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ECB to ask ICC to review 50-over format

Ajay S Shankar

August 27, 2009

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ICC president David Morgan and CEO Haroon Lorgat address the media at the MCC Museum, Lord's, June 25, 2009
The ball is in ICC's court © Getty Images
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The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is likely to propose that the ICC conduct a formal review of the future of the 50-over format after the 2011 World Cup to protect the ODI structure amid the rise of Twenty20 cricket, with a 40-over format topping the list of suggested alternatives.

The review was discussed informally at a strategy session in London during the ICC conference in June and has come into focus once again after the ECB announced on Thursday that it was switching to a 40-over domestic format from 2010. No formal decision on a format change has been taken at the ICC level but members expect England, which has long been looking at ways to reinvigorate the shorter form, to take the lead in proposing an official review soon. South Africa is the other major nation that does not have a 50-over competition in domestic cricket.

However, any review or proposed change will have to take into consideration the ICC's current commercial and broadcast deals - primarily with ESPN - which run until 2015 and include the 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. But if the ICC board agrees on a revamped ODI structure and gets its partners and sponsors on board, the format change is expected to happen sooner.

"The ICC has event, commercial and broadcast contracts in place up to and including the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015," an ICC spokesperson said. "Those contracts, including host agreements with New Zealand and Australia, are all based on the 2015 ICC World Cup taking place as per ODI regulations. If the ECB wishes to table suggested changes to those contracts then that would have to go through due process with the ICC board and also, if there were to be a change of format, with the ICC's commercial and broadcast partners. There is nothing to stop members experimenting with other formats but the ICC is committed to three viable formats of the game - Tests, ODIs and T20Is."

England and England Lions will continue to play 50-over cricket internationally until the ICC review is complete, the ECB said. In fact, a sense of where ODI cricket is headed has been given by the ECB's new domestic competition that will be held mainly on Sunday afternoons. "The Powerplays and fielding restrictions will be the same as per international cricket but the match will be played over 40 overs," the ECB said.

Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, also pointed to the fact that "the leading one-day team in world cricket - South Africa - does not mirror 50 overs at domestic level and, provided Powerplays and fielding restrictions were the same as the international format, the skills required were very similar."

A 40-over plan had also figured prominently in a speech delivered by James Sutherland, the chief executive of Cricket Australia, before the ICC Members' Forum last year. "The introduction of batting team Powerplays is a good move, but more questions need to be asked," Sutherland said. "The one-day game may actually be improved as a 40-over game; perhaps two innings per team; perhaps a different number of players - 12-14; perhaps the 30-metre circle size could be different - how would this change the game?"

Sutherland said that ICC members need to adopt a more proactive stance in experimenting and trialling possible innovations for the one-day game.

"The financial success of the modern game has been built on ODI cricket," he said. "Within this current bundle of commercial rights, our short-term future includes pinnacle World Cup events in 2011 and 2015; we owe it to ourselves to ensure that ODI cricket continues to be a popular force in the game. At both ICC, and at member level, we must vigorously protect one-day cricket and generously promote it. It has given us too much to deserve less."

The ICC has already launched efforts to boost the existing ODI format by unveiling a shorter and leaner version of the Champions Trophy that will start on September 22 in South Africa. The two-venue event will host the top eight ODI teams across 14 days.

Ajay Shankar is a deputy editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by NewcastlePhoenix on (September 3, 2009, 13:44 GMT)

I think that the 50/50 should stay, but the current format should change. I agree that the middle part of the game becomes boring and static. As suggested in the article, why can't we have 4 x 25 over innings, like a true 1 day test. Obviously players will get to bat twice in the day (if required), and I would like to team to be a larger unit, using a batting squad and a bowling and fielding squad, similar to gridiron. Making the 25 overs power packed with batting talent and the countries best bowlers and fielders.

Posted by Kirk-at-Lords on (August 30, 2009, 1:47 GMT)

That "two innings a side" bit could be the lever that pries open meaningful change in the one-day format. Having Pro40 become a mini-Test, with innings limited to the same number of overs as the obviously popular T20 format, could give cricket a new centre of gravity that balanced the shortest and longest forms on the fulcrum of the one-day version. Combined with some day/night Tests covering 4 or 5 days (probably with their own form of limited overs, though far less restrictively so), the public would likely turn out for the novelty and stay for the new strategic permutations and excitement arising from forms ultimately more engaging and deep than T20.

Posted by Cricket_Writer on (August 29, 2009, 23:06 GMT)

It's quite strange to see every one advocating the idea of squeezing 50 over format into 40/45. Well, let's not forget that this is the same format which have entertained for so many years and we were able to watch lots of nail biting matches likes of 1992 WC semi final & final, 1999 WC semi-final………………The last time ODI experienced major changes in 1992, for instance, use of white ball and colourful kits, and it was the modernisation of the game without gambling with crickets basics.

And why is there any need to reduce number of over as on the other hand we have go T20 cricket. Just to remind, cricket isn't about only slogging and bowling Yorkers, as is the case in T20. It's about to see all the tricks i.e. singles, doubles, partnerships, batting and bowling with the old/new ball. So just not be so hasty with our views and in my opinion these two formats complement each other.

