September 21, 2009

A fortnight of Walkmans

The Champions Trophy has hardly been what it's cracked up to be, but now, with ODIs in terminal decline, it might show there's hope for the format yet
41

On Tuesday begins the first major ICC-hosted 50-over tournament since the 2007 World Cup (which Jonathan Agnew once memorably noted might still be running in the Caribbean somewhere). In those two-and-a-half years, a big change has come. There have been two wildly successful World Twenty20s, two loud, glittering IPLs, and many ICLs. There have been many ODIs too, though precisely none springs to mind.

The run-up to this Champions Trophy has felt like the run-up to a funeral - there have been so many obituarists of the 50-over format. Less morbidly it is like going to the great school nerd's party. It is a party, but really…

Lately the balance has been redressed a little with men belatedly leaping to the defence of the format. But at the very least, it must be conceded the next fortnight will feel like a switch back to Walkmans. Even Walkmans, however, often have fine retro appeal.

If this turns out to be the last Champions Trophy ever, the surprise will not be at its demise as much as at the tournament having survived six editions. It's difficult to remember a time when it was a good idea, apart from perhaps when it was first mooted: it would provide the ICC with a handy bit of revenue between World Cups, and by having the first two staged in Bangladesh (not a Test nation then) and Kenya, also spread word of the game further.

But deterioration settled in soon. In 2002 the tournament didn't even produce a final verdict. In 2006 it came too soon before a World Cup, the big brother. All the while, the number of teams - and useless matches - was increasing: nine in 1998-99 became 12 by 2004. There were fewer teams in 2006, but there was a redundant, forgotten qualifying phase before the tournament proper. It has never been about the best of the best, as it was meant to be.

Prospects appear brighter this time, however, and the ICC knows it. They've finally got the format right: short, sharp, and between the best teams in the world, even if England and West Indies appear to be this season's associate makeweights. It isn't the ICC's fault that England are so poor at ODIs, and the situation with West Indies is a delicate one.

As compensation Australia's dominance has eroded and the gap between everyone else is much narrower than rankings show. Those two teams apart, none of the other six, were they to win it, would be a surprise. Very few matches will have nothing at stake and very few will be easy to call.

The location is ideal, for rare is the occasion when a sporting event in South Africa turns out to be a dud. The 2010 football World Cup, understandably, is a bigger deal and one veteran journalist says many people are wondering whether the Champions Trophy isn't in Twenty20 vision. But crowds, as always, are expected to be good, helped by the tournament's restriction to two venues, Johannesburg and Centurion. South Africa's fate and history at such events, predictably, is on many minds.

If they get the pitches right, as they did with the IPL earlier in the year, then an even better spectacle can be imagined. And with less celebration, the tournament also marks the end of the ICL battle, with the return of men such as Mohammad Yousuf, Shane Bond, Daryl Tuffey, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and others. They were cricket's loss, and it can be no bad thing to have them back.

It is foolish and misplaced to pin so much on the tournament because it overlooks why ODIs are in such a funk. There are too many of them, most of them played on ghastly, unfair surfaces, all melting into each other, into one, indistinguishable, colourful but soulless mess

****

Supposedly much rests on this tournament, to some no less than the very future of ODIs. The ICC believes the Champions Trophy will prove that the format has a space in the modern cricket calendar. It is foolish and misplaced to pin so much on this, if only because one poor tournament should not consign an entire format to death and because it overlooks why ODIs are in such a funk.

There are too many of them, most of them played on ghastly, unfair surfaces, all melting into each other, into one, indistinguishable, colourful but soulless mess. Why should there ever be a seven-ODI series, that too after such a fraught, intense Test series? Why shoe-horn into any available week, a quickie tri-series? Like this tournament, more matches should have more meaning; the ICC is gently nudging members to remember to keep a balance among the three formats in the next FTP. Many of cricket's problems would be resolved were the ICC not a nurdler and nudger but an enforcer.

Tinkering with regulations, rather than the format itself, might be the way. The batting Powerplay has pushed captains to break from patterned, formulaic thinking. Lifting the 10-over cap on bowlers might mean that the middle overs, that much-detested period of jousting and sparring, liven up. Force better pitches to be prepared. None of this is new of course, but repetition does not make it any less attractive or sound.

In any case are we sure that fans mind ODIs much the way they are? Judging by the healthy crowds who turned up to watch six kinds of crap beaten out of England, or parts of the Sri Lankan ménage a trios, maybe not.

Remembering recent ODIs may be difficult, but recalling empty stands at an ODI is more so. And the modern kings of cricket, the broadcast honchos, maintain that in Pakistan and India ODIs pull as many eyeballs as they did before Twenty20s came around. The Champions Trophy shouldn't only confirm that ODIs have a place. If we're fortunate it might pave a way for them to thrive once again.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • wiiCricket on September 24, 2009, 19:39 GMT

    Lets do this: 50-over matches to be played with 2 innings for both teams. First team bats for 25 overs and then the other comes in to bat and play 25, if they chase the score in first innings, they go on and build lead. Second team comes in to bat and chase the target. This way loosing or winning toss will have lesser importance b/c losing toss may not always mean you are chasing always. To make it more interesting, if the team coming in to bat second can choose to continue to play their next 25 overs if they chase the first 25 over target in lesser overs and may want to continue.

  • HLANGL on September 23, 2009, 8:38 GMT

    I'd prefer 50 over ODIs over 20-20s any day. To me, it provides more balance. In tests, batmen's capability to attacking strokeplay is not tested, you'd find quite a dozon of players in history of test cricket who had accumulated thousands of runs mainly based on occupying the crease for longer duration. Surely this abaility to concentrate in a longer duration is itself a capablility, but this longer 5 day tests provided a larger chance for the players who played the game merely for stats thereby leading the game to become so much boring. On the other hand, this new 20-20 format doesn't test the ability to occupy the crease at all. A team has 10 wickets to throw away within 120 deliveries to collect as many as runs possible. The lower middles order wouldn't get much chances for batting at all. A slogging of 20 ball 30 would have been ideal in this format, doesn't matter how runs came.In this context, 50 overs ODIs provide the ideal balance. To me, this is the best format.

  • Chrishan on September 23, 2009, 4:06 GMT

    With regard to the-anti-mule's question: 1. 99% of the time ODIs will provide us with a winner and a loser, unless there is rain or a tie. It gives you a chance to enjoy one day of cricket as opposed to five days of a Test. 2. Yes T20s gives us the same result, but would you prefer to see a batsman scoring 30-40 runs rather than a century. I wouldn't. Take yesterdays match for example, Dilshan and Sangakkara put on a 150 run partnership at a rate of 6.5 rpo. The mere skill and concentration that took to achieve this feat was incredible. Hence, if you are scoring this quickly in ODIs why play T20s. If you "retire" ODIs then you would have to retire stats such as centuries, 4-fors, 5-fors and a batsman's average would be meaningless as long as his strike-rate is high. Yes T20 is entertaining, but does it reflect the true potential of a player, no it doesn't.

  • borninthetimeofSRT on September 22, 2009, 22:03 GMT

    In my suggestion all 12 nations in the current ODI ranking should earn future test matches by playing in the ODI format. Test matches should be the prize of having done better than others in the ODIs. Only the top 6 should play test matches while the bottom half works on improving its rankings. That way, there will be a lot of interest in both formats of the game. Bilateral test tours should not exceed 3 test matches, while a Test Championship for the top 6 ODI ranked teams [from the previous year] can be a biennial event full of glitz and glamor as we happen to see. This will enable cricket governing bodies to free up the calender and generate more interest on a global level. There is just no point of playing 5 test matches for the sake of a century old tradition. I believe a series can be won in 3 tests, and if not then its nearly impossible to come back and win in 5. ICC should look into standardizing bilateral tours, be it Ashes or Border-Gavaskar or others.

  • borninthetimeofSRT on September 22, 2009, 22:01 GMT

    what's the difference between the Champion's Trophy and World Cup when the objective of both tournaments is to find the best ODI team in the world? How does inclusion on non-inclusion of minnows like Bangladesh, Kenya, UAE, Ireland and Zimbabwe really make any difference? What is ICC thinking?

    Not the ODI format, but the way ODI calender is set up is an utter failure. There is no point in Aussies playing and thrashing England 6-1 and comeback to Champion's Trophy to lose to Poms in the finals - who knows? Would that make England a better team than Australia? Or if India play Aussies in the final of CT to decide the better team of the two, why would they play another 7 in India again right after the CT? ODIs look much better the way they are, and not make it an elongated T20. Soon, we will then be talking about "Death and Life of T20s." Essentially, to look better everyone is trying to restructure the bones and the anatomy and not change the outfit.

  • the-anti-mule on September 22, 2009, 17:56 GMT

    lets see if this helps- Ask yourself these two questions: 1. what do ODIs offer that Tests don't? 2. for the answers to the question 1 does T20 do it better than ODIs?

  • CricketPissek on September 22, 2009, 16:46 GMT

    i completely agree with 'Chrishan.' I think can definitely be a 3 course meal. Test cricket being the main course, of course. The ICC will do well to limit T20s to a maximum of 2 per tour. But somebody PLEASE put an end to these inane money spinning 6-7 match ODI series. The world T20 is a superb tournament and should be used for associate nations to compete with the big boys without being embarassed. I think they've got it right with having only 8 teams for the C.T. and give perhaps the BEST associate team the chance to play in the world cup (perhaps fight against the 8-10 rank teams for a final place in the "Super Eights" for the WC? Leaving the top 7 countries only the S8 matches to play?) I've grown up watching 50 over matches, it gives the same intensity as T20 but with the consolidation and time management skills of a good test match. Only cricket has this luxary. Don't kill it!

  • lucyferr on September 22, 2009, 11:01 GMT

    I hope the tournament does point the way ahead - to a wonderful, sunny, happy future unpolluted by ODIs. Who wants to watch those annoying middle overs anyway? Being a fan of bowlers and wickets and catches, I much prefer T20s. Sure, there are more sixes, but that's just a byproduct.

  • lucyferr on September 22, 2009, 10:13 GMT

    I do hope South Africans do the right thing and not bother turning up to watch this dead format - the faster ODIs are confined to history books, the better. Alas, South Africans would watch chingololo wrestling if the words 'international tournament' were involved.

