World Cup 2015 likely to stay at 50 overs
The ICC is confident the World Cup will still be a 50-over competition in 2015, despite Cricket Australia considering a new two-innings one-day format. The CA board will discuss the concept, which could involve two innings of either 20 of 25 overs, at a meeting this week with the view to testing it in state cricket this summer.
The former coach of Australia, John Buchanan, has for many years been spruiking the idea of one-dayers split into two innings per side. He believes the future of the game lies in shorter formats, with Test cricket also retained, and 50-over matches fall into a no-man's land between the two versions.
"If Cricket Australia are contemplating making changes to it, I think congratulations to them for looking at that," Buchanan told Cricinfo. "I'd support any changes that make it look more like the 20-over form. It has been in need of an overhaul for some time ... and has been and will continue to lose popularity unless something is done with it.
"Games won't finish by the end of 10 overs into the second innings of a normal 50-over game, where one side has either dominated with the bat or been completely dominated by the ball and the game has really lost interest. By being able to quarterise the game it should enable the game to have longer life from a spectators' point of view."
England and South Africa have already dropped 50-over cricket from their domestic schedule in favour of 40 overs, but Cricket Australia's two-innings idea takes that concept even further. It could also mean that many players around the world will have limited exposure to the 50-over format, which in some countries will be played only at international level.
That raises questions over the 2015 World Cup, to be hosted by Australia and New Zealand. But the ICC is confident the event will remain in its current 50-over format by the time that tournament rolls around.
"The ICC is committed to the three forms of the game, being Test cricket, 50-over cricket and Twenty20 cricket," an ICC spokesman told the Sydney Morning Herald. "We have a working party of eminent chief executives set up to look at the context and content of international cricket."
However, the ICC's general manager of cricket, Dave Richardson, last year said he "quite liked" the idea of two-innings one-day games. "If it has been trialled successfully at domestic level, it may give the trial to give it the go-ahead at international level," Richardson said last September.
Part of the appeal of a split-innings one-day game is that the home team is guaranteed to bat during the more popular second session. There is often less interest in matches in Australia when Ricky Ponting's men have batted first, with fans less likely to turn up to the game after work or watch it on television.
"There's no doubt in the world there's time for some change," Steve Crawley, the head of sport at Channel Nine, said in the Australian. "There's no doubt they [Cricket Australia] are up for it. You've got to hope they can lead the world."
The idea has also won support from some former players including Ian Chappell and Dean Jones. Chappell said the game would become more tactical when split into two innings per team, while Jones called it "a fantastic idea".
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo