June 13, 2013

Life in the 50-overs dog yet

The calendar can, and ought to, have room for championships in all three of cricket's international formats
46

I like 50-over cricket, always have. Going back, there is an admission here to preferring 55 overs per team, and 60 as it was long ago, but those formats are lost in the mist of time. Watching the Champions Trophy from afar - not addicted but at various moments quite riveted - It is fun to hear the score for the first time and some days not even to know what the game is before turning on the radio or television.

Some of the batting is amazing - amazingly bad in Pakistan's case and amazingly good in the case of India. The bats help. You cannot begin to believe how fabulous the bats are until you use one: balanced - almost weightless in a way - yet full-bodied with an attractive narrow grain and gently arcing bow that sits encouragingly beneath the eye. With one of these in your hand, most things appear possible and many are achieved.

The 50-over game has a bad press. Dated and dull are the main complaints. This is because the middle overs have become predictable and nail-biting finishes are few and far between. But an important part of cricket is patience. Cricket is slow, you just have to wait a while between the thrills. Some of us prefer Holbein's brushstrokes to Roy Lichtenstein's ben-day dots. It is who we are.

And I'm not sure about the close-finish thing. Do people buy tickets for a close finish? To a degree perhaps, but more likely they buy for the event, for the privilege of the occasion. They pay for the chance to see heroes and to allow the varied attractions of cricket to touch their senses: the elegance and charm, for example, that sit so precariously alongside the power and brutality. Cricket is neither always fair nor kind but it has generosity in its gift. Essentially cricket is a celebration of much that we appreciate in our lives, and over time this celebration washes over us. A problem faced by T20 is that the wash stays pretty cool; during a 50-over game, the body has time to be warmed through.

The Champions Trophy already looks a success. Crowds are good, though that is typical of England, where the grounds are small and the population diverse. The eight best teams in the world are on view and the hosts are in with a shout, which keeps the media alive. The commentators are holding their nerve until the crescendo moments, when all hell lets loose, which is as it should be: ebb and flow, like the game itself.

National identity, as against the tribalism that invades football, is evident enough at each match, but the tensions are different of course. For some, cricket represents justification; for others, only bragging rights. England's crunching victory over Australia has prompted a viral trail of mockery that has moved Australians to talk of nothing more than a flesh wound. In their hearts they must be worried sick because their team appeared feeble. Victory over New Zealand yesterday might have lit the inner flame. As it is, a single point and a disciplinary issue have not improved the situation. "Intensity" has become a sporting cliché but it is useful when trying to explain what Australia were missing against England. The younger players looked terrified, which is a complete 360 from a decade ago. How Michael Clarke deals with the psychological trauma is a fascination in itself.

All that really matters is the quality of the players and the balance between bat and ball. Keep a check on these, insure against overkill, and bring some focus to the global carvanserai

This is the last Champions Trophy, which is a pity. The official reason for closing it down is to make way for a World Test Championship, but it is the biennial World T20 tournament that has jammed the diary. How many times must observers bleat about less and more? The power brokers should stop thinking about returns and concentrate on the product. Cricket is pliable. Its many formats and styles are a strength. Rather than diminish, they should plan to expand by offering the fans more choices, more to love. No one style of the game is more valuable than other, though Test cricket is the essential point of reference.

There is a perfectly acceptable annual rotation of a World Test Championship, the Champions Trophy, T20 World Cup, and the World Cup proper (over 50 overs per side) with some deregulation from the present Powerplay compromise. In general, a few sacrifices would have to be made, which is no bad thing given there is so much cricket that means so little to so many people.

All that really matters is the quality of the players and the balance between bat and ball. Keep a check on these, insure against overkill, and bring some focus to the global carvanserai. It cannot be beyond the means of man to orchestrate a better schedule for all. One that takes into account the coats of many colours worn by followers of the game. Perhaps the recent fallout in India will lead to contrition and, with time, a sense of responsibility for the game at large, not just the one played at home.

Meantime rejoice in MS Dhoni, who leads the team playing the brightest and best cricket of the tournament so far. On stage the other night, he was asked about the pressure of playing for India. He answered with this: "When we win a warm-up match, it is just a warm-up match. When we lose a warm-up match, all of India wants to know why!"