  • aadnan_2009 on September 22, 2009, 9:26 GMT

    I agree that ODI should now reduced , & ICC should introduce a twenty 20 Test i.e. 2 innings of per team , there should no limit on T20 matches, but ODI should be Limited , ICC should eliminate ODI champions Trophy & should introduced Test Champions Trophy every 4 years, on the same format as for ICC associates Intercontinental Cup, I think Top six teams can easly compete for Test championship, ICC should also made Future tour pro-gramme more realistic , Now some countries plying more creckit than other Like Australia- England are playing about 14 games ( 5 Test , 7 ODI & 2 T20 ) on the other hand countries Like Pakistan , New Zealand , Bangladesh are getting less games .

  • wiiCricket on September 24, 2009, 19:39 GMT

    Lets do this: 50-over matches to be played with 2 innings for both teams. First team bats for 25 overs and then the other comes in to bat and play 25, if they chase the score in first innings, they go on and build lead. Second team comes in to bat and chase the target. This way loosing or winning toss will have lesser importance b/c losing toss may not always mean you are chasing always. To make it more interesting, if the team coming in to bat second can choose to continue to play their next 25 overs if they chase the first 25 over target in lesser overs and may want to continue.

  • HLANGL on September 23, 2009, 8:38 GMT

    I'd prefer 50 over ODIs over 20-20s any day. To me, it provides more balance. In tests, batmen's capability to attacking strokeplay is not tested, you'd find quite a dozon of players in history of test cricket who had accumulated thousands of runs mainly based on occupying the crease for longer duration. Surely this abaility to concentrate in a longer duration is itself a capablility, but this longer 5 day tests provided a larger chance for the players who played the game merely for stats thereby leading the game to become so much boring. On the other hand, this new 20-20 format doesn't test the ability to occupy the crease at all. A team has 10 wickets to throw away within 120 deliveries to collect as many as runs possible. The lower middles order wouldn't get much chances for batting at all. A slogging of 20 ball 30 would have been ideal in this format, doesn't matter how runs came.In this context, 50 overs ODIs provide the ideal balance. To me, this is the best format.

  • Chrishan on September 23, 2009, 4:06 GMT

    With regard to the-anti-mule's question: 1. 99% of the time ODIs will provide us with a winner and a loser, unless there is rain or a tie. It gives you a chance to enjoy one day of cricket as opposed to five days of a Test. 2. Yes T20s gives us the same result, but would you prefer to see a batsman scoring 30-40 runs rather than a century. I wouldn't. Take yesterdays match for example, Dilshan and Sangakkara put on a 150 run partnership at a rate of 6.5 rpo. The mere skill and concentration that took to achieve this feat was incredible. Hence, if you are scoring this quickly in ODIs why play T20s. If you "retire" ODIs then you would have to retire stats such as centuries, 4-fors, 5-fors and a batsman's average would be meaningless as long as his strike-rate is high. Yes T20 is entertaining, but does it reflect the true potential of a player, no it doesn't.

  • borninthetimeofSRT on September 22, 2009, 22:03 GMT

    In my suggestion all 12 nations in the current ODI ranking should earn future test matches by playing in the ODI format. Test matches should be the prize of having done better than others in the ODIs. Only the top 6 should play test matches while the bottom half works on improving its rankings. That way, there will be a lot of interest in both formats of the game. Bilateral test tours should not exceed 3 test matches, while a Test Championship for the top 6 ODI ranked teams [from the previous year] can be a biennial event full of glitz and glamor as we happen to see. This will enable cricket governing bodies to free up the calender and generate more interest on a global level. There is just no point of playing 5 test matches for the sake of a century old tradition. I believe a series can be won in 3 tests, and if not then its nearly impossible to come back and win in 5. ICC should look into standardizing bilateral tours, be it Ashes or Border-Gavaskar or others.

  • borninthetimeofSRT on September 22, 2009, 22:01 GMT

    what's the difference between the Champion's Trophy and World Cup when the objective of both tournaments is to find the best ODI team in the world? How does inclusion on non-inclusion of minnows like Bangladesh, Kenya, UAE, Ireland and Zimbabwe really make any difference? What is ICC thinking?

    Not the ODI format, but the way ODI calender is set up is an utter failure. There is no point in Aussies playing and thrashing England 6-1 and comeback to Champion's Trophy to lose to Poms in the finals - who knows? Would that make England a better team than Australia? Or if India play Aussies in the final of CT to decide the better team of the two, why would they play another 7 in India again right after the CT? ODIs look much better the way they are, and not make it an elongated T20. Soon, we will then be talking about "Death and Life of T20s." Essentially, to look better everyone is trying to restructure the bones and the anatomy and not change the outfit.

  • the-anti-mule on September 22, 2009, 17:56 GMT

    lets see if this helps- Ask yourself these two questions: 1. what do ODIs offer that Tests don't? 2. for the answers to the question 1 does T20 do it better than ODIs?

  • CricketPissek on September 22, 2009, 16:46 GMT

    i completely agree with 'Chrishan.' I think can definitely be a 3 course meal. Test cricket being the main course, of course. The ICC will do well to limit T20s to a maximum of 2 per tour. But somebody PLEASE put an end to these inane money spinning 6-7 match ODI series. The world T20 is a superb tournament and should be used for associate nations to compete with the big boys without being embarassed. I think they've got it right with having only 8 teams for the C.T. and give perhaps the BEST associate team the chance to play in the world cup (perhaps fight against the 8-10 rank teams for a final place in the "Super Eights" for the WC? Leaving the top 7 countries only the S8 matches to play?) I've grown up watching 50 over matches, it gives the same intensity as T20 but with the consolidation and time management skills of a good test match. Only cricket has this luxary. Don't kill it!

