February 18, 2011

The ODI is dead, long live the ODI

There's absolutely nothing wrong with one-day cricket as the matches in the format in 2010 showed us. It's just a matter of context and giving the bowlers more power
75

By the second half of 1976, Led Zeppelin's time was up. Punks were slashing out - literally and musically - a new future. Zeppelin were loud but overblown, too intricate, too earnestly immersed in the craft and too long; dinosaurs, Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols called them.

Punk was a reaction: short, sharp, quick, everything Led Zeppelin and their type weren't. What's more, punk's breed was loudly and brashly dismissive of what had gone before, as if there was no point to it and that the world had been built only after their arrival and on three chords alone. The world turns and society breathes on these kinds of passings.

A similar air breezes through cricket just now. A new fad has arrived and worked its way into the mainstream. Twenty20 is cricket's new poster boy. Advocates trumpet its virtues and do so at the expense of the old order, the 50-over game, which some boards refuse to play domestically; some have even started cutting its length further. Some want to bastardise it so it isn't the same game at all. Great players, players who have lit up the format, moan about it. It's too long and too predictable and the middle is too flabby. To some there is no longer any point to the longer game, so much so that sometimes you begin to wonder why it ever existed in the first place.

I have enjoyed watching ODIs over this last year or so, even if that sounds uneasily like a confession. There were too many of them - nearly 150 in 2010 alone - but I seem able to remember more ODI moments and games from this period than I have done for some time.

The Asia Cup, ever the byword for bloated pointlessness, had some fine, tense matches. England's series win over Australia in midsummer carried within it electricity and meaning and outstanding cricket. Pakistan's loss to England two months later had all of that, only multiplied a few times over. In between, Bangladesh found time to sneak a thriller over England.

Then, over six days in October and November, in the Middle East and Australia, there came five games that hammered home precisely why ODIs are meant to be. Three, between Pakistan and South Africa, and Australia and Sri Lanka, were decided with only a wicket to spare. Another was settled by two runs. All went to the wire, turned this way and that, and went further.

And quite apart from the significance of Bangladesh swamping New Zealand 4-0, it simply added to the atmosphere that three of those wins were by 10 runs or fewer. Two close games between India and South Africa in January, meanwhile, lit up a beautiful, meaningful five-game series. Who will ever forget that at nearly 40, the ODI produced a first just last year, a double-hundred?

I have no reason to believe I am alone in enjoying these moments. The majority of these matches were watched in sold-out stadiums. TV ratings were healthy. Even in 2009, when the sniping against the 50-over game was at its sharpest, the Australia-England series, and then Australia's subsequent seven-match slug-fest with India, were mostly sold out. TRPs for the latter contest were, on average, five times those for the inaugural Champions League.

It's never wise to give too much credence to what TV and marketing men say, but even a casual glance suggests that the current hand-wringing - to which this piece no doubt contributes - might be a little overdone. Cricket Australia and the ECB have carried out a gazillion consumer researches - are we selling biscuits? - that apparently prove the ODI is dead. Accordingly one of those boards has dumped 50 overs in favour of a 40-over domestic format, and the other has tried to split the format to make it into a Test. Yet in January the two got together to play exactly the same dead, 50-overs-in-one-innings, matches. Seven of them and no matter that it was, for all purposes, a whitewash. The response from Australian players, in fact, has been decidedly mixed to a split format. Beyond some journalists, then, who really even wants the format dead?

What Cricket Australia's research most likely shows is not that ODIs are hated, but something we've always known: that crap contests between mismatched teams, or meaningless ones in a series that has already been decided, are hated. Unsurprisingly the results came soon after Australia had won nine out of 10 ODIs in their last (2009-10) summer against a dysfunctional Pakistan and a clueless West Indies. One game was washed out. It was the kind of viewing designed to push people to reality TV. The original and best tri-series, played every summer in Australia, and provider of so many of the ODI's finest moments, was dumped for this.

This last year or so actually was not a revival of the format so much as a reminder of what is good about it. One of cricket's greatest joys is the many paces the narrative moves at. A half-hour spell of wickets, an hour's burst of runs, two sessions of nothing in particular sandwiching an adrenaline-fuelled one, 15 overs of single-hunting, 10 overs of death bowling and slogs; this is life, of moods within moods.

Like shy teens, cricket takes time to fully express itself. An innings can be about an agenda being set. It can be about reconstruction. It can be about stealth and accumulation. A batsman can defend and attack in one hand, a bowler can seek wickets or stem the flow of runs in one spell. Indeed, one of the peeves of Twenty20 is how it reduces a fast bowler essentially to a means of saving runs; even the slower ball, once a wicket-taking piece of classy deception, is now a stale staple in Twenty20, to stop boundaries being hit.

Fifty overs still provides a broad enough canvas, and an examination prolonged enough of any player, to produce or confirm quality and greatness. It is long enough that, if there is a twist, it is felt that much more. The eighth-wicket stand between Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews that shocked Australia recently, or Abdul Razzaq's heist against South Africa in Abu Dhabi at the same time, are tales that cannot be told in any other format. They are unique in their contribution to the tapestry of the game. Attempts to keep alive the possibility of them recurring cannot so readily be shunted aside.

Not all of it, of course, glitters. There are issues. Led Zeppelin didn't just fade out because of punk; they were combusting internally.

Everyone knows there are too many ODIs played, far too many of which lack much context and meaning. This has been a decade of cricket excess in many ways, though nothing captures it better than 10 years of seven-match ODI contests and the week-long tri-series forgotten quicker than last year's Pop Idol. They make money for broadcasters, of course, but now that Twenty20s serve that purpose as well, can some harmony not be reached? In this light, Ricky Ponting's plea to kill dead-rubber games, as is done in some US sports, is an absolute winner.

ODIs must become more like Tests, as Michael Atherton has argued, in the equality with which bat meets ball. Go easy on the leg-side wides. Allow more bouncers. Don't restrict all bowlers to 10 overs. Bring back one ball at each end. There never was, and there still isn't, a sound reason to prolong the emasculation of bowlers

The ICC, for once, is doing something about it, though in a fashion typical of a body representing nine vastly unequal governing boards. A rolling four-year ODI league is to become part of the Future Tours Program after the 2011 World Cup, at the end of which a league champion will be proclaimed. If it doesn't come with some kind of imposed standardisation, to ensure all sides play each other an equal number of times, home and away, it will be skewed and redundant.

There is also talk of removing the long-mishandled, little-loved Champions Trophy. Instead, by getting rid of Associates, the World Cup from 2015 onwards - still pencilled in as a 50-overs contest incidentally - is trying to become more like what the Champions Trophy should have been. Perhaps the answer is in the 1992 World Cup. Not much other than the rain rule was wrong with it; certainly not the format of all sides playing each other once and the top four going through.

Questions of structural change, meanwhile, are actually questions of perception and taste. To many the middle overs of an ODI are like the dark ages without the violence. To others appeal the changes of pace, the shining of a light on running as a skill. Still, for the ones who just miss the boundaries, the ICC has added the batting Powerplay, and if nothing else this has at least brought the prospect of unpredictability to a phase that is often formulaic. Yet in the struggle to utilise fully the Powerplay (how many players have refused to use it when set, only for it to be called once one batsman has gone and overs are running out anyway?) the basic defensiveness of the modern-day captain and player has also been exposed. It is difficult to argue with Ian Chappell on most issues, but more so on the point that captains themselves must bring more adventure to these periods, as well as to the game itself.

Other matters should be more straightforward. ODIs must become more like Tests, as Michael Atherton has argued, in the equality with which bat meets ball. Go easy on the leg-side wides. Allow more bouncers. Don't restrict all bowlers to 10 overs. Bring back one ball at each end. There never was, and there still isn't, a sound reason to prolong the emasculation of bowlers.

Pitches need to be produced where batsmen have to graft to profit. The best games this last year, and historically, have been where 260 meets 250, not 350 meets 300. Two Australia-South Africa games well illustrate the point: neither the 1999 World Cup semi-final at Edgbaston or the 2006 Wanderers 434 chase will be easily forgotten, but the better game? Easily the former, where bowlers had as much say as batsmen.

It is to the ODI's misfortune that, like Af-Pak, it is hyphenated. An ODI cannot now be assessed without a Twenty20, and the benefit of one must necessarily be to the detriment of the other. In a sense the ODI has always been this way. Before Twenty20, an ODI wasn't a Test.

It has rarely been the format that has been played purely for the sake of playing. It is the format where, other than making money, cricket has gone to test theories and ideas and tinker: cutting the number of overs, colouring kits and changing the colour of the ball, playing at night, exploring new lands and neutral territory, pulling in new countries, and much, much else. Yet this period has reminded this writer at least that an ODI can be enjoyed and experienced purely as an ODI. Why can cricket simply not make peace with its three representations, side by side, unique and varied in the challenges they put to players and the pleasure they bring to viewers?

Led Zeppelin never fully recovered from the onslaught of punk. They sputtered on, changed and diminished. A member died, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant fell out. Now they get together occasionally and sound like a bad cover band of themselves. Punk finished them then, but really, for posterity, it did no such thing.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • h4haseeb on February 19, 2011, 23:48 GMT

    a very well written, thoughtful article, enjoyed every bit of it, and mostly the way you described how some meaningless matches, where there isn't any contest between bat and ball are ruining the image of ODIs, ODIs have their own flavor so as Tests and Twenty20s, these are three different formats and one should not compare them in such a manner so as to harm the essence of the other... in ODIs we can easily see the difference between the good and classie bowlers, when the batsmen are not in a mood to hit unnecessarily, the test of bowler comes into play

  • on February 19, 2011, 17:43 GMT

    Brilliant article Osman. Really the 1992 world cup was the best. Every team played the other team. And most of the games were intresting. Nowadays most of the matches are meaningless for eg who cares about a match between Canada and Ireland.

  • on February 19, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    Great article, as always. Let's hope the right people are reading it.

  • GopesonDopes on February 18, 2011, 20:38 GMT

    Great article Osman, if anything I can only disagree on Led Zeppelin v/s Punk!!!

  • cric_fanatics on February 18, 2011, 19:45 GMT

    if bowlers are empowered as the article suggests then how would a razzak play that sort of innings..it requires a perfectly flat UAE highway..plus some ugly heaves and slogs.....

  • Tiptop32 on February 18, 2011, 19:14 GMT

    If you want to keep ODIs interesting then allow bowlers to bowl upto 15 overs. Allow 3 bouncers per over. Keep power play to 10 overs not 20 overs. All bilateral ODI series should not exceed 3 ODI matches. Relax leg side wide. A batsman should be able to reach the ball on both offside and leg side. Or else after this WC we are going to see empty stadiums for the ODI series. The most important one "All bilateral ODI series should not exceed 3 ODI matches", if implemented vehemently then we can see interesting ODIs.

  • juneatunh on February 18, 2011, 18:20 GMT

    while bowling is an art form that few understand, and takes a long time to master, quite simply, for the larger audience, it is boring. most of the time nothing happens in terms of wickets falling or a genuine edge being taken by wk or slips. in contrast, there is more "action" in batting and a constant thrill which attracts audience, and hence why current rules favor the batsman. its similar to baseball...low scoring pitching games are boring for audience, but when batters hit frequently, the crowd gets into it.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on February 18, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    Bring back Prog Rock and the concept album...

  • Unmesh_cric on February 18, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    Absolutely brilliant article! Probably the best Osman has written so far...kudos

  • on February 18, 2011, 17:31 GMT

    well written article, I think ODI's are here to stay for ever, we just need to limit the max. games played in a series to 5. any thing over that is too much, and obivously Pak.India series needs to revive to keep the spectators involved, and keep the game alive.

  • h4haseeb on February 19, 2011, 23:48 GMT

    a very well written, thoughtful article, enjoyed every bit of it, and mostly the way you described how some meaningless matches, where there isn't any contest between bat and ball are ruining the image of ODIs, ODIs have their own flavor so as Tests and Twenty20s, these are three different formats and one should not compare them in such a manner so as to harm the essence of the other... in ODIs we can easily see the difference between the good and classie bowlers, when the batsmen are not in a mood to hit unnecessarily, the test of bowler comes into play

  • on February 19, 2011, 17:43 GMT

    Brilliant article Osman. Really the 1992 world cup was the best. Every team played the other team. And most of the games were intresting. Nowadays most of the matches are meaningless for eg who cares about a match between Canada and Ireland.

  • on February 19, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    Great article, as always. Let's hope the right people are reading it.

  • GopesonDopes on February 18, 2011, 20:38 GMT

    Great article Osman, if anything I can only disagree on Led Zeppelin v/s Punk!!!

  • cric_fanatics on February 18, 2011, 19:45 GMT

    if bowlers are empowered as the article suggests then how would a razzak play that sort of innings..it requires a perfectly flat UAE highway..plus some ugly heaves and slogs.....

  • Tiptop32 on February 18, 2011, 19:14 GMT

    If you want to keep ODIs interesting then allow bowlers to bowl upto 15 overs. Allow 3 bouncers per over. Keep power play to 10 overs not 20 overs. All bilateral ODI series should not exceed 3 ODI matches. Relax leg side wide. A batsman should be able to reach the ball on both offside and leg side. Or else after this WC we are going to see empty stadiums for the ODI series. The most important one "All bilateral ODI series should not exceed 3 ODI matches", if implemented vehemently then we can see interesting ODIs.

  • juneatunh on February 18, 2011, 18:20 GMT

    while bowling is an art form that few understand, and takes a long time to master, quite simply, for the larger audience, it is boring. most of the time nothing happens in terms of wickets falling or a genuine edge being taken by wk or slips. in contrast, there is more "action" in batting and a constant thrill which attracts audience, and hence why current rules favor the batsman. its similar to baseball...low scoring pitching games are boring for audience, but when batters hit frequently, the crowd gets into it.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on February 18, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    Bring back Prog Rock and the concept album...

  • Unmesh_cric on February 18, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    Absolutely brilliant article! Probably the best Osman has written so far...kudos

  • on February 18, 2011, 17:31 GMT

    well written article, I think ODI's are here to stay for ever, we just need to limit the max. games played in a series to 5. any thing over that is too much, and obivously Pak.India series needs to revive to keep the spectators involved, and keep the game alive.

  • on February 18, 2011, 16:30 GMT

    And when the ODI started, there were doomsayers who said that it would go over like, well, a "Lead Zeppelin", as Keith Moon famously said about the quartet.

    Lovely article, this!

  • on February 18, 2011, 16:24 GMT

    Agree with most but don't agree that WC92 was the best format. Osman probably liked it because it allowed Pakistan to "sneak" in! NZ and Eng I am sure will tend to disagree and call it a really long WC. The best format I liked was the 1999 WC in Eng. Each game had a meaning. India's loss to Zimbabwe came to hurt them and I liked that. Pakistan's loss to Bangladesh didn't sink them and that was good too! In my opinion round robins as well as knock out should be used sparingly. Round robin should be used only towards the beginning and knockout only towards the end. In between there should be a seeded stage like super 6 with carry forward points or reward from first stage round robin.

  • chuck11 on February 18, 2011, 15:50 GMT

    Mythbuster Stealth, doubling the runs scored on a free hit is not enough of an incentive for the batsman to go for a big hit, if they end up losing a wicket. So even if a batsman can get 12 by hitting a 6, but the risk of getting out is still there, he would not go for it. The only time it would make sense is if at the end of an innings when chasing when the batting team needs like 14 in 2 balls or something, but how often would a bowler bowl a no ball at that stage even with the current free hit rule.

  • on February 18, 2011, 15:35 GMT

    I have always wondered why leg byes are allowed. Why should a batting team score runs when their batsmen fail to make contact with the ball with bats? When one can't be given out caught off the leg, why should he be awarded a run for it?

  • kalyanbk on February 18, 2011, 15:25 GMT

    If we allowed bowlers in ODIs to bowl any number of overs, the teams will pack their sides with batsmen and go with less bowlers and we will see the same Murali or Vaas bowling 25 overs each. The other way is to restrict the number of batsmen in a side to 5 and have a mandatory 10 overs from 5 bowlers only. This will mean batsmen have to respect bowlers for the fear of losing wickets and we will have 5 specialist bowlers in a team.

  • blairmul on February 18, 2011, 15:23 GMT

    You may know a lot about cricket, but nothing about Led Zeppelin. They continued to sell out stadiums all over the world right throughout the late '70s, and in 1977 at the height of punk, they drew a crowd of 76,229 in Detroit - a world record at the time. Their only post-punk album In Through the Out Door sold 6 million copies - more than Never Mind the Bollocks, which only went platinum in 1988. They outlasted the punk fad, and continue to be far more popular than any of those bands.

    You would have been better to have picked on a band which actually did struggle after punk, like Yes or ELP.

  • Jonathan_E on February 18, 2011, 14:00 GMT

    For me, one of the best ODIs I ever watched was the decider in the 3-match Eng/Pakistan series in 1987. Flurries of wickets, good batsmen getting bogged down against good bowling, a late slog by Pakistan's tail pushing their score over 200, England getting becalmed in the reply and falling ever further behind the run-rate, two batsmen taking suicidal twos and being run out by spectacular throws from Salim Malik, then *that* stand between DeFreitas and Foster in which Daffy spanked both Imran and Akram into the crowd, only to be bowled with 5 runs required, the last two batsmen sneaking four singles and then, with the scores level, a streaky edge through the slips...

  • on February 18, 2011, 13:41 GMT

    I think that the free hit rule should be reviewed.The no of runs scored on a free hit should be doubled but batsmen should be given out if he caught, bowled etc.

  • Pravski on February 18, 2011, 12:50 GMT

    This is a brilliant piece of writing, one of the reasons Cricinfo is comfortably the best sports website in the world. Loved the Led Zeppelin analogy.

  • Kumar_cricket on February 18, 2011, 12:46 GMT

    Currently ODI rules are heavily favouring Batsmen . We should change some rules for Bowlers.May be allowing coulple of bowlers to bowl 12 overs or 15 overs and allowing two bouncers in an over and also remove 3 rd power play.This will bring some balence between bat and ball....

  • Zahidsaltin on February 18, 2011, 12:44 GMT

    ODIs are fine. It's where a batsman still has a possibility to plan his innings and be aggresive at the same time. For me T20 is totally an other game. Regarding ODI, I had wished that there were som restriction on field through out an innings and not just powerplays but at the same time wickets were more bowler friendly. A new era in cricket has to be started where ICC should be involved in prepairing wickets for international matches. Beauty of the game has to remain a contest between bat and a ball, and should prevail over those who think that only 6s and 4s combined with heavy scoring is the way.

  • on February 18, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    great article........surely 7 match odi series should be banned........also when ashes are 5 match series then why others play 4 match 3 or sometimes 2 match series.....some innovation like using the batting powerplay before the 40 overs should be used........most captains take powerplay in the end ...or after the ball change after 34 overs.....this is not solving the boring middle overs problem.

  • TheDoctor394 on February 18, 2011, 12:23 GMT

    Isn't it funny. :-) One Day matches are now "the longer game". This article, which I mostly agree with, reads like ones I've heard in years gone by, but with Tests in the One Day column, and One Dayers in the 20/20. All of a sudden, ODIs are the traditional games with memorable moments, when they used to be seen by many (including myself - I still do) as the poor cousins to "proper" cricket, Tests Matches.

    Personally, I will always see Tests as the greatest example of cricket, One Dayers as middling, reasonably serious entertainment, and 20/20s as... well... a notch below playing in the backyard with your Uncle Frank from up north.

  • on February 18, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    Nice! Hope Pakistan do something in this worldcup!

  • on February 18, 2011, 10:38 GMT

    Excellent article as usual by Osman. As he more or less notes, Punk, like T20, was over-hyped and ate itself within a few years. To think these days that anyone would rather listen to a Punk bad (even the Clash) than Led Zep is ridiculous.

    Just to pick you up on your Led Zep history, 'a member died' rather understates (to say the least) the importance of John Bonham, widely regarded as the greatest drummer of all time and a key part of Led Zeppelin's sound. It's a mark of their integrity that they quit when he died rather than soldier on with a replacement, as they knew that Bonzo could never be replaced.

  • ab_cricket on February 18, 2011, 10:37 GMT

    I wonder why Cricket Australia has stopped the Tri-Series. Apart from the One day world cup it has the maximum number of memorable games (may be more than the WC). I remember watching it even when the country I support was not a part of it. Its a shame!

  • sarathy_m2 on February 18, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    Also, dont make flat pitches which will make the teams to play all 5 days/100 overs, just for selling ads on TVs. All player's health is affected, bowlers are mentally affected, and audience are bored. Instead of reducing the overs (as i told in earlier comment), good pitches will also make some interesting action.

  • mraam on February 18, 2011, 10:17 GMT

    If you give competitive pitches,that means equal support in the pitch for both bat and ball,then the question of survival of ODIs will not arise

  • wnwn on February 18, 2011, 10:17 GMT

    The icc should ban all cricket boards from arranging 6 or 7 match series between 2 teams. The maximum should be 3 odi matches between 2 teams. There should be more tri series which are much more exciting than contests between 2 teams. Finally bowlers should be allowed to bowl wherever they want as long as it isn't too wide. I've seen many test teams scoring at an odi or even 20/20 rate so why are there all these restrictions on bowlers? If batsmen are good enough they will find the boundary.

  • on February 18, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    Excellent article by Osman.. Icc has been very lazy.They need reform not only themselves but also the member boards.

  • on February 18, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    There is onlyone problem with the way Cricket is managed nowadays.Overkill of odis.Domestic Tournaments could be played in any number of overs,but International matches should be of 50 (AND 20)overs only.When there would be less of odis,ppl will watch them no matter how long they are.Imean I wouldwatch IndVAus match even if it gets over in 9 hours...Otherwise IPL and BIG bash like tournaments are fine...

  • on February 18, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    Excellent article by Osman... ICC hasn't brought any major changes to the ODI format.They have been very lazy.They need new management.

  • Razithetiger on February 18, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    any reason why Abdul razzaq's pictures was removed , his innings was better than malinga and Matthews

  • mamlaaz on February 18, 2011, 9:45 GMT

    For what it's worth... I think Zeppelin's live performances sound just as awesome today as they did so many years ago.

  • sarathy_m2 on February 18, 2011, 9:33 GMT

    Also, reduce the number games played in a year. We've increased number of tests and ODI, which is further added with T20s and IPL. It's too much, this will kill cricket itself and not ODI alone.

  • MrKricket on February 18, 2011, 9:20 GMT

    What is the measure of success? TV ratings? Crowd figures? Both? Or something else? ODIs in Australia were nearly always sold out or close to it. Last season the crowds were well down except Adelaide and Perth but the ratings were excellent - that may reflect the standard of Australian TV in the summer though! Dead rubbers shouldn't be played but if that happened last season then Perth would have missed out on a game.

    The tri-series should come back but without endless prelim games - play each other 3-4 times at most. Then a best of 3 final series or maybe just one game.

    It will live on. T20 will become a shorter version of baseball.

  • sarathy_m2 on February 18, 2011, 9:16 GMT

    Test rules were modified to ODI rules, 60 overs were shortened to 50 overs, White clothes changed to colors. Lets now simplify ODI further, make it 40/35 overs game, but not kill it.

    Because T20 is not consistent and one over in 20 brings down a good team to a bad shape.

  • Zakriazubair on February 18, 2011, 8:45 GMT

    if they can change cricket balls to baseball balls ODIs will become more interesting to watch

  • maddy20 on February 18, 2011, 8:40 GMT

    @Acidfaced Why so pessimistic dude? Remember they said Test Cricket was gonna die a few years ago? The "experts" who predict that ODIs/tests are gonna die soon are like the astronomers who predict a "Near Exctinction event due to asteroid strike" every year just to stay in the news! Its all gonna be OK!

  • on February 18, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    I dont believe T20 is cricket at all. If there is any limited version of the game its ODI that truly reflects the art of cricket.Thanks Osman, keep writing.

  • on February 18, 2011, 8:23 GMT

    A brilliant article by Osman Samiuddin. I really hope the 50-over format of the game stays and doesn't fade away as many are predicting. How this World Cup pans out could go a long way in deciding that. Yes, there should not be any 7- match or 6-match series as dead rubbers kill the contest and also the series leads to the fatigue of the players. and ICC is digging its own grave by excluding associates from the World Cup.

  • aj_space on February 18, 2011, 8:16 GMT

    Very honest, true & meaningfull artical. Long live ODI's.

  • klempie on February 18, 2011, 8:12 GMT

    Please leave ODI's ALONE!

  • NALINWIJ on February 18, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    When your side loses a Test match it Haunts you, When you lose an ODI it is upsetting but losing a T20 is quickly forgotten as it is inconsequential. Test is like a mini series where the drama slowly unfold whereas an ODI is like a feature with drama within a limited period and T20 is a brief segment between commercials.There is enough in 50 over cricket to appreciate the drama completely in one sitting and can be enjoyed globally. The even contest between bat and ball and evenness of competition will be the key to is future as well as admitting associates to the world cup to globalise the game. Great article and the Led Zeppelin analogy is good as people still listen to their music while punk is forgotten.

  • Wep1 on February 18, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    Excellent article, particularly the point about bowlers being restricted to 10 overs when, as Jim Bojee also points out, batsmen are not.

    Why should Watson or Tendulkar be able to bat through an innings and dominate a game when Steyn and Muri need only be waited out?

    It should be as with tests, with no limit on a bowler's overs. While teams could use this to pack a team with batsmen and look for their three top bowlers to deliver all the overs, this would remain a risk; every bowler gets belted some days and teams couldn't afford to have a vulnerable bowler delivering 17 overs. In the end, the teams would remain balanced.

    Talk of improvement should focus, as Osman suggests, on retaining the balance between bat and ball; the fundamental challenge of the game.

  • on February 18, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    Seems that everyone has forgotton that sachin was only the first man to score 200 in an ODI as belinda clark made 224* against the netherlands quite a while ago.

  • zulfikarachi67 on February 18, 2011, 8:05 GMT

    To me all formats are entertaining.The only problem is that at times quantity take precedence over quality.Playing 3 ODI's in series will be much more entertaining for fans and less taxing for players than a nonsense 7 ODI's.Further mismatched rubbers should be avoided.Imagine South Africa playing against Zimbabwe a 7 ODI series.Who wouldn't switch the channel?

  • on February 18, 2011, 7:51 GMT

    Brilliant article. One thing that i am not looking forward to seeing in this World cup is that South Asian pitches are designed for batsmen and spin bowlers. They completely outcast fast bowlers and that might be very disappointing to see.

  • addiemanav on February 18, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    one of the comments said that ppl remember an odi from 10 yrs back,but forget a t20 game very easily..i totally agree with this view..i wud even stretch this point to say why i rate test highly than odi and odi highly than t20..i hav been following the game since march 98,when Oz toured ind..from that season till now,i can recall each and every test match ind has played with a summarized result in a sequential manner..and as far as odis go,i can recall almost 75-85% odis..but when it comes to t20,apart from the t20 07 world cup,i dont remember much of the games played after that..ipl i dont even bother to remember!!it is very important for this cup to be equally good for batsmen and bowlers..and if bowler friendly pitches are more in favour of spinners than faster bowlers,then so be it..it is in the nature of sub-cont tracks to offer spin,and some of the non sub-cont captains should not really criticize the pitches..this is the only way an equal contest will be seen b/w bat and ball!!

  • on February 18, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    Nice article . There is nothing like watching ODI of 90s especially between Pakistan and India with Shoib bowling Tendulkar out on duck then Tendulkar playing a good knock against W's and Shoib in the second match. Silly comparisons between Saeed Anwar and Tendulkar and then Saeed pursuing for retirement in 2003 adter his daughter's death. Ganguly and Tendulkar forming great opening partners. Above all, matches between India and Pakistan in Sharjah.

  • Puru-Wicked on February 18, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    Lovely Article! I read articles by only 2 people on Cricinfo - 1. Ian Chappell and 2. Osman

  • ygkd on February 18, 2011, 7:25 GMT

    Good Heavens! I find myself agreeing with Meety for once, or even twice. If ODIs are to be kept going, we need the four-yearly World Cup to decide a World Championship. Leave the 20 over stuff to a Big Bash, IPL & Champions Trophy format - there's no need for a T20 international World championship that isn't based on domestic teams. I also agree that three-cornered fifty-over contests could again be played in Aust if the games not featuring a home team were held outside the Test venue capital cities. However, I'm not so antagonistic towards the domestic split-innings stuff CricAus is trying. I see that played in juniors and it works quite well. The last thing I'd want though, is to see the second halves of the innings begin with all wickets intact again. Then it is no longer OD cricket, but dual T20.

  • diri on February 18, 2011, 6:26 GMT

    ODI is better than T20!! We still remember ODI's that happened 10 years ago but easily forget a silly T20 that happened last week...but test cricket is still king:)

  • on February 18, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    i dont really care if a match is t20, ODI or test, but, do really care for equality. in that sense why is a bowler limited to X number of overs in T20 or ODI.....if one really wants to be fair if the bowlers are limited then we should limit batsmen too.....and i was a batsman. Unless the playing field is equal the rest is HUMBUG.

  • Susmit on February 18, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    Really good article. I feel that the quadrangulars which were used to be played should be given a try. The asia cup gave us a glimpse of that. It will throw up interesting contests and teams will have to think a bit more. Just imagine a series in India contested by India,Australia,South Africa and SriLanka......that will be some series.....with each match being keenly watched....and more importantly...no dead rubbers.

  • calvin_n on February 18, 2011, 6:17 GMT

    India-Pakistan ODI's itself are enough to keep the ODI's going. :)

  • nzcricket174 on February 18, 2011, 6:01 GMT

    The only T20s I can remember are: McCullum's century v Aus, Hussey's freakishness v Pak and Vijay's insaneness v Rajasthan (IPL). As for ODIs, I can remember them from years ago. Who could forget Chris Pringle's epic maiden over to win the game against Australia? Players such as Abdul Razzaq and Shahid Afridi going insane. I have no memory of any T20 innings by Afridi or Razzaq. I can still remember these innings no matter how long ago they happened. ODI needs to stay. My fondest memory of cricket is New Zealand beating Australia 3-0 in an ODI series. Thank you to anyone who reads this, I would like to hear your thoughts on it too.

  • mehmudah on February 18, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    Osman Samiuddin is one of the most talented cricket writers I read and follow.The two Peters are excellent as well - Roebuck and English plus many I haven't mentioned.

    Osman Samiuddin has been blessed with a fine sense of balance when it comes to writing. It's almost as though his articles were a structure, and he keeps building and embellishing the structure (very aesthetically, if I may add) and finally concludes with a thought that is generally a winning one.

    Osman, keep up the great work and write more often!

  • on February 18, 2011, 5:41 GMT

    Excellent Article. Indeed 50-Over cricket in 2010 was quite memorable and exciting. Sure some of the series could have been done away with, like the Tri-Series in January in Bangladesh and the Tri Series in Sri Lanka involving India and New Zealand. But whenever there was a series involving two top teams, there was wonderful cricket on display.

  • shoaibkhan22 on February 18, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    I think its amazing how you compared it to led zeppelin....long live classic rock and long live one day cricket!!

  • pipsonian on February 18, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    nice article but too long

  • TamilIndian on February 18, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    Osman - brilliant piece as many of yours! Lucky to have writers like you on cricinfo.

  • acidfaced on February 18, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    The article reflects the state of cricket at the moment: muddled. And I do not mean that as a criticism. It just reflects how the average/polished cricket fan is still trying to come to terms with the varied, pointless and not-so-pointless, cricket matches being thrown at him/her. Time will bear testimony to the decisions that are taken by the powers that be and whether they are for the greater common good or to the detriment of the game.

  • on February 18, 2011, 5:11 GMT

    50-50 is here to stay for long long time. Im a huge fan of ODIs!

  • on February 18, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    Excellent article, the one day game is the best form of cricket for the spectator and as you said, 5 to 7 match one-sided series are what is killing 50 over cricket, not the game itself. Reduce the total number played, bring back the tri-series, even throw in an A-team here and there (a la 1980s and early 90s), interspersed with the odd game against lower ranked nations (there will be no trouble getting 10 - 20 thousand spectators in some smaller Australian cities like Newcastle, Darwin, Cairns etc.) and the one day game will be stronger than ever.

  • addiemanav on February 18, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    the one thing that i think can be done to give some power to the bowlers is to increase the quota of overs!!a batsman can bat for 50 overs,but a bowler can only bowl 10!!in a test,a bowler could bowl a maximum of 25 overs in a 50 over innings.this does seem lopsided,and gives a 2.5 times advantage to the batsman already!!when WC started,60 overs were possible with each bowler allowed 12..imagine what a bowler can do if he is given a longer spell of about 12-15 overs in an odi!!this could sort out the problem of 5th bowler as well,and a team cud easily play 7-4 combination with their top bowlers bowling the maximum!!if for example,2 bowlers are allowed max of 13 overs each,that leaves 24 overs shared by either 2 bowlers with max 12 overs each,or 3 bowlers with 8 overs..it will help all the bowlers who hav variety of skills under them to perform greatly & nullify the huge advantge batsmn carry!also i think 3 fielders shud be allowed between keeper and leg umpire to give another edge!!

  • on February 18, 2011, 4:49 GMT

    Long live one day Cricket, I was at the MCG, during Sri Lanka's fightback last nov, what a game, countless memorable games have been produced, like Pak Srl in 99 which ended in a tie thanks to Razzaq, Or the countless nail biters between Pak and Ind. The t20 cant replace epic encounters.

  • bilal_gikian on February 18, 2011, 4:37 GMT

    Brilliant... simply awesome..I could not agree anymore

  • on February 18, 2011, 4:36 GMT

    What we are trying to do to ODIs is called decking the corpse! A dead format is a dead format!

  • brisCricFan on February 18, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    It is to the detriment of cricket and of the viewer that we as spectators have lost the desire to see a contest of bat and ball... it is now more than ever a contest of bat and bat and the variety of the bowlers a sideline to the fairytale story line of a 400+ run chase. We have gone from fifteen overs of fielding restrictions to 20 overs albeit 10 mandated at the beginning of the innings and the other 2 sets of powerplays at the discretion of the captains. We penalise bowlers for bowling balls that make it hard to score off ( the bumper ) and are overly harsh on legside bowling ... which to any decent batsman should be an easy scoring opportunity... instead we are meant to have bowlers bowl mechanically in the slot and watch the ball zip to all parts of the stadium and we rejoice in the spectacle... I am a barbarian at heart... love the slaughter ... but would like to know that my mismatched gladiator is at the very least provided with a weapon to draw some blood... long live ODI's.

  • on February 18, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    simply awsom insight.. i would say let the game should be allowed to flow, what one can do to make it better is to make it competitive rather than pushing to make it entertaining ... entertainment will come automatically with competitive matches ... i dont see other game's rules and formats being so much twisted and tarnished for commercialism as in cricket ... Just like riley, sprints, marathorn are a different test of characteristics of a runner/player so is test, odi and t20 .... and we should live with it and enjoy

    Muhammad Umair, Pakistan

  • Meety on February 18, 2011, 4:01 GMT

    Good article, although I don't know why you use the word "hate" to describe attitudes towards " that crap contests between mismatched teams, or meaningless ones in a series that has already been decided". I think bemused or ambivalent is more accurate. What I do hate is the 45 over split innings format Cric Oz has come up with. If split innings IS THE WAY OF THE FUTURE - then I'd rather see sides able to start a gain with no wickets down. In other sports like Rugby League & Union - the rules are forever tinkered with, for varying degrees of success. I agree with what I think you were saying (that there is nothing that bad with the format itself - just the quantity). Also I loved the old 3-sided ODI comps of the past. I know that the non- Oz games were not easy to promote, but they should of played them regionally (away from the massive stadiums). I still beleive that ODIs are the best format to decide a World Champion - I think T20 should be Champions League - no W/Cup!

  • on February 18, 2011, 3:43 GMT

    one day cricket is better then t20

  • angry_nanny on February 18, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    Great article, many good points made...most importantly ODIs are Memorable, and give a broad enough canvas for the Epic, such as Tendulkar's 200, and the 1999 world cup semi-final. A quick 30 with 3 sixes in a 20/20 is forgotten by next tuesday, and while I am a fan of 20/20 for pure entertainment value, it is ODIs that linger in the memory for longer, and as we all know, memories are precious things.

  • D_royal11 on February 18, 2011, 3:29 GMT

    A rather new format is future of odi cricket-- 25 overs 2 innings per team :)

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • D_royal11 on February 18, 2011, 3:29 GMT

    A rather new format is future of odi cricket-- 25 overs 2 innings per team :)

  • angry_nanny on February 18, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    Great article, many good points made...most importantly ODIs are Memorable, and give a broad enough canvas for the Epic, such as Tendulkar's 200, and the 1999 world cup semi-final. A quick 30 with 3 sixes in a 20/20 is forgotten by next tuesday, and while I am a fan of 20/20 for pure entertainment value, it is ODIs that linger in the memory for longer, and as we all know, memories are precious things.

  • on February 18, 2011, 3:43 GMT

    one day cricket is better then t20

  • Meety on February 18, 2011, 4:01 GMT

    Good article, although I don't know why you use the word "hate" to describe attitudes towards " that crap contests between mismatched teams, or meaningless ones in a series that has already been decided". I think bemused or ambivalent is more accurate. What I do hate is the 45 over split innings format Cric Oz has come up with. If split innings IS THE WAY OF THE FUTURE - then I'd rather see sides able to start a gain with no wickets down. In other sports like Rugby League & Union - the rules are forever tinkered with, for varying degrees of success. I agree with what I think you were saying (that there is nothing that bad with the format itself - just the quantity). Also I loved the old 3-sided ODI comps of the past. I know that the non- Oz games were not easy to promote, but they should of played them regionally (away from the massive stadiums). I still beleive that ODIs are the best format to decide a World Champion - I think T20 should be Champions League - no W/Cup!

  • on February 18, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    simply awsom insight.. i would say let the game should be allowed to flow, what one can do to make it better is to make it competitive rather than pushing to make it entertaining ... entertainment will come automatically with competitive matches ... i dont see other game's rules and formats being so much twisted and tarnished for commercialism as in cricket ... Just like riley, sprints, marathorn are a different test of characteristics of a runner/player so is test, odi and t20 .... and we should live with it and enjoy

    Muhammad Umair, Pakistan

  • brisCricFan on February 18, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    It is to the detriment of cricket and of the viewer that we as spectators have lost the desire to see a contest of bat and ball... it is now more than ever a contest of bat and bat and the variety of the bowlers a sideline to the fairytale story line of a 400+ run chase. We have gone from fifteen overs of fielding restrictions to 20 overs albeit 10 mandated at the beginning of the innings and the other 2 sets of powerplays at the discretion of the captains. We penalise bowlers for bowling balls that make it hard to score off ( the bumper ) and are overly harsh on legside bowling ... which to any decent batsman should be an easy scoring opportunity... instead we are meant to have bowlers bowl mechanically in the slot and watch the ball zip to all parts of the stadium and we rejoice in the spectacle... I am a barbarian at heart... love the slaughter ... but would like to know that my mismatched gladiator is at the very least provided with a weapon to draw some blood... long live ODI's.

  • on February 18, 2011, 4:36 GMT

    What we are trying to do to ODIs is called decking the corpse! A dead format is a dead format!

  • bilal_gikian on February 18, 2011, 4:37 GMT

    Brilliant... simply awesome..I could not agree anymore

  • on February 18, 2011, 4:49 GMT

    Long live one day Cricket, I was at the MCG, during Sri Lanka's fightback last nov, what a game, countless memorable games have been produced, like Pak Srl in 99 which ended in a tie thanks to Razzaq, Or the countless nail biters between Pak and Ind. The t20 cant replace epic encounters.

  • addiemanav on February 18, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    the one thing that i think can be done to give some power to the bowlers is to increase the quota of overs!!a batsman can bat for 50 overs,but a bowler can only bowl 10!!in a test,a bowler could bowl a maximum of 25 overs in a 50 over innings.this does seem lopsided,and gives a 2.5 times advantage to the batsman already!!when WC started,60 overs were possible with each bowler allowed 12..imagine what a bowler can do if he is given a longer spell of about 12-15 overs in an odi!!this could sort out the problem of 5th bowler as well,and a team cud easily play 7-4 combination with their top bowlers bowling the maximum!!if for example,2 bowlers are allowed max of 13 overs each,that leaves 24 overs shared by either 2 bowlers with max 12 overs each,or 3 bowlers with 8 overs..it will help all the bowlers who hav variety of skills under them to perform greatly & nullify the huge advantge batsmn carry!also i think 3 fielders shud be allowed between keeper and leg umpire to give another edge!!