like Bangalore and bats first on his day, the 200 might disappear just as he or Sehwag might overhaul 400, less likely. I think the ODI game will live as long as the WC retains its premier status.Bilateral series should be limited to a standard 3-match series, including a shoot-out. Ananth: ]]

  • love goel on October 18, 2011, 22:30 GMT

    During the initial few years over 80% of the overs were bowled by pace bowlers. This % has come down over the years and now the pace bowler % stands at 63.6, well below two-third. A very significant change indeed...

    Can this be anyway due to the number of matches being played by India/Pakistan/Sri Lanka? Also addition of Bangladesh would have certainly moved it towards spinner [[ Don't forget Zimbabwe, almost totally sustained by spinners. Ananth: ]]

  • David on October 18, 2011, 22:23 GMT

    Re: table 2, and the simultaneous jump in <100 and >300 scores. I wonder if the two factors accounting for this are 1) the introduction of powerplay overs, and 2) the rise of T20.

    1) My memory is that one of the early unexpected results of powerplay overs was that instead of scoring lots of runs during these overs, teams often just lost lots of wickets. So when powerplays were introduced, one of the consequences could have been an increase in <100 scores. As teams have learnt better how to use them, they've been losing fewer wickets.

    2) The rise of T20 with faster scoring rates naturally means that, as long as teams keep wickets intact (see point 1)), they'll score more runs in total.

    Therefore, T20 together with rule changes like powerplays could have resulted in an increase in extreme results (both low and high), while over time, the lower extremes have become rarer as batsmen have learnt to take advantage of the changes better. [[ Very well put. Power play was a double-edged weapon. Let us see what happens now with the Power play restrictions. Ananth: ]]

  • Luke on October 18, 2011, 21:16 GMT

    A theory on the low percentage of innings under 100 in recent years: Since 2008, there has been a semi-segregation of ODI teams, with far more matches taking place between Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the associates. Whilst the associate results against the top 8 are still similar (barring the odd Irish interlude) to 2000-2007, the effect is diluted by more evenly contested matches between the smaller teams.

  • Sudarshan P.N. on October 18, 2011, 17:44 GMT

    Ananth One of the reasons as to why the % of all-outs in the intial years was higher is perhaps the higher proportion of 60 over games. I have a far-fetched theory for the rapid decline in this % over the last 3 years. The dimimution of wicket-taking bowlers in general and the retirement of some of the premier bowlers from one-day cricket to prolong their test careers? [[ However it was around 28% during the fist 15 years. Then it dropped off and then picked up again to 35% now. Ananth: ]]

  • Dilip P on October 18, 2011, 13:54 GMT

    Amazing stats Anantha... shows the change in Cricket over the last 40 years. Keep it up.

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  • Dilip P on October 18, 2011, 13:54 GMT

    Amazing stats Anantha... shows the change in Cricket over the last 40 years. Keep it up.

  • Sudarshan P.N. on October 18, 2011, 17:44 GMT

    Ananth One of the reasons as to why the % of all-outs in the intial years was higher is perhaps the higher proportion of 60 over games. I have a far-fetched theory for the rapid decline in this % over the last 3 years. The dimimution of wicket-taking bowlers in general and the retirement of some of the premier bowlers from one-day cricket to prolong their test careers? [[ However it was around 28% during the fist 15 years. Then it dropped off and then picked up again to 35% now. Ananth: ]]

  • Luke on October 18, 2011, 21:16 GMT

    A theory on the low percentage of innings under 100 in recent years: Since 2008, there has been a semi-segregation of ODI teams, with far more matches taking place between Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the associates. Whilst the associate results against the top 8 are still similar (barring the odd Irish interlude) to 2000-2007, the effect is diluted by more evenly contested matches between the smaller teams.

  • David on October 18, 2011, 22:23 GMT

    Re: table 2, and the simultaneous jump in <100 and >300 scores. I wonder if the two factors accounting for this are 1) the introduction of powerplay overs, and 2) the rise of T20.

    1) My memory is that one of the early unexpected results of powerplay overs was that instead of scoring lots of runs during these overs, teams often just lost lots of wickets. So when powerplays were introduced, one of the consequences could have been an increase in <100 scores. As teams have learnt better how to use them, they've been losing fewer wickets.

    2) The rise of T20 with faster scoring rates naturally means that, as long as teams keep wickets intact (see point 1)), they'll score more runs in total.

    Therefore, T20 together with rule changes like powerplays could have resulted in an increase in extreme results (both low and high), while over time, the lower extremes have become rarer as batsmen have learnt to take advantage of the changes better. [[ Very well put. Power play was a double-edged weapon. Let us see what happens now with the Power play restrictions. Ananth: ]]

  • love goel on October 18, 2011, 22:30 GMT

    During the initial few years over 80% of the overs were bowled by pace bowlers. This % has come down over the years and now the pace bowler % stands at 63.6, well below two-third. A very significant change indeed...

    Can this be anyway due to the number of matches being played by India/Pakistan/Sri Lanka? Also addition of Bangladesh would have certainly moved it towards spinner [[ Don't forget Zimbabwe, almost totally sustained by spinners. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on October 19, 2011, 2:21 GMT

    This proves that the number of matches have been becoming more frequent, and recall value receding. The impact of boundaries being brought in, increase in field restrictions, power plays and other hare brained schemes have tilted the game towards batsmen. Batsmen' achievements thus stand devalued. I get the sneaking suspicion that the Indian board has a lot to do with these innovations, adding its own stuff like choosing ever smaller grounds. [[ Yes, the Bangalore ground was a ridiculously smaller one. During the CL nothing was safe. I don't understand why the ropes are brought in. Ananth: ]]

    The 50 over game should be changed to a 100-a-side game, spread over two days, with no restrictions on bouncers. That will make the game more even between bat and ball, and give opportunities for batsmen other than openers to score centuries. A clear case of overkill. I predict that after 2016 there will be no more one day cricket. Tendulkar's record will be safe forever...! [[ Longevity-based records will stay forever. However the performance based records might disappear. If Gayle comes back, gets a ground like Bangalore and bats first on his day, the 200 might disappear just as he or Sehwag might overhaul 400, less likely. I think the ODI game will live as long as the WC retains its premier status.Bilateral series should be limited to a standard 3-match series, including a shoot-out. Ananth: ]]

  • Meety on October 19, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    Hi Anantha, "Surprisingly there seems to be a distinct improvement of bowler strike rates during the past few years. Again one cannot but point to the number of weak teams playing one-day cricket"

    I think the issue is that whilst team totals have increased, bowling strike rates have increased because; a) Higher risk taking by batsmen, (increased S/R & innovation like the Dilscoop) b) Deeper batting orders, sides keep swinging the whole way down the line. Bowlers can get wickets (Lee), but may go for runs. c) T20 effect, whilst T20 is seen as a batsmen's game, bowlers can pick up wickets at a S/R of between 12 & 18 balls. In ODIs, bowlers like Mitch Johnson, not renowned for accuracy can strike at rates better than most of the famed WI pace battery. Relates to the 1st point about risk. I would argue that weaker teams may not skew the figures as if "strong" teams bat first, weak teams bowling S/Rates etc will be higher. Anyways good article! [[ Very true. The number of top class modern bowlers who concede 5+ runs per game, like Steyn, but with outstanding strike rates is reflected in the numbers. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on October 19, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    Very brave of you to do an article on ODIs considering the lack of recall value of this form today. I fail to remember who scored a century where and valuable 50s are even more difficult to recall. I am not even following IND vs ENG and was just informed that there is match in Kolkata when I am there (Anything at Eden is mesmerising). I will be following the Tests very keenly.

    The only performances that I recall are from World Cups or a few spectacular efforts (Sachin vs AUS in Sharjah, Kumble 6-12 against WI etc.). What is the relevance of ODIs in current context when they mimick extended T20s? Alongwith T20 they are a "sport" which tell me that Pathan is better than Dravid / Laxman. Warner is more imp. than Ponting. May be Pollard would be preferred over Lara (thank God that day did not come). This does not sound like cricket and a few matches I saw recently of T20 and ODI did not feel like cricket. ODIs are now mechanical and follow set pattern.

    Am I the only one? [[ Raghav, there is a clear lack of recall of recent matches. However let me say that I find it as easy to recall 189*, 175*, 149 and 107 as I do of 153*, 281, 149 and 270. The problem is current. Maybe I should turn this into a forum to get views on how to drastically move forward the ODI game. Two things come to mind. Shorten and make the bi-lateral series more meaningful. Increase the relevance of the bowlers (change the current 70-30 to at least 60-40). Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on October 19, 2011, 4:55 GMT

    I think the ODI game will live as long as the WC retains its premier status

    Well. The development of the ODI game has largely been accidental. The World Cup's "premier" status owes a lot to India's triumph in the '83 edition, following which the tournament moved out of England for the first time! Until then, the WC was a "fun" event which was nowhere near being the "prestige" tournament that it is now.

    Even the first ODI - played in Australia in 1971 - was Don Bradman's stopgap solution to make some money out of what was a rain-ravaged test match!

    So, I wouldn't be unhappy if the World Cup ceases to be a "premier" tournament and ODI cricket declines as a result. This isn't something to be bemoaned.

    In my opinion, the World Cup has occupied an inordinately large mindshare of cricket fans. It's just another multilateral tournament, played in a format that's neither the most challenging nor the most entertaining of the three forms of the game! Why bemoan its demise? [[ Extremely disappointing, Shri. Why trash the format and the early WCs just because there is lack of planning and foresight now. India playing England in 10 ODIs in 3 months and meeting Windies in10 ODIs within 4 months is the scheduling result of ICC which must have forgotten how to schedule tours. Still this is the only true WC. The The T20 WC is still in its infantile stage. The less said about the Champions' Trophy, the better. Test World Championship may not see colour of the day for quite a few years. Why are you belittling the first two WCs. West Indies could only play who took the field opposite them. You cannot blame them for that. This is like belittling the WC successes of Uruguay or Italy or the Grand Slam successes of Rod Laver or the Major successes of Arnold Palmer. Not one WC was won by an undeserving team. Not one winner would put that success on a lower pedestal than other achievements. Australia would consider their 3 WC successes as probably more important than their Test supremacy during those years. You may not agree but most Australians would think so. Look at suggestions which would move the ODI game out of the rut. Don't shovel in mud. Then IPL/CL would just swamp everything in front of them. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on October 19, 2011, 7:35 GMT

    Nice analysis, Ananth. I am not sure if this is in your pipeline of blogs, but a small variation of adding geographies could add a new dimension to this. Totals in excess of 400s were hit and chased, not anywhere in the Sub Continent (famed for flat tracks), but in SAF, where the slowest track is faster than the fastest track in Ind/SL. Of course, then it no longer becomes a "micro analysis" :) But could be worth considering.

    Also, the figures get skewed from 2007 is that even intercontinental and regular matches between Associate nations are also given ODI status. So while we consider a lot about Top-10 countries, quite a lot of ODIs are being played between Afganisthan and Canada and so on . . . Dont know if we have considered that within this analysis to arrive at any interpretation of these numbers! [[ Pl see the responses to Gerry, Raghav and Shri. Let us make this as an exercise how to revive the ODI game. You and I have no influence. But Cricinfo has and they could forward the resultant document to ICC. Come out with suggestions. Ananth: ]]