Changes to one-day cricket June 11, 2010

Split-innings matches gain mixed reviews


The concept of two-innings one-day cricket, which Cricket Australia will trial next season, has been viewed with cautious optimism by two of the county second XI coaches in England who have had first-hand experience this year, but with concern voiced that matches can be decided very early.

Leicestershire and Sussex have both reached the semi-final stage of the knockout competition where the split innings are being used in the 40-over matches. Phil Whitticase, who is in charge of Leicestershire's second team, has experienced both ends of the spectrum in the matches he has been involved in.

"I think the jury is still out, in the two games we've played I've seen both sides of it," he told Cricinfo. "In the first we had Northamptonshire 76 for 6 after 20 overs and it meant we could play very steady cricket and won the game. I called it second-gear cricket, which isn't want you want.

"But in the second, against Surrey on a very good pitch, we won a good chase off the penultimate ball and it was a close game throughout. It certainly seemed to have more merit after that second game, but the feedback we have got is that some games could be over by three o'clock.

"Some of the supporters who watched the Surrey game said it was a bit hard to follow with too much chopping and changing but I think that is something they could get used to."

Mark Davis, the Sussex second XI coach, also said there was a danger of matches being decided very early but believed the format was worth further discussion because of the increased tactical element it involves.

"One issue I have had is that if a team performs badly in the first 20 overs the game can be as good as over and it isn't much of spectacle which can become a bit boring," he told Cricinfo. "First up people were quite sceptical and negative about it, much like they were at the start of Twenty20 cricket, but the two games we have played have been quite interesting and different to be involved in."

"It's a very tactical format, which makes it a good test for the captains and coaches who have to be able to think on their feet and adjust strategies depending on the situations. It has created a few novel situations."

However, where Davis feels a two-innings set-up could really benefit the game would to even up day-night one-day matches where the toss can have a major influence at grounds affected by dew. Davis remembered his experiences of playing domestic cricket in South Africa where batting under lights can become a hazard.

"It would certainly even up the contest under lights," he said. "I remember playing in South Africa, at places like Centurion and Durban, where you could basically win the toss and win the match because one team had 50 overs when the ball was zipping around all over the place. Split innings would certainly help balance that out."

Whitticase, meanwhile, has experienced what splitting an innings can do for a batsman who is in full flow when the first 20 overs ends. "We had a young guy on 48 in the first game and then he had stop and field for 20 overs," he said. "He then needed to play himself in again and although he got fifty he said he didn't feel as though he'd really earned it."

Angus Porter, the chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, suggested it would be quite a while until the format was considered for first team cricket in England.

"I think it's highly unlikely that the version we are playing in the second XI this year will get transferred across to the first XI competition," he told the Press Association. "Players are enjoying it but what I think they are saying is 'we're not quite sure exactly where this particular experiment is taking us'.

"The initial feedback from that experiment is that everyone is up for trying new things but that this one doesn't actually seem to improve the game from a playing or a spectator point of view."

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jonathan on June 16, 2010, 22:51 GMT

    I like the idea of this. It'd be a shame to get rid of 50 over ODI's.

    However, to spice it up, they should allow the 12th Man to bat in the second innings.

  • Terry on June 13, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    I think this 4 alternating session ODI is a great idea. I think that Test cricket should eventually follow suite and have four 20-25 over sessions in the day, which each team swopping each session until the conclusion of the match of one teams 2nd innings.

    This will make closer matches more exciting and dull one-sided matches over quicker.

    In ODI the team in the lead at the half way point should be allowed to decide who bats the 3rd session, allowing the 2nd session team to chase down & gain the lead and either continue batting (after 15 min break) or make the other team bat for the next session.

    In Tests at the end of each session, the team in the lead should be allowed to force their opponent to bat the next session.

  • Dummy4 on June 12, 2010, 15:26 GMT

    Why not just get rid of that 50-over thing entirely? Before T20 came along, the 50-over thing was the favourite punching bag of the "purists" and "true" cricket fans, and "genuine" cricketers. How come it suddenly gained a "traditional" status?

  • Dummy4 on June 12, 2010, 10:42 GMT

    Not a bad idea but the problem will be "fatigue" for all-rounders. Imagine a bowler who bats and not-out at end of 20 (or 25) over-mark then he has to bowl (4 or 5 overs) then bat again and then bowl again

  • Anas on June 12, 2010, 10:08 GMT

    This is exactly what I suggested to Greg Chappell and Tony Greg a while ago via one of their CricInfo online talk show. I further suggested a format for mini tests for different levels of test status via which nations could qualify for the larger version of test cricket.

    1. Two 20/25 over innings each side to complete the test in one day 2. Two 45/50 over innings each side to complete the test in two days 3. Two 70/75 over innings each side to complete the test in three days 4. Two 90/100 over innings each side to complete the test in 4+ days

    This will be a very good mechanism to groom national sides and have a grading system for them to qualify to full test status (the 4th suggestion above).

  • Maestro on June 12, 2010, 9:41 GMT

    Arvian, there are more complex things to ponder about this new format than Sehwag or Sachin getting to their centuries. Maybe the second situation where the Indians are 100/4 at 20 overs is more likely to happen.

  • Kalyanaraman on June 11, 2010, 18:56 GMT

    In today's flat pitches, bowlers need something. If they can use the break in concentration between innings to pick up a wicket, that would be really great. However I would hate to see someone defend out the last over before the innings break. Ideal time for the bowling powerplay I would say.

  • David on June 11, 2010, 17:22 GMT

    …/continued 5) Have each split inning phase let bowlers bowl from only one end, and thus create a bit of rough for the spinners to come into the game in the third and fourth phase, and importantly save time with fielders changing every over (only batsmen change ends at end of each over). In this format of the game there is not the same need to keep changing the field every over. 6) 20 overs of powerplays, 10 of which will be the first 10 overs, with the other 10 split into two blocks of five, one taken at the fielding team's discretion, the other at the batting team's discretion. 7) No drinks breaks, just breaks of 10 minutes at the end of each split inning phase and 20 minutes at 'half time' The advantage with this format is that most games will ebb and flow where teams are of similar quality and that one sided games will be concluded much sooner, making them less boring to watch for both players and spectators.

  • David on June 11, 2010, 17:19 GMT

    This great idea for ODIs would virtually eradicate any inequities, in that both sides have to bat under similar conditions e.g. cope with evening dew on the outfield. For this format to work best I recommend the following improvements: 1) structure it 20 overs per side in first phase of the game so that the game under D/L rules can be considered a 'result' game (i.e. 40% of the game having being played). Then have second 'half' played with 30 overs each for the remaining wickets left for both sides. 2) Prepare pitches that encourage an even contest. If the limited-overs game constantly features teams chasing huge targets then there's very little likelihood of a close finish. 3) Five bowlers have to deliver a minimum of five overs each. Apart from that the captain can utilise his bowlers how he sees fit. The more overs available to the better bowlers, the more likely a captain will attack rather than defend. 4) 4 fielders in the circle in the last 5 overs of the innings.

  • Dummy4 on June 11, 2010, 17:10 GMT

    So what, the second innings continues directly from the first? Not like a Test match where it starts again?

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