A fortnightly talk show hosted by one of India's most popular cricket commentators

'A travelling roadshow with no real meaning'

Ian Chappell and Mark Butcher highlight the flaws in the ODI system and suggest an ideal balance between formats (31:59)

Producers: Raunak Kapoor and Suketu Mehta

September 16, 2013


Time Out

'A travelling roadshow with no real meaning'

September 16, 2013

James Tredwell fails to connect off the final ball, England v India, Champions Trophy final, Edgbaston, June 23, 2013
Chappell: "The last Champions Trophy had a lot of merit and there must be a prestige ODI tournament outside of the World Cup with teams qualifying for it" © AFP

Excerpts from the discussion below. The numbers in brackets are the duration for each segment

What do we do with all the one-day internationals given that there are so many T20 leagues these days? Before we hear from Ian Chappell and Mark Butcher on where exactly the one-day international stands, let's hear what Rahul Dravid had to say in a panel discussion at the ESPNcricinfo for Cricket summit. (0.20 - 3.38)

Rahul Dravid: "Most of these series have got to have some context. A lot of the five-match and seven-match one-day series that we play don't seem to have any context about them. The Champions Trophy had a context about it. It had a start, a beginning and an end, and you looked forward to it. I think you have to work around some of these meaningless bilateral one-day games.

I would play one-day cricket only as a build-up to the 50-over tournaments, as preparation for the World Cup and the Champions Trophy. So you can remove a lot of the one-day cricket that we keep playing nowadays and fit in the extra Test matches required."

Do you go along with that Chappelli, to have one-day cricket only if there is a context to it? (3.50 - 4.50)

Ian Chappell: Well, this cry has been going on for a long, long time now, that all the one-day internationals that are played, they should relate to each other. For instance if you are playing a five-match ODI series between England and Australia, there should be some points on the end of it for qualifying for a prestigious tournament.

I think the way the last Champions Trophy was run, that had a lot of merit, and I'd like to see it remain like that, I've been saying for years that there should be a prestige one-day tournament outside of the World Cup, but make the teams qualify for it so that whenever you're playing a one-day tournament, you are playing for a purpose and it means something for the fans who are watching on the ground or on television.

Mark, once the Ashes were over, for a lot of good old-fashioned lovers of Test cricket, it was almost like it was all over. The huge contest was done and it was time to just bask in the afterglow. Then all of a sudden, there were T20s and one-dayers. Is that the general feeling among the public as well or just amongst cricket lovers? (4.50 - 13.10)

Mark Butcher: I think the general public probably switched off once the Ashes were done. The hardcore cricket lovers will still find an interest and excitement in the one-dayers, but I think there is a wider issue here. In England we now have somewhere in the region of ten or 11 venues that are vying to play some sort of international cricket, and what these ODIs do is provide these venues, who have put a lot of money in to get their facilities up, a chance to get some of that money back.

"The marquee players in T20 leagues are pretty much the same guys all the time. That creates a problem. But you're not going to fix any of the problems unless you fix the body that's running the game" Ian Chappell

I'm pretty sure that in India it's the same thing. There are so many venues over such a wide area that these people need to have some kind of international cricket. The way the authorities deal with that is by giving them one of seven, one of 11 or one of 15, 50-over matches. And that is where the process and the interest dissipates. It's just like a travelling roadshow for cricket, where there isn't any real meaning to this cricket.

I'm sure the people who paid for a ticket at Cardiff for the fourth ODI would be excited to watch a standalone game of 50-over cricket and they probably don't care a jot of the context of it. They bought their ticket and they want to see England play Australia.

But there is a problem in that it loses the interest of the country outside of Cardiff today. No one really is going to give two hoots as to what happens, who wins and who loses, and that can't be right.

Also, the argument for the fans is that why are we shelling out £100 a ticket for a one-day game when the England team have rested most of the stars that we would have paid the money to come and see? And that's been done because you've got the extraordinary circumstance of back-to-back Ashes series. The most important thing for the England set-up is regaining the Ashes, so they've decided that they're not going to risk injuring their players in what is pretty much a round of exhibition 50-over matches.

I think it comes down to what you're asking the spectators to stump up for and the quality of what it is they're going to watch. Is it the best that they can possibly see?

Mike Atherton wrote something four or five years ago where he said that international teams outside of the World Cup should not play T20 cricket, and that it should be solely the preserve of the franchises and clubs.

Just to put that in perspective, Australia are coming to India to play seven ODIs after the five in England. (14.34 - 16.43)

Chris Gayle hit an unbeaten 47 off 48 balls, Jamaica Tallawahs v Guyana Amazon Warriors, Caribbean Premier League 2013, final, Port-of-Spain, August 24, 2013
Butcher: "Hardcore cricket lovers may not find it real cricket, but T20 brings new fans to the game" © Getty Images

IC: Yes, that's just pure finance really, and here's another of the problems. I think that the last time that cricket was administered in the best interests of the game was so far back that I'm struggling to remember it. Every nation is just as guilty as the other. The No. 1 priority is finances, and I understand that you need a lot of money to run the game but then you've got to balance that out with overkill. I mean how long are people going to keep paying 100 quid if teams are going to keep resting their major players? Sooner or later, the fans are going to say, "Blow this for a joke. I'm paying good money, I expect to see the best".

And herein lies another problem with all the T20 leagues popping up in the world, that every one of these leagues wants the same players. The marquee players are pretty much the same guys all the time. That creates a problem.

So there are plenty of problems. But it keeps coming down to the same thing: that you're not going to fix any of the problems unless you fix the body that's running the game.

The other by-product is that increasingly Test matches are becoming the preserve of a few teams. There seem to be about four teams at the moment who seem to be playing Test cricket reasonably well. We see that Test cricket is becoming a smaller and smaller club, don't we? (16.45 - 20.05)

MB: Yes and part of me thinks that's not a bad thing, because the worst thing for the game of cricket is bad Test cricket, Test cricket that is so one-sided that it is no longer a contest. It's no longer a test because one team is so much better than the other.

The thing about T20 is that it's bringing new fans to the game. Now the worst thing that Test cricket can do is trot out two or three years of poor quality Test-match series between teams that are totally mismatched, and in the meantime you've got this incredible show going on of T20 franchise cricket and people are going to start to waver in terms of what they feel is worth their money, and that's a real problem.

Numbers Game question (25.40 - 31.16)

Which team holds the record for most ODIs played in a calendar year and how many did they play? Who holds the corresponding record in Tests?

Posted by Nutcutlet on (September 17, 2013, 19:24 GMT)

@ ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (September 17, 7:06 GMT): Hello. I am an aged 'fan' (no, fan is not a word I am comfortable with; let me start again) I am a devotee, a student & faithful lover of our great game. It (the fc game & especially Test match cricket) has been with me thorough my life since boyhood. Indeed, I can recall in detail matches that took place 50 & more years ago. Cricket has evolved greatly since then, of course, & I've watched many (too many) t20 &ODI matches. Very few of them can I remember. They come & go - so ephemeral! That cannot be said of the best of TC. I am with the great Rahul Dravid on this one. He recognises that the great tree from which all cricket has sprung is TM cricket; T20 & ODIs are its branches. Now, in good tree-management wild shooting branches are lopped off & there are indeed too many shooters these days - so many meaningless matches! This maintains the health of the parent tree. It endures.There's always room for the best our sport offers! BW

Posted by salazar555 on (September 17, 2013, 13:25 GMT)

ODI cricket is rubbish, I rather watch 20/20 than ODI. I prefer a good test match but I understand money needs to be made and grounds want games in their stadiums but that still could be done by having more 20/20 games rather than ODI games.