  • lucyferr on September 22, 2009, 11:01 GMT

    I hope the tournament does point the way ahead - to a wonderful, sunny, happy future unpolluted by ODIs. Who wants to watch those annoying middle overs anyway? Being a fan of bowlers and wickets and catches, I much prefer T20s. Sure, there are more sixes, but that's just a byproduct.

  • lucyferr on September 22, 2009, 10:13 GMT

    I do hope South Africans do the right thing and not bother turning up to watch this dead format - the faster ODIs are confined to history books, the better. Alas, South Africans would watch chingololo wrestling if the words 'international tournament' were involved.

  • aadnan_2009 on September 22, 2009, 9:26 GMT

    I agree that ODI should now reduced , & ICC should introduce a twenty 20 Test i.e. 2 innings of per team , there should no limit on T20 matches, but ODI should be Limited , ICC should eliminate ODI champions Trophy & should introduced Test Champions Trophy every 4 years, on the same format as for ICC associates Intercontinental Cup, I think Top six teams can easly compete for Test championship, ICC should also made Future tour pro-gramme more realistic , Now some countries plying more creckit than other Like Australia- England are playing about 14 games ( 5 Test , 7 ODI & 2 T20 ) on the other hand countries Like Pakistan , New Zealand , Bangladesh are getting less games .

  • malepas on September 22, 2009, 8:59 GMT

    Good article and a BIG NO to so called self serving "Experts" advocating to curtail the ODI's, if you want to see the curtailed version, go and see t20, 50 ODI's are one of the unique way of showcasing a bowlers,batsmans,fielders ability,his technique,power and agility all in one in just one day and most of the teams are quite equal to produce tense thrilling ends. If you want to make them more thrilling then make good wickets and sit back and enjoy the richness of this game,I think all three formats has its place and should stay as they are, SO HANDS OFF FROM ODI'S.

  • SagirParkar on September 22, 2009, 8:36 GMT

    I am in favour of the ODIs staying. There are many of us who like the format as it gives a better chance at a contest. I hold nothing against the T20s as they are fantastic for fun and thrills, but cricket is a lot different than any other sport. It takes time for the contest to evolve, strategies to be implemented and executed. With T20 there is hardly time to do that. Another case in point for the ODIs is that they are like a bridge between the other two formats of the game and players can demonstrate their skills and adaptability towards the longer version. Cricket doesn't need shorter formats for people to enjoy it; it needs interesting matches and even contests. Lately the batsmen friendly pitches and high scoring have made ODIs dull as its all slam-bang action. The bowlers barely have a chance and I do not like it. Besides marquee events should be well spaced in order to avoid clutter. ICC can have the WC, Champions trophy and T20 WC on a rotational basis every year.

  • avssrs on September 22, 2009, 2:50 GMT

    I agree with the-anti-mule. Time for ODI's to go. All they stand for right now is bigger $ for sponsors due to a longer playing period.

    "What cricket *IS* today, is only because of the 50 over ODI's."

    @params7, I grew up with ODI's too and loved them till a few years ago. But to survive and grow, cricket - like anything else - must evolve and adapt. The argument that ODI's must be continued simply because cricket is what it is today because of ODI's is weak. T20's are have proven ability to provide excitement for the audience and revenue for the sponsors. ODI's must now be culled immediately and without sentimentality.

    That said, the immediate issue before us is not whether ODI's should stay. It is to ensure that balance between ball and bat prevails. The best matches - Tests, ODI's, T20's - are those that are close (even when they're low scoring). If administrators continue to brainlessly favour batsmen, all forms of cricket are doomed.

  • faforce on September 22, 2009, 2:21 GMT

    The "pundits" need to stop telling us that we are ready to retire ODI's. We love the game (we, the majority) in the today's Supreme format. We love the Tests too. Twenty20 is "fun" cricket but if there are moves to tamer too much with ODI's or Tests, it will have devastating effect on the game's following.

    Twenty20 hype is mostly due to IPL's money. So much money has been spent on Twenty20 cricket, that it can't afford to be just another local format.

    All the readers who think that this talk about ODI's is being brought upon on a little too fast, take your stand and let them know that we love ODI's.

    In the end Twenty20 is good for minnows but leave the Tests, and ODI's unchanged for the big boys.

    I'd like to be able to hear from the next generation how Imran Khan's, or Bradman's records will be broken by cricketer's of their generation.

  • Chrishan on September 22, 2009, 1:53 GMT

    I disagree with the-anti-mule. After watching cricket for 30 years how can you say that only a few ODIs provided a balance between ball and bat? T20 is rubbish, it doesn't rely on team effort, one man can change the outcome of the match whether it be with bat or ball. This is not the case with ODIs, when a batting side loses wickets early the new batsman can't afford to slog like in T20s and if he can grind it out and consoilidate to get the team to a good score then that shows his skill, rather than mindless slogging. T20s should be considered a "warm-up" to an ODI series and should not intend to replace ODIs. People who support T20 probably support countries like Bangladesh who could finaly achieve some victories in this form of cricket. But lets be honest, Test and ODIs do seperate the men from the boys!

  • Dhushan on September 22, 2009, 0:49 GMT

    Great article Osman. I'm glad that you write pro for ODI's. ODI's should stay! Test matches will always be the pinnacle of cricket but ODI's are the reason why so many people know about cricket around the world. The Cricket World Cup, the most prestigious cricketing tournament in the history of the game is in this format. ODI's have been played for the past 35+ years & we should NOT change it. I like how you have said that tinkering with the regulations rather than with the format itself might be the way. I believe so too. The World Cup in West Indies was indeed very long but that was not a mistake of the format of the game. Don't penalise the format for the mistakes of the organisers. Let us all remember & think about this article again in a fortnight, because I believe that no matter who wins this upcoming tournament, cricket lovers all over the world are in for a great treat of some fabulous ODI cricket.

  • Anneeq on September 21, 2009, 21:50 GMT

    50 over cricket has to go its quite simple. Yes it created good memories but in over 40 years theres bound to be good memories!! twenty20 contrary to people's claims NARROWs the gap between bat and ball, the bowlers have more chance of getting wickets and have to be at the highest standard the whole match. The highlightof 2009 WC was Umar Gul's yorkers and the slower bouncers etc. To stop these fluky slogs, the grounds have to bigger simple as and the pitch has to offer a lot more to the bowlers. People say they cant remember a good twenty20, how about England v Holland 2009? Pakistan v India 2007 final?

    Champions Trophy takes the attention away from whats supposed to be the ultimate which is the World Cup, nobody has any memories of it except that west indies won it in 2004. ODI's these days seem to have no structure, theyr just played at will! I mean a 7 match series that was dead ages ago, and now a useless tournament to follow it......

  • nezz on September 21, 2009, 21:33 GMT

    All forgot the birthplace of this tournament 1998-99, Dhaka. I remember there was full house in every matches. You say the top 8 teams are playing to beter competitiveness ? Does this current west-indian line up deserve to be there to play where Bangladesh,Ireland and Zimbabwe could also play.Bangladesh won the series in west-indies.

    There should have been a playoff between the 8/9th team to qualify for the cup.I guess if Bangladesh where there some more excitement could have happened .This west indies team is bound to fail.

  • MMHS on September 21, 2009, 19:38 GMT

    Cricket is being promoted in the scale of slogging rater than quality & competitiveness. Many T20 matches R boring too (4 over or 35 run gap is an ODI bonus point equivalent) but the media highlights on No. of 4s & 6s. Why always we R looking for more excitement by distorting the basic principle & balance (It's like taking drugs for extra fun)? Till 90s I enjoyed many ODIs, with quite simple format on sporting wickets. ODIs in AUS & SAF R always close & exciting as wickets there always offer something to bowlers, remains throughout the match mostly same (It's tougher for batsmen partly in both innings, balancing out the 50/50 overs) & toss matters hardly T20 started recently & bowlers R learning negative tactics. To maintain higher slogging rate soon ICC will start to imbalance the game even more (50M Boundary, more PP, no ball over waste, short run-up's to facilitate charging down, forced quota of half-volleys etc.) & we'll have to look for some new format (Or more drug abuse)

  • MMHS on September 21, 2009, 19:36 GMT

    Challenge 4 ODI is from the quality of game & competitiveness. Growing commercial requirements of slogged boundaries & high scores, the condition/format of ODI ran into extremely batsmen bias resulting most of the matches being decided within 1 innings (Or even @ toss, as most ODI pitches starts best for batting. Preset target of 300+ leads teams start slogging & if clicks, 2nd team to chase with few hopes. If few early wickets fell, it becomes a 40 over boring chase). Analysts during pitch reports, justify barren grassless wickets to avoid handicap for teams batting first, but while praising flat belters, carefully avoid the consequences of chasing high scores in gradually detiorating conditions, which under light is near impossible Nail biters R rare 2days &mostly on low scoring matches (On pitches with some assistance to bowlers). For ICC's globalization joke, most matches todays R uneven contest (In 80s, take out WI & SRI either end almost equal 5 teams, hardly any soft match).

  • the-anti-mule on September 21, 2009, 18:49 GMT

    ODIs should die. I grew up with them. Loved them but now they are stale. I do not understand the assumption that ODIs are somehow superior and provide balance between bat and ball. In all my 30 years I remember only a few ODIs that provided such a balance. T20, contrary to public opinion, can provide that balance because the bowler has a higher chance of taking a wicket. The improvements suggested for ODIs will doubly amplify T20s too. 1. improved pitches- the second edition of IPL in SA was proof enough. 2. remove meaningless ODIs- in a few years if a lot of T20s are played then it will become boring too. So, yes we need more meaningful matches. 3. allow bowlers more overs - will improve balance between bat and bowl in T20s too.

    the point is T20s can solve all the problems- balance between bat and ball, entertainment, profits, spread the game to other countries.

    ODIs are like ambassador cars. they were good but they are now dead superseded by superiors products.

  • SameerK on September 21, 2009, 17:29 GMT

    i agree with this guy params7.

    ODIs are an amazing feature of cricket.

    its these sort of articles that are killing ODIs. why do people who write articles have an anti-odi stance?

    most people still regard odis as a wonderful format of the game. it wont be going away unless you kill the whole generation that grew up watching it.

    50/50 is the most balanced form of the game.

    improving pitches in odis would work to help it and the quality of cricket will improve.

    50/50 cricket is more competetive these days than 20/20 trust me you guys will find out soon why i say that as the rankings fluctuate.

  • just_Test_lover on September 21, 2009, 16:47 GMT

    I am sad to see media destroy the only true format of cricket. Both test and ODI is what cricket is about! Seeing the greats score 100's. Records will be pointless and players will just slog. Who'll bowl in T20's in Aus if the know spin only happens late.

    Lets bring back those tri series but with quality sides. Eng, Sa & Nz or Aus etc. I believe ICC should govern all tours infuture so no tour is too long and include 3 tests, 5 ODI's and rotate the series so all test playing teams play against each other in sequence. Aus only made number 1 for so long is by setting up long tours against lessor apponents and short tours with stronger opponents. Or played weaker opponents regularly.

    Also when a team is beat in tests you don't want to play 5 tests if you gonna lose kills the following of that tour. 3 - 0 is better than 5 - 0.

    T20's great season breaker to warm up in thats all. Should just be left as a spectical. I'll pay double a T20 ticket for a quality Test!!

  • BoomBoomAdnan on September 21, 2009, 16:09 GMT

    The only thing that needs to be done to ODI is make it less complicated. Too many powerplays, field restrictions, bowling restrictions. If they let 50 over game play like test matches with no fielding restrictions, and without any limits on how many overs a bowler can bowl than ODI will be inetresting and will be evenly matched between bat and ball. With bolower being allowed to bowl more than 10 overs it wil be a great competion between bat and ball. ODI are getting very predictable because of limitiations to the fielding sides.

  • Naren on September 21, 2009, 15:56 GMT

    I don't agree with lifting the 10 over limit for bowlers. It will be boring to watch Murali bowl the 25 overs (For sure if this rule was implemented 5 yrs ago) from one end.Or teams will start picking 9 batsman and 2 bowlers, who knows. I welcome the two 25-over innings (innings split into two halves - still only 10 wickets). Other than that they should leave it as it is.

  • Params7 on September 21, 2009, 15:17 GMT

    Wait..what's with all this sudden surge of "death of 50 over ODI" articles? What cricket *IS* today, is only because of the 50 over ODI's. This is the format young spectators today in cricket grew up watching. The only thing "killing" ODI cricket are articles like this one. You can't "kill" ODI Cricket..because its the only most mainstream form of cricket, you'd have a better chance to kill 20 Over games and hope that fans will eventually forget about it but eventually everybody knows that 20-20 is all about batting where Tests is all about bowling - its the 50-50 that bring both in an equal balance. Do not temper with it. Its perfect the way it is. Improve the teams, venues, pitches, media and hype instead.

    Though keeping the World Cups/Champions Trophies between only the best Test nations is something that needs to be enforced. No offense but I don't think teams like Afghanistan, Scotland and Antarctica need to be in a "World Cup" for a sport they are just barely efficient in.

  • CricketingStargazer on September 21, 2009, 14:48 GMT

    How short memories are! Over the last 3 seasons England have won ODI series against: South Africa (4-0); Sri Lanka, India and Australia. And the matches against Australia this summer were played to full houses even though England were losing.

    However, no one felt that beating India in a ODI series was any compensation for losing the Test series. And beating Australia in an ODI series so memorable that I can't even remember its name, was no compensation for losing the Tests 5-0.

    Limited overs cricket is losing its appeal in England, full stop. There was a time when the competitions were money-spinners played to packed houses. Now not even the FP Final is a guaranteed sell-out. In how many countries is the ICC able to count with packed grounds for Tests and ODIs? Not many! But I can assure you that I found the penultimate round of County Championship action far more compulsive listening than an endless series of one-sided ODIs. It's only natural and the ODI format is tiiiiiiiiired!

  • MartinAmber on September 21, 2009, 13:07 GMT

    It is heartening to read that others also regard the demise of ODIs as yet another media exaggeration. I tell you what, in six years I can't name a single T20 match that got me excited. But the World Cup semi-final between Australia and South Africa in 1999 is still one of the greatest games in cricket history. I also have a fondness for the 2006 run-fest between the same sides that SA won by 1 wicket; Hayden scoring about 180 and Australia still losing to NZ; Bevan and Bichel winning a World Cup match for Australia with a ninth-wicket stand against England; England having the same misfortune heaped upon them by Bradshaw and Browne in the CT final 18 months later; Lee taking the last 4 wickets against England when they needed about 20 to win in 2003; Kaif winning a match for India at Lord's by 2 wickets... But for heaven's sake, just stop playing 7-match series and make 5 the limit.

  • AdityaMookerjee on September 21, 2009, 12:13 GMT

    There have been many competitive One Day Internationals in the past. What ails One day Cricket, is that after a certain number of overs, the spectator thinks they know who the winner will be. Perhaps, T20 cricket has given this opinion to the spectator, about One Day Cricket. I believe, the laying of a batting pitch, which favors bowlers, may rectify matters.

  • StaalBurgher on September 21, 2009, 11:46 GMT

    The hype about the demise of ODI has been purely media inspired. Don't know why, but yes perhaps it has to do with a dominant english media machine getting tired of being pummelled. I will agree that they need play fewer one dayers. I like the idea of taking away the over limit, but would that not over power a spin bowler like Murali, Warne (I know he has retired - but there will be other high quality spinners in the future) etc who can probably bowl a third of the overs? It would however be nice to get rid of the dibbly-dobbler, part time, slow arm bowlers. You should see 4-5 specialist bowlers ploughing through all the overs and if it is a spinning track a specialist spinner.

  • V.GOMES on September 21, 2009, 11:37 GMT

    Its not the 50 over cricket that needs to be revamped, it's the 50 over ODI tours that needs to be monitored closely to save the 50 over game (1) ICC coin keeps falling heads over 80% of the time. This coin needs to be changes. (2) No manipulation tours: Eg. Teams like India cannot keep touring cash strapped countries like Sri Lanka and West Indies and keep requesting day/night games. They know very well that being the visitor's, they will be calling the toss with a coin that falls heads 80% of the time and playing on pitches that the team winning the toss wins over 80% of the time. Does anyone wonder how Dhoni got to call toss in the final of the Compaq cup, yes it was all negotiated between BCCI and SL cricket prior to the tour. Only then was India taking part in the cup & only if India was taking part in the cup was HP sponsoring the cup. This kind of business deals are ruining cricket and manipulating the ICC ranking system. Arjuna was fired cause he didn't allow this to happen.

  • Cricket_Writer on September 21, 2009, 11:22 GMT

    I believe that people who are incessantly promoting the idea of 50 over cricket demise have really short memories. These people are perhaps oblivious of the fact that what Cricket is today, 50 over format has played a pivotal role in it. Most of world cups played in the past have been extremely good for cricket in terms of quality, interest and finance with the exception of the last world cup played in Caribbean. It flopped due to a lengthy schedule and absence of some quality pitches rather than anything to do with 50 over format. So the time is to take measures that could help maintain the Quality Norms i.e. Good Pitch: supportive to both batting and bowling.

  • ejsiddiqui on September 21, 2009, 9:44 GMT

    I am not in a total agreement with you Osman. ODI format is still a great format. Pakistan's warm-up matches were not broadcasted but I could not kept myself away from having an eye on ball to ball comentary on cricinfo.

    Pakistan Vs Westindies match in Dubai few months back is still in my memory. ODI cricket still has its own value. But with the advent of T20 cricket, strategies of the game have been changed, 300 is no more a secure target. And players are realizing that 50 overs are a lot of overs, So they should be planned well.

  • JimLaker on September 21, 2009, 7:30 GMT

    I think people are overlooking the success the 50 over format has had over the years to build cricket into the brand it is today. My other concern with shorter formats is that things inherent to cricket are lost. In 50 over games batsmen can get 50 or hundred all the way down to about no 7. In 20 or 40 over cricket the innings of Ponting and Tendulkar in the last weeks will have been as good, but nobody raises their bat on 75.

  • Saim93 on September 21, 2009, 7:20 GMT

    I think its time people stop talking about the demise of ODI's, one thing should happen it should be the limitation of T20's...just limit it to IPL and T20 world cup. ODI's and Test cricket are the formats which can test a player and a teams ebdurance and abilities while T20 is a luck game made for fun.So i think everyone should carry on with the ODI format and keep T20's in the dark for most of the time.

  • ngdaddikar on September 21, 2009, 6:52 GMT

    Is ODI really dying or it is mere speculation? The stands in stadiums still seem to be quite full. The "value" of every match is not much anyway given the number of matches that take place. T20 is new that's all; once it becomes a "regular" feature it's value will decline too. I think the 'law of marginal utility' is at work. Just reduce the cricket... the value in tests/odis/t20s will increase automatically. I was hungry and have just had a great buffet and no matter how people dress it up, the buffet at night won't seem that attractive.

  • Thiru.Cumaran on September 21, 2009, 6:42 GMT

    Come'on Osman, don't tell me that you didn't watch yesterday's ODI between Australia and England? Anyhowz, I did because there was history in the makin'! (Sadly, it didn't happen)

    This is coming from a Sri Lankan, who actually supported Australia! ;P

  • nuru76 on September 21, 2009, 6:29 GMT

    Can't understand why everybody from every corner is up to criticize ODI !!! It was really just the English Media and commentators who knew before the start of odi series against australia that they had no chance in this format , really they were the ones who started this sort of a mini crusade against ODI simply because they dont know how to play odi's yet !how on earth did they manage to pull everyone with them is just unbelievable!!!Yeah i understand the WC2007 did not do any favours.OK.Blame it on WICB...look at them now!ODI had given cricket new meaning and life.Very important to remember this.

  • WesternLion on September 21, 2009, 5:49 GMT

    Much as I agree that "less is more" might make ODIs more interesting, I do disagree that there have been precisely no memorable 50-over games since the 2007 World Cup. The game between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, for example, where Bangladesh took five SL wickets for six runs (and then Murali won with a 20-run over) comes to mind. I suppose my point is that while it's easy to point at the England-Australia 7 ODI series as what's wrong, it's also easy to forget that there are diamonds in the rough.

  • cric_freak88 on September 21, 2009, 5:49 GMT

    really well written Mr. Osman !

    i quite agree with your observation about ODI's ( that people don't have any one day to remember )

    even i somewhat have many of the IPL matches in my memory , but not many ODI's !

    i hope champions trophy turns out to be a great success and helps REVIVE ODI cricket.