He is about the best one-day cricketer you think of. To recall a few, Sachin Tendulkar, Adam Gilchrist, Viv Richards, Ricky Ponting, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Joel Garner were not bad either. Come to think of it, bat them in that order with Dhoni positioned either side of Imran, depending on the where the game is heading. So now we need a fast bowler and a spinner... hmmm. Curtly Ambrose or Glenn McGrath would do nicely, as would one of Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan. A heck of team, though I can already hear you looking to do better!

Mark Nicholas, the former Hampshire captain, presents the cricket on Channel 9 in Australia and Channel 5 in the UK

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sweetspot on June 13, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    The Test Championship can be a one off affair, at best. Already the ranking system takes care of deciding who the "best" team at the moment is. Conditions vary, teams go up and down in form - all sorts of passages weave into the poem called Test cricket. The arguments are never conclusive and therein lies the beauty of it. With a finite championship to decide who is Test champion, we lose out on the romance of a lot of variables, and it also diminishes the weight of the ranking system.

    The 50 over game is great at the moment, with the new rules and restrictions, and a thinking captain like MS Dhoni has ways of working it to his advantage already. My one crib would be with having only 2 referrals in the DRS system. Why not have as many as we need? It will ensure a few more punctuations without farces like "strategic time out"s! Cricket is beginning to recruit new audiences, thanks to T20. Let's not lose them with unimaginative decisions in the other formats!

  • ac_Indian on June 13, 2013, 4:55 GMT

    Thank you Mark, for advocating 50 over cricket, which is my favorite format. If you look at it, ODIs can be viewed as a wonderful middle ground between Tests and T20s (even though it came way before T20). The idea of 4 major tournaments in a cycle of 4 years is wonderful, however, I am concerned about the logistical feasibility of a test championship, lets see how it turns out to be.

  • Igthorn on June 14, 2013, 14:50 GMT

    Id like to suggest something a little more radical - a sort of Davis Cup of cricket, if you will.

    Over the course of three one week (or so) sessions per year (or two) national teams could play all three formats in a knockout based affair. Single test, 2 ODI's and 2 20 over games,

    Teams earn homeground advantage - all the test playing nations play at the same time and perhaps zones allow the minor teams to earn thier way into the elite class.

  • on June 14, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    Actually Pakistan pace bowling (fast, accurate and stump2stump with lots of bounce from the tall guy (irfan?)) from a battery of pacemen can really test Indian batting.

    That will be contest. Hope it doesn't rain on Saturday.

    OK

  • Burmanolo on June 14, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    Jayasuriya Tendulkar Richards Kallis Miandad Dhoni ** Akram Mcgrath Muralitharan Warne Ambrose

  • santoshjohnsamuel on June 14, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    Mark Nicholas as always refreshing writing. And the current Indian side: Very good, but they have not been tested against sustained quality bowling; the flip side: there is no side in the 50-50 format that has the necessary bowling resources to test this Indian side.

  • SRAM20 on June 13, 2013, 19:03 GMT

    Feels refreshing and great to hear someone say that India is playing the brightest and the best cricket of the tournament so far. How awesome does that feel for an Indian fan? If India go on to win this tournament, the selectors need to be given a huge pat on their backs. They backed a young team that is inexperienced, but a team that is picked keeping the future (2015 WC) in mind. Hope India can go on to compete as fiercely and as hard as they have done so far.

  • on June 13, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    Nice article.I have got an opinion on how we can carry on with all three formats. We have got three formats and four major tournaments(50 - over WC, T20 championship, Champions Trophy and Test Championship ). Rather than having two t20 cups in four years, it is possible to have one major tournament each year and must repeat after every four years. As of t20, we must have a special window of 2 months when no international tournament/series must be played for domestic cups like ipl,bbl etc. Also if we have too much of t20 cricket then it is not far away that people will start losing interest in t20's.

  • on June 13, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    why are we scrapping the champions trophy? why not truly have a "champions" trophy? i mean lets say the champions of odi, test, t20 world cups, play against each other in the champions trophy. that means as per current status it should be india, south africa and west indies who play against each other in a triangular series of test odis and t20s in a little more than 1 month. so it will be 3 tests, 3 odis and 3 t20s overall. the 9 matches will have points and the team with the maximum points becomes the champion of champions by winning the champions trophy (for tests winning outright can have more points, otherwise it can be decided via first inings lead)! another twist can be given to this by making it a quarangular champions trophy by adding a challenger country who has the best and most consistent icc ranking across all 3 formats apart from the 3 champions! then it will be 6 tests, 6 odis and 6 t20s across max 2 months! what do u say guys? - Annz N Dipz

  • Unmesh_cric on June 13, 2013, 15:39 GMT

    That picture in the article is pretty amusing. I guess all the fielders are watching the hot spot replay on the big screen and pointing out the tiny white dot on Rohit Sharma's bat. After the ODI World Cup, Champions Trophy is another ODI tournament that fans look forward to. Why scrap it? It doesn't make sense. If you want to scrap something, scrap all those meaningless bilateral ODI series. As an Indian fan, I am already sick of watching India-Sri Lanka bilateral ODI series. I don't know how ICC can not comprehend this simple thing. I am guessing all this is about economics. May be playing all those bilateral series is a profitable venture. But what about us, the cricket fan? Doesn't our preference count for anything? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that fans would prefer an 8-team tournament rather than a bilateral ODI series. And then they say ODI cricket is dying..go figure!

  • sweetspot on June 13, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    The Test Championship can be a one off affair, at best. Already the ranking system takes care of deciding who the "best" team at the moment is. Conditions vary, teams go up and down in form - all sorts of passages weave into the poem called Test cricket. The arguments are never conclusive and therein lies the beauty of it. With a finite championship to decide who is Test champion, we lose out on the romance of a lot of variables, and it also diminishes the weight of the ranking system.

    The 50 over game is great at the moment, with the new rules and restrictions, and a thinking captain like MS Dhoni has ways of working it to his advantage already. My one crib would be with having only 2 referrals in the DRS system. Why not have as many as we need? It will ensure a few more punctuations without farces like "strategic time out"s! Cricket is beginning to recruit new audiences, thanks to T20. Let's not lose them with unimaginative decisions in the other formats!

  • ac_Indian on June 13, 2013, 4:55 GMT

    Thank you Mark, for advocating 50 over cricket, which is my favorite format. If you look at it, ODIs can be viewed as a wonderful middle ground between Tests and T20s (even though it came way before T20). The idea of 4 major tournaments in a cycle of 4 years is wonderful, however, I am concerned about the logistical feasibility of a test championship, lets see how it turns out to be.

  • Igthorn on June 14, 2013, 14:50 GMT

    Id like to suggest something a little more radical - a sort of Davis Cup of cricket, if you will.

    Over the course of three one week (or so) sessions per year (or two) national teams could play all three formats in a knockout based affair. Single test, 2 ODI's and 2 20 over games,

    Teams earn homeground advantage - all the test playing nations play at the same time and perhaps zones allow the minor teams to earn thier way into the elite class.

  • on June 14, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    Actually Pakistan pace bowling (fast, accurate and stump2stump with lots of bounce from the tall guy (irfan?)) from a battery of pacemen can really test Indian batting.

    That will be contest. Hope it doesn't rain on Saturday.

    OK

  • Burmanolo on June 14, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    Jayasuriya Tendulkar Richards Kallis Miandad Dhoni ** Akram Mcgrath Muralitharan Warne Ambrose

  • santoshjohnsamuel on June 14, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    Mark Nicholas as always refreshing writing. And the current Indian side: Very good, but they have not been tested against sustained quality bowling; the flip side: there is no side in the 50-50 format that has the necessary bowling resources to test this Indian side.

  • SRAM20 on June 13, 2013, 19:03 GMT

    Feels refreshing and great to hear someone say that India is playing the brightest and the best cricket of the tournament so far. How awesome does that feel for an Indian fan? If India go on to win this tournament, the selectors need to be given a huge pat on their backs. They backed a young team that is inexperienced, but a team that is picked keeping the future (2015 WC) in mind. Hope India can go on to compete as fiercely and as hard as they have done so far.

  • on June 13, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    Nice article.I have got an opinion on how we can carry on with all three formats. We have got three formats and four major tournaments(50 - over WC, T20 championship, Champions Trophy and Test Championship ). Rather than having two t20 cups in four years, it is possible to have one major tournament each year and must repeat after every four years. As of t20, we must have a special window of 2 months when no international tournament/series must be played for domestic cups like ipl,bbl etc. Also if we have too much of t20 cricket then it is not far away that people will start losing interest in t20's.

  • on June 13, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    why are we scrapping the champions trophy? why not truly have a "champions" trophy? i mean lets say the champions of odi, test, t20 world cups, play against each other in the champions trophy. that means as per current status it should be india, south africa and west indies who play against each other in a triangular series of test odis and t20s in a little more than 1 month. so it will be 3 tests, 3 odis and 3 t20s overall. the 9 matches will have points and the team with the maximum points becomes the champion of champions by winning the champions trophy (for tests winning outright can have more points, otherwise it can be decided via first inings lead)! another twist can be given to this by making it a quarangular champions trophy by adding a challenger country who has the best and most consistent icc ranking across all 3 formats apart from the 3 champions! then it will be 6 tests, 6 odis and 6 t20s across max 2 months! what do u say guys? - Annz N Dipz

  • Unmesh_cric on June 13, 2013, 15:39 GMT

    That picture in the article is pretty amusing. I guess all the fielders are watching the hot spot replay on the big screen and pointing out the tiny white dot on Rohit Sharma's bat. After the ODI World Cup, Champions Trophy is another ODI tournament that fans look forward to. Why scrap it? It doesn't make sense. If you want to scrap something, scrap all those meaningless bilateral ODI series. As an Indian fan, I am already sick of watching India-Sri Lanka bilateral ODI series. I don't know how ICC can not comprehend this simple thing. I am guessing all this is about economics. May be playing all those bilateral series is a profitable venture. But what about us, the cricket fan? Doesn't our preference count for anything? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that fans would prefer an 8-team tournament rather than a bilateral ODI series. And then they say ODI cricket is dying..go figure!

  • nishanth84_11 on June 13, 2013, 14:37 GMT

    Always very refreshing thoughts from Mark.,my suggestions would be to continue with champions trophy and remove 5 or 7 match bilateral one day series,instead one day cricket should be played at CT and world cup and also if required 1 or 2 one days following a test series., And please stop forming new rules every year, icc needs to fix the rules for odis once for all for atleast next 10 years.,

  • on June 13, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    The problem with ODI and cricket is, people waste too much time on arguing impact of one format on the other rather than thinking of cricket as a unified game of 3 formats.

    Also a lot of meaningless series and still there is no repair work in this sense. After CT, first West Indies - Sri Lanka - India tri-series followed by a Zimbabwe - Sri Lanka - India tri-series which makes no sense.

    Champions Trophy has taken the dip cause it has never been managed properly as a no.2 event - even before T20s stole limelight. The 2002, 2004 were badly scheduled and the huge gap between 2006 & 2009 events made its survival harder.

  • Najam007 on June 13, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    To make results count and add meanings to games, we can have 3 championships: Test for top 8 teams(spread over 4 years), 50 over ODI for Test teams & associate nations(over 4 years) and T20 for Test teams & associate nations(spread over 2 years), on home & away basis. Wins in every format will add points to the teams, culminating in final knockout rounds for each format, spread over one month each. All the irrelevant bilateral series will go away....We might lose on Ashes or Ind-Pak rivalries (which many will oppose), but all results will add to something.....Ranking process can continue simultaneously.

  • Romanticstud on June 13, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    I reckon the 50 over format should change another way. Instead of having a 50 over innings per side you have a 25 over innings for the first side, then a 25 over innings for the second. If the side is not all out the first side continue with the second part of their innings and post the total. The second side continue with their innings to chase the remaining runs. The bowling powerplay will be at 1-5 overs and then a 5 over batting powerplay in the 8-18 over period of each 25 over innings. If a batsman is out in the first 25 overs he may not bat in the 2nd 25 overs and bowling will be a minimum of 4 bowlers where 2 can bowl up 15 overs each spread over the two innings and the other 2 or more have a limit of 10 overs, the 2 bowlers must be nominated at the start who will bowl extra overs. 2 batsmen will be nominated to bat during the power play overs. They will start batting during the batting power play and resume at the next power play unless to many wickets have fallen.

  • venkatesh018 on June 13, 2013, 13:58 GMT

    ODIs are good if they are Short Multi-nation tournaments like this Champions Trophy with a max. of 8 nations. But bilateral Odi Series should have a maximum of ONLY 3 MATCHES.

  • armchairjohnny on June 13, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    I would love to see these two teams pitted against eachother:

    Team 1: Mark Waugh, Jayasuriya, Kallis, Ponting, Symonds, Gilchrist (WK), Imran Khan (C), Shaun Pollock, Wasim Akram, Saqlain Mushtaq, Joel Garner,

    Team 2: Tendulkar, Anwar, De Silva, Viv Richards, Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni(WK), Lance Klusener, Shane Warne (C), Brett Lee, Waqar Younis, McGrath

  • Rhygwyn on June 13, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    It is ludicrous that one sport has 3 formats that the same players play. There is a reason why different players play 7s rugby, League and Union. If a ODI squad is only good when your top Test players are available it means it doesn't warrant being a separate code.

    Keep T20 because it is at least generating income to keep top Test players in the game. Drop ODIs. TV networks wake up! You are the ones keeping ODIs alive.

  • shillingsworth on June 13, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    A weak defence of the 50 over format which tellingly glosses over the issue of the middle overs. People justifiably object to the predictability of play in this phase. Blaming them for lacking patience rather misses the point.

    'The calendar can, and ought to, have room for championships in all three of cricket's international formats'. Agreed but why does the 50 over format merit two competitions and 50% of the proposed annual rotation?

  • S_Biswas on June 13, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    Let us have the two All Time Best ODI teams........My suggestions...... Team 1 -- Jayasuriya, Sachin, Richards (c), Dean Jones, Miandad, Michael Bevan, Dhoni (wk), Akram, Garner, Mcgrath, Muralitharan... Team 2 -- Greenidge, Gilchrist (wk), Ponting, Lara, Inzamam, Yuvraj, Kapil (c), Botham, Ambrose, Warne and Malinga.

  • thirst on June 13, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    I like your articles and thinking on the game. I personally appreciate any form of the game and think the only thing I would say is we need to include timeless tests somewhere. If at the end of the ashes we have a 1-1 scenario with a draw meaning England keep the urn I think we have a problem. The test at the Oval shouldbe timeless. Then you would have some serious numbers of people tuning in..

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on June 13, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    How about this for a best xi: Watson, Tendlkar, Pietersen, Richards, de Villiers, Dhoni, Mike Hussey, Swann, Pietersen, Steyn and Garner

    either Hussey or Dhoni at no.6 depending on the situation

  • Trebla on June 13, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    @justanothercricketfan In the 50 over game I suppose you could argue for Gilly as one of the best openers. But where did you get the idea he can bowl? I don't think I have ever seen him bowl before that one ball in his final IPl game. I believe the best Test team should also be the best One day team (and probably the best 20/20). With that in mind I would only pick one keeper.....but who? Love watching Tendulkar bowl. MSD can bowl?

  • EnglishCricket on June 13, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    ODIs have always been fine. The problem with it is that far too many meaningless Cricket is played in that form which ruins it a fair bit. The World Cup is enough and though after the 2015 World Cup, they are reducing it to 10 teams, really it should've been 12 at least. I think a 'balance' is needed across all forms. Right now in my view ODI rules are too in favour of batsman and it can be even more great if there is a balance so bowlers can have their thrills.

  • Foddy on June 13, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    To those complaining about having 2 wicket-keepers in a side, there's no law that says they have to keep wicket! And I'm sure both Gilchrist and Dhoni both field pretty well . . . .

  • on June 13, 2013, 7:56 GMT

    No No No No! Mark N, I thought you were on my side (after quoting me in the Cricketer Magazine two years ago!). There is too much rubbish in the calendar. The Champions Trophy belongs in the trash. We need context. If I asked you all to list who won each CT, there is no way you could do it off the top of your head, which just shows how much you care. You could easily do it for the WC. WC every 4 years, and an Asia Cup, otherwise always 3 ODI's at begining of a tour. Lose the coloured clothing, an embarrassment.

  • Un_Citoyen_Indien on June 13, 2013, 7:39 GMT

    Ambrose and Murali will do. But seriously, Javed? A bloke whose career strike rate wasn't even 70 won't make it to my team. I'll pick Mr. Cricket, Hussey instead (Bevan being a super slow scorer again). Also, Ponting makes way for AB de Villiers and Garner for Pollock. Gilchrist goes too. Can't have Dhoni and him in the same team, it's just overkill (de Villiers can keep if needed). If an explosive opener is needed at the top, they don't come any better than Virender Sehwag......Otherwise, Mattie Hayden is fine.

    Team captain? Why MSD of course. Vice-captain can be Imran Khan.

  • Amit_13 on June 13, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    This tournament has brought the fast bowlers back into the fold. Somehow the spinners have managed to not get clattered either. The CONTEST is back in the game and that is no bad thing. We are finally seeing teams believing that 180 can be defended and nearly doing it. SL vs NZ and PAK vs WI being case in point. 260 is par score. The shots on display have been of high quality as the ring fielders are plenty and agile too. Even in India's case. The format has left all teams fighting tooth and nail every game. A little bit of swing and this would be (I dare say) one of the most exciting tournaments in quite some time. The crowds have flocked to the stadiums too... albeit only the 25,000. They have BEEN REWARDED.

    That maybe the crux of the matter. The reward for the audiences had gone from ODI's. The rule changes and the format have brought it back. The organisers ought to learn from this and keep the trophy alive. Dare I say, play it outside the subcontinent for a round or two

  • JustAnotherCricketFan on June 13, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    @Trebla dude youre forgetting, the gilchrist is an excellent batsmen, and if he is available, he has to be your first choice, not at the cost of MSD ofcourse. But I think Mark picked his team on his first choices.

    Plus youre forgetting a very important thing, which is that both Gilly and MSD can bowl as well. between Gilly, Mahi and Sachin, you could easily bowl 15 overs, if not more, depending on the match situation.

  • stormy16 on June 13, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    I personally dont think there is a problem with 50 over cricket but its the fans who are acting childish and demanding 'more action, fast game' etc etc - much like a child wanting more sweets. If people just appreciate the game for what it is it is still the game we love so much. Its obvioulsy not t20 and thus dont expect the players to play it like t20. The champions trophy may be gone but I expect 50 over cricket to still kick on for a while before t20 takes over.

  • The_Analyst on June 13, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    I think Sanath Jayasuriya should be right up there as the greatest one day cricketer of all time......lots of runs at a strike rate of over 90%. Over 300 wickets and brilliant on the field.

    My one day X1 of all time: Tendulkar, Jayasuriya, Richards, Greg Chappel, Ponting, Symonds, Hussey, Akram, Garner, Murali and McGrath.

  • FAB_ALI on June 13, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    If the IPL is kept to 30 days and also the other domestic T20 competitions going on in all countries is limited to some extent, it can give the players a fair chance to stay fit and play Major international tournaments like Champions Trophy. Also, some bilateral ODI series are too long which can be shortened to improve quality. An ODI series should be maximum 3 games.

  • FAB_ALI on June 13, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    Well, there are too many unnecessary T20 competitions going around. Surely, they should be cut down and Champions Trophy should be held every two years, Fantastic Tournament I must say with top eight teams fighting it out.

  • tntn on June 13, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    Dear Mark, I am reading with great interest and have followed many a writer who picks his best world 11. I agreed with each of them on most selections. What I have wondered is 'Who will they ( this great 11) play against?'... Don't you think they need a equally good team to compete? Would you think they will happy with a one sided game? These players will want a contest with the best in the world. How will they compete when they are on the same side? Can some one hereon, come up with two best teams in the world and how they will match up with each other? After all, there has to be a purpose for the best 11? At least readers like me can have more to imagine. tn

  • THEBOSS on June 13, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    Definately you need to have champions trophy viz 50 over cricket in the calendar for every 2 yrs. This should be a tournament where top 8 teams in world are competing for the glory. There are lots of tinkering happening in 50 over format to keep it alive but honestly i belive plz dont do any changes to the format and keep it open..It should be like a one day test match per innings by two teams..Definately crowd will love it and it will stay for ever...making changes only suites particular type of audience ( T20 lovers) and it wont stay permanent..ALWAYS CLASS IS PERMANENT...

  • Trebla on June 13, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    A good article. We now appreciate 50 over cricket after seeing 20/20. The one dayers allow us to really see the players, and the intricacies of the batting/bowling and fielding. One problem with Mark Nicholas' team is the inclusion of both Gilchrist and Dhoni, both wicket keepers. I'd replace Gilchrist with Greenidge or maybe Jayasuriya.

  • latecut_04 on June 13, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    The timing of this article is perfect and the notion that ODIs are fighting for relevance is just rubbish.They will be if meaningless bilateral series and T20 matches over rule meaningful ODI tournaments.I don't understand why past cricketers and cricket writers don't highlight the real value of T20 and limit it to where it belongs---international level.Holding T20s in the domestic circuit is criminal and absolutely needless.Basis is to have a good,stromg domestic circuit which can churn out quality test players.Players will automatcially fit into the league they belong to once they make it to the top--Test/ODI/T20 depending on skill-temparament combo.IPL may be an Indian club tournament but involves international players from all cricket playing nations and the need to play domestic T20 in these nations to get selected for IPL teams should be removed.It will affect cricketer's mandatory skills.Hope the point gets noted.

  • on June 13, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    The younger players looked terrified, which is a complete 360 from a decade ago.

    How many degrees in a circle Mark?

  • on June 13, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    Wait in worldcups, aren't they getting rid of associate nations. Well in that case, CT is not very different from a worldcup, and there is no point having it. Better of having a quadrangular series between the top 4 teams, perhaps every 4 years.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on June 13, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    Got to respect your taste ,Mr. Nicholas. But the truth is that ODIs are a pale and poor older cousins of T20s and the t20 format and t20 WC is here to stay . After all ICC have scrapped the CT for a reason ,this being the last 1 and finished for good. For a good reason may I add . Obviously t20 has taken over and the money that the ICC can generate from int. t20 is from the Wt20 and it is a major cash- cow. So few of the shortest format is played bilaterally internationally , the 'Premier' leagues all over the world dominating the format ,which the ICC don't earn anything from.

  • typos on June 13, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    I just loved paragraph 4 Mark. That is why we follow sport or anything really. Like watching the Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre: small and intimate, cramped and often uncomfortable. But what an occasion! So, if our team wins great, if they lose then we get to analyse, dump on and pick others who should be in the team. On your teaser, obviously Ambrose. In Trinidad we used to say Windies=Ambrose and 10 others. Maybe Warnie then Muttiah, but I wouldn't mind him either.

  • on June 13, 2013, 5:32 GMT

    Michael Bevan? Dean Jones? Two of the pioneers of one day cricket as we know it?

  • AussieGreek on June 13, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    The past 24 months has seen some fantastic ODIs and series. Unfortunately this years champions trophy has been extremely boring with only India playing positive cricket. This series could be the death of ODIs because of the strategies being employed by other teams with their conservative starts and defensive bowling. I would like to see ODI's reduced to a 40 over format to limit the middle overs and bring back the use of only one ball. This may see the use of more agressive opening partnerships instead test match style starts. It would allow the bowlers to be able to use reverse swing and the spinners to get some turn. The two ball rule has really hurt sides like pakistan who are not getting the most out the ball for reverse swing and spin and hurting their top order with two new balls.

  • on June 13, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    I don't really see the point of axing the Champions trophy, it's a good fast competition of high quality, i'd much rather see this than endless bilateral series. They could have this format in T20 too instead of a world cup every two years, make it four. Have champions trophies with the top sides in both formats every four years, with extended world cups in both formats of 16-18 teams too.

  • Rahul_78 on June 13, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    This is an amazing picture of Rohit with West Indies team looking at the giant screen for the DRS result. IPL has been a greater evil but cant ignore the fact that it has got the communities and people with diverse ethnicity and culture together. Can not imagine this kind of picture in the past with Sunil Gavaskar and past Windies team.

  • on June 13, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    absolute gem of an article!! "The power brokers should stop thinking about returns and concentrate on the product". Mr. Nicholas, you just stole words from my mouth!!

  • Narbavi on June 13, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    Rightly put Mark, we can have all these 4 major tournaments once in every four years, why should we have a t20 world cup two years once? For example, next year we have a 50 overs world cup in 2015, then a t20 world cup in 2016, then the test championship in 2017, why should we have a t20 world cup again in 2018? We would rather have a champions trophy at that time!!

  • Narbavi on June 13, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    Rightly put Mark, we can have all these 4 major tournaments once in every four years, why should we have a t20 world cup two years once? For example, next year we have a 50 overs world cup in 2015, then a t20 world cup in 2016, then the test championship in 2017, why should we have a t20 world cup again in 2018? We would rather have a champions trophy at that time!!

  • on June 13, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    absolute gem of an article!! "The power brokers should stop thinking about returns and concentrate on the product". Mr. Nicholas, you just stole words from my mouth!!

  • Rahul_78 on June 13, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    This is an amazing picture of Rohit with West Indies team looking at the giant screen for the DRS result. IPL has been a greater evil but cant ignore the fact that it has got the communities and people with diverse ethnicity and culture together. Can not imagine this kind of picture in the past with Sunil Gavaskar and past Windies team.

  • on June 13, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    I don't really see the point of axing the Champions trophy, it's a good fast competition of high quality, i'd much rather see this than endless bilateral series. They could have this format in T20 too instead of a world cup every two years, make it four. Have champions trophies with the top sides in both formats every four years, with extended world cups in both formats of 16-18 teams too.

  • AussieGreek on June 13, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    The past 24 months has seen some fantastic ODIs and series. Unfortunately this years champions trophy has been extremely boring with only India playing positive cricket. This series could be the death of ODIs because of the strategies being employed by other teams with their conservative starts and defensive bowling. I would like to see ODI's reduced to a 40 over format to limit the middle overs and bring back the use of only one ball. This may see the use of more agressive opening partnerships instead test match style starts. It would allow the bowlers to be able to use reverse swing and the spinners to get some turn. The two ball rule has really hurt sides like pakistan who are not getting the most out the ball for reverse swing and spin and hurting their top order with two new balls.

  • on June 13, 2013, 5:32 GMT

    Michael Bevan? Dean Jones? Two of the pioneers of one day cricket as we know it?

  • typos on June 13, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    I just loved paragraph 4 Mark. That is why we follow sport or anything really. Like watching the Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre: small and intimate, cramped and often uncomfortable. But what an occasion! So, if our team wins great, if they lose then we get to analyse, dump on and pick others who should be in the team. On your teaser, obviously Ambrose. In Trinidad we used to say Windies=Ambrose and 10 others. Maybe Warnie then Muttiah, but I wouldn't mind him either.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on June 13, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    Got to respect your taste ,Mr. Nicholas. But the truth is that ODIs are a pale and poor older cousins of T20s and the t20 format and t20 WC is here to stay . After all ICC have scrapped the CT for a reason ,this being the last 1 and finished for good. For a good reason may I add . Obviously t20 has taken over and the money that the ICC can generate from int. t20 is from the Wt20 and it is a major cash- cow. So few of the shortest format is played bilaterally internationally , the 'Premier' leagues all over the world dominating the format ,which the ICC don't earn anything from.

  • on June 13, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    Wait in worldcups, aren't they getting rid of associate nations. Well in that case, CT is not very different from a worldcup, and there is no point having it. Better of having a quadrangular series between the top 4 teams, perhaps every 4 years.

  • on June 13, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    The younger players looked terrified, which is a complete 360 from a decade ago.

    How many degrees in a circle Mark?