Posted by aadnan_2009 on (August 29, 2009, 11:28 GMT)

For recent discussion about cricket format , i have following suggesstions 1 Elimination of ODI 2 Test should be 4 days long , provided that it should end with a result, for this purpose the first innings should be fixed between 60 to 90 overs, with no change in second innings & if the match goes toward draw at the end of both innings , the team which took lead in first innings should declare as winner.

These steps make the pace of cricket fast & it would make cricket more interesting & result oriented & people will not miss the ODI because of the first innings of test

Posted by TwitterJitter on (August 29, 2009, 6:24 GMT)

40-over cricket for ODIs is good in the subcontinent primarily because it allows the game to start after 4.00 pm when it is not so hot at the stadiums. I cannot beleive how people sit at the stadiums under the sun in 40+ degree celsius weather in summer and watch game. It is too hot. It is good that ECB is taking a lead on this issue. 50-overs is a good format if the weather is pleasant or if you are watching from air-conditioned boxes at the stadiums.

Posted by arjun814 on (August 29, 2009, 4:50 GMT)

I agree ODI's should be scrapped. There is so much dull period in the middle overs of a ODI people of 21st century doesn't have time to watch that crap. Imagine a ODI after 10 overs if the score is 30/3 or 40/4. Look at the other popular sports around the world (Soccer, Rugby,Footy, Basketball, American Football and Baseball etc..).The reason why some of these sports are so popular is that they provide so much entertainment in 3hrs of time. T20 cricket does the same thing. For people who say that it is not traditional cricket, yes I agree but how is cricket going to survive without the new generation of people watching it. I think we should have Test cricket for Tradition and T20 for Entertainment, Revenue and Popularity. Test cricket is still very exciting if they are played on sportive pitches and not the dead sub-continent pitches.

Posted by krs_spidey on (August 28, 2009, 20:23 GMT)

one more thing to re ignite ODIs is reducing too many and one sided meaning less ODIs and replace it with some

t20s internatinally..i mean india is not playing any t20 international at all between this wc2009 and next wc2010 while

they r playing a 7 ODI series againt australia later in oct this yr..it shud have been 5 ODIs and 2 t20s..icc shud just

take 3 simple steps at the moment. 1. reduce 50ovr ODi to 40ovrs ....2. max of 25 ODIs in a calendar yr and 10to12 t20s for each team(excluding icc events like icc world cups, champions trophy)....3. have max 12 team ODI world cup and 16 team t20 world cup..minnow teams shud 1st be exposed to tough teams in t20..how can they beat them in ODI if they cant beat them in a t20... this will surely create a good mix of t20 and ODIs in international cricket..

Posted by krs_spidey on (August 28, 2009, 20:05 GMT)

i agree with vijaypratap totally abt ODIs...40ovrs ODIs..20 ovrs of whcih shud be popwerplay....that will leave only ovrs 20 to 30 as relatively slow part of game(even that will become a bit fast due to reduced length of match and new rule of choosing 1 powerplay in hands of each team)...start matches at 4pm..4to6.50pm 1st half..6.50 to 7.30 break..7.30 to 10.30 2nd half..within 6 1/2 hrs match will be ovr..it will neither be too short for 3hrs like a t20 nor too long for 8hrs like 50 ovr ODI..enough time for ads and revenues and more entertaining and exciting cricket at same time..to evryone coomenting here abt scrapping ODIs i request let this happen 1st, see whether it provides more excitemnet, entertainment and thrill and its impact on game and then decide ODi future..dont discourage it right now..its better to try 40ovr ODi 1st than to scrap it straightaway...

Posted by cricket-vid on (August 28, 2009, 15:40 GMT)

I said to some of my cricket buddies several years ago that T20 would threaten ODI and end up driving it out of the game. I got some funny looks. There is now speculation about the remaining life span of ODI's as the T20 game has grown at a faster than expected rate of popularity. T20's meets its AND ODI's original purpose, to draw a less informed fan base and provide greater entertainment value in a shorter space of time. Their is no way that ODI's will survive - regardless of any re-formatting. T20 fills that space and it fills it handsomely with sell out crowds. The ICC will over the next few years try to rejig the ODI format in hope of its survival. I have no doubt the games admistrators will eventually look back and realise that the 50 over format did infact evolve and ultimately fulfill its original purpose. It evolved into T20 cricket.

Posted by LITT on (August 28, 2009, 14:16 GMT)

like most of comments, i would also like if 50 over format is altogether scrapped. But lets have a look at scenario from a different prospective. Suppose it T20 bubble bursts in next couple of years (b'cos of it becoming hit or miss game), even though there are very less chances, but if it does and ICC also decides to scrap 50-over, then what will be the future of cricket?? It will be a great shame.

I think the best way-out is to wait & watch till T20 version matures and this will also save ICC from a financial disaster, which can happen due to cancellation of events like WC 2015 and Champion Trophies in-between.

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