  • RHARKI on September 21, 2009, 5:17 GMT

    Very truly pointed out that South Africa has produced some of the best tournaments in cricket - WC2003, T20 WC and a fantastic IPL. The ODI game will surely reinvent itself in the next few days and with a proactive ICC, it may just come back to the same glory as the 1990-early 2000s (Sharjah, CB and Natwest).

    Also, it would be foolish to write-off any team apart from the second rung WI side. One bad day will cost a lot in this short and crisp format. Lets hope this Champions Trophy is not the last ... and cricinfo continues to provide us with deeply insightful and though provoking cricket commentary and analysis as always :)

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • RHARKI on September 21, 2009, 5:17 GMT

    Very truly pointed out that South Africa has produced some of the best tournaments in cricket - WC2003, T20 WC and a fantastic IPL. The ODI game will surely reinvent itself in the next few days and with a proactive ICC, it may just come back to the same glory as the 1990-early 2000s (Sharjah, CB and Natwest).

    Also, it would be foolish to write-off any team apart from the second rung WI side. One bad day will cost a lot in this short and crisp format. Lets hope this Champions Trophy is not the last ... and cricinfo continues to provide us with deeply insightful and though provoking cricket commentary and analysis as always :)

  • cric_freak88 on September 21, 2009, 5:49 GMT

    really well written Mr. Osman !

    i quite agree with your observation about ODI's ( that people don't have any one day to remember )

    even i somewhat have many of the IPL matches in my memory , but not many ODI's !

    i hope champions trophy turns out to be a great success and helps REVIVE ODI cricket.

  • WesternLion on September 21, 2009, 5:49 GMT

    Much as I agree that "less is more" might make ODIs more interesting, I do disagree that there have been precisely no memorable 50-over games since the 2007 World Cup. The game between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, for example, where Bangladesh took five SL wickets for six runs (and then Murali won with a 20-run over) comes to mind. I suppose my point is that while it's easy to point at the England-Australia 7 ODI series as what's wrong, it's also easy to forget that there are diamonds in the rough.

  • nuru76 on September 21, 2009, 6:29 GMT

    Can't understand why everybody from every corner is up to criticize ODI !!! It was really just the English Media and commentators who knew before the start of odi series against australia that they had no chance in this format , really they were the ones who started this sort of a mini crusade against ODI simply because they dont know how to play odi's yet !how on earth did they manage to pull everyone with them is just unbelievable!!!Yeah i understand the WC2007 did not do any favours.OK.Blame it on WICB...look at them now!ODI had given cricket new meaning and life.Very important to remember this.

  • Thiru.Cumaran on September 21, 2009, 6:42 GMT

    Come'on Osman, don't tell me that you didn't watch yesterday's ODI between Australia and England? Anyhowz, I did because there was history in the makin'! (Sadly, it didn't happen)

    This is coming from a Sri Lankan, who actually supported Australia! ;P

  • ngdaddikar on September 21, 2009, 6:52 GMT

    Is ODI really dying or it is mere speculation? The stands in stadiums still seem to be quite full. The "value" of every match is not much anyway given the number of matches that take place. T20 is new that's all; once it becomes a "regular" feature it's value will decline too. I think the 'law of marginal utility' is at work. Just reduce the cricket... the value in tests/odis/t20s will increase automatically. I was hungry and have just had a great buffet and no matter how people dress it up, the buffet at night won't seem that attractive.

  • Saim93 on September 21, 2009, 7:20 GMT

    I think its time people stop talking about the demise of ODI's, one thing should happen it should be the limitation of T20's...just limit it to IPL and T20 world cup. ODI's and Test cricket are the formats which can test a player and a teams ebdurance and abilities while T20 is a luck game made for fun.So i think everyone should carry on with the ODI format and keep T20's in the dark for most of the time.

  • JimLaker on September 21, 2009, 7:30 GMT

    I think people are overlooking the success the 50 over format has had over the years to build cricket into the brand it is today. My other concern with shorter formats is that things inherent to cricket are lost. In 50 over games batsmen can get 50 or hundred all the way down to about no 7. In 20 or 40 over cricket the innings of Ponting and Tendulkar in the last weeks will have been as good, but nobody raises their bat on 75.

  • ejsiddiqui on September 21, 2009, 9:44 GMT

    I am not in a total agreement with you Osman. ODI format is still a great format. Pakistan's warm-up matches were not broadcasted but I could not kept myself away from having an eye on ball to ball comentary on cricinfo.

    Pakistan Vs Westindies match in Dubai few months back is still in my memory. ODI cricket still has its own value. But with the advent of T20 cricket, strategies of the game have been changed, 300 is no more a secure target. And players are realizing that 50 overs are a lot of overs, So they should be planned well.

  • Cricket_Writer on September 21, 2009, 11:22 GMT

    I believe that people who are incessantly promoting the idea of 50 over cricket demise have really short memories. These people are perhaps oblivious of the fact that what Cricket is today, 50 over format has played a pivotal role in it. Most of world cups played in the past have been extremely good for cricket in terms of quality, interest and finance with the exception of the last world cup played in Caribbean. It flopped due to a lengthy schedule and absence of some quality pitches rather than anything to do with 50 over format. So the time is to take measures that could help maintain the Quality Norms i.e. Good Pitch: supportive to both batting and bowling.