England need to playing tests and 20/20s. The ODI games needs to be reduced big time

Posted by   on (September 17, 2013, 11:10 GMT)

Bilateral ODIs should be completely scrapped. Replace them with a World ODI League. 2 or 3 Divisions of 6 or 7 countries depending on who wants to be involved. Based on current ICC rankings, Division 1 would be India, Australia, England, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Pakistan & New Zealand. Division 2 would be West Indies, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Netherlands, Afghanistan, Scotland. Each country plays every other team in their division home & away (either once or twice depending whether 6 or 12 home & away matches are ideal number of matches wanted). At end of each season one team from each division is promoted or relegated. Set aside slots in the year for all matches to be scheduled; eg Feb, June, Oct - what's so hard about doing that? Also the matches would regain competitive interest & credibility again.

Posted by DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on (September 17, 2013, 10:04 GMT)

t20 followed by odi are future of cricket and test will be played as a formality. T20 will introduce new nations to cricket and will serve best for game cricket economically in small countries. I rather would love to watch 20 t20 playing teams or 15,16 odi playing teams THAN 8 test playing nations. Only few conservatives mostly in eng and oz oppose t20 and odi, but other world stand behind shorter formats. Scrapping test, allowing shorter formats ONLY at international level will make cricket more popular.

Posted by willsrustynuts on (September 17, 2013, 9:48 GMT)

Mark, you are wrong! This 'hard core' fan does not want to see any 50 over matches, more T20 for me. I am bored senseless by ODI's where the game is so contrived to force a result. T20 the better team wins, every ball counts, simple.

And why is KP playing in this format? He wanted to quit and play T20 only but now he doesn't play T20 but the ECB expect me to believe he is interested in ODI's. No chance!

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (September 17, 2013, 9:45 GMT)

@richard_crackford. Ask subcontinent fans, majority will say test series is a meaningless bilateral series with four people and two dogs watching entire 5 days. What a insane, that few people watching bored test match is meaningful but near full, much followed, most people watching odi series is meaningless? And also why guys like you are crying to save test match? Odi is future wheter few conservatives accept it or not!

Posted by   on (September 17, 2013, 8:58 GMT)

@ 'ODI_BestFormOfCricket': Im 26, not old aged. I'd rather watch a competitive test match over a (meaningless) ODI any day. Simple as. I presume you didn't follow the recent Zimbabwe v Pakistan test series then? Of course there is a place for ODI cricket. There's a place for all three forms of the game. I'm looking forward to the next Ashes series down in Oz, even though it is too soon after the last series. But am I looking forward to the upcoming SEVEN match ODI series between Oz and India?....

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (September 17, 2013, 7:06 GMT)

There is no urgent need to put a lot of effort in test cricket bcz other than ex players, old aged fans and few commentators SPECTATORS ARE NOT INTRESTED IN WATCHING TEST CRICKET. I would play test cricket in FC as a build up for odi and t20 internationals. As you said earlier dravid, fans are important for cricket to survive. Fans prefer odi's, one cannot force test matches. Those who didnot dominate odi are advocating for scrapping the odi. But world thinks otherwise

Posted by Lodhisingh on (September 17, 2013, 5:42 GMT)

No bilateral ODIs? Say for example the test teams happen to be settled ones like the Australian team of the 2000s or current English or SA or even the Indian side of the 2000s, where many a career were/are ruined for test aspirants looking to break into the side. How are the other players supposed to make a living or name for themselves or knock on the doors when they cant play ODIs? What would have been of the players like Shane watson, kohli, Dhoni, Jadeja, Morgan, AB Devillers, etc? These are only to name a few. The reason why there are so many players knocking on the doors of test cricket is due to their performances in ODI cricket. Take that away and we have the same players in the side if the side is successful or the half decent players directly coming from first class cricket unable to adjust to the international test level due to lack of any previous international experience. Finally,outside Aus, Eng &at times India,is there so much interest about test cricket to avoid ODIs?

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