Mark Nicholas
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Former Hampshire batsman; host of Channel 9's cricket coverage

Time 50-over cricket is nurtured and sustained

All cricket's skills are on view in the 50-overs game. If the format is to retain its importance, it must be in the spotlight

Mark Nicholas

September 12, 2013

Comments: 46 | Text size: A | A

Mitchell Johnson enjoyed removing Kevin Pietersen, England v Australia, 3rd NatWest ODI, Edgbaston, September 11, 2013
Fifty-over cricket asks more questions than T20, like when Mitchell Johnson thundered in at Old Trafford, looking for wickets © Getty Images
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Despite the comfortable margin of victory for Australia at Old Trafford on Sunday, it was a good weekend for 50-over cricket. Indeed, it has been a good northern hemisphere summer.

The Champions Trophy, once the game's white elephant, was both absorbing and, at times, electrifying. The best team, India, won it and the next best team, England, lost the final, of their own volition. Basking in the reflected sunshine, the ICC members are reconsidering their decision to can the tournament. The players are its biggest fans, preferring a shorter, elite event to the more laboriously structured World Cup. The English spectators appreciated the natural rhythms of cricket that remain within the 50-over distance, and the Asian immigrant supporters gave the grounds an enthusiastic and edgy atmosphere.

In Manchester on Sunday, Australia played with great skill, albeit against half an England side. Michael Clarke scored at a run a ball without much risk, while George Bailey applied his strengths to the pitch and the opponent. Neither used T20 methods, opting instead for the time-honoured principles of straight bats and hard running between the wickets before hitting clean boundaries when set.

Then Mitchell Johnson bowled really fast, searching for wickets instead of economy. He has become a good bet for the first Ashes Test of the winter in Brisbane and a shoo-in for Perth, where he has run through England and South Africa previously. Close examination can reveal the work he has done with Dennis Lillee on his run-up, point of delivery and follow-through - a fair bit then! But the best bit was his speed, as Jonathan Trott will testify after he fenced to the wicketkeeper.

Fifty-over cricket asks more questions than T20. Rumours of its death are exaggerated. The T20 game dictates to the players, who have found thrilling ways to take advantage of the limited exposure time, but there is less need for batsmen to preserve their wickets or for bowlers to look to capture them. It means the cricket has fewer dimensions. This is a fact, not a criticism, and is evidence in the case for retaining cricket's coat of many colours.

In contrast, the 40-over game, which is still played by the counties in England, is betwixt and between - neither modern nor retro. Invented as a Sunday afternoon frolic in the late 1960s, at a time when much of the cricket, televised in black and white, truly did appear colourless, it was first taken around the land by the International Cavaliers, who were the Harlem Globetrotters of their genre. The TCCB immediately saw its worth and used it to revitalise the ailing county game, selling television rights to the BBC and filling grounds for the four-hour period between Sunday lunch and high tea. It was the T20 of its day, altering technique and changing methods, while still bringing a simplicity and speed to the game that attracted a new audience.

Forty-five years on much of that attraction has gone, beaten to a pulp by the T20 phenomenon. Saturday's Yorkshire Bank 40 semi-final was attended by just 4500 people. The Ageas Bowl echoed in its disapproval despite Hampshire's consistently impressive one-day performances these past few years. More people came to the second semi-final at Trent Bridge but Somerset barely put up a fight. The competition has the feeling of a financial necessity rather than a cricketing opportunity. The quicker the counties return to 50 overs, the better.

 
 
Much as T20 tickles many a fancy, it cannot showcase all the riches of the greatest game, and for that alone, a species comprising a minimum of 50 overs per side must not become endangered
 

Last week, the ECB announced the international schedule for next year and the retro in it is worth applauding. For the first time this millennium, the 50-over game will help launch the summer. If it is to retain self-importance, it must be in the spotlight. Fifty overs per side is the perfect introduction after a winter and pretty much certain to sell out because of it.

Preceded by a lone T20 in mid-May, there will then be five ODIs against Sri Lanka, followed by two Test matches. Though only two Tests in any series is not ideal, the early-season schedule provides a nice balance to the cricket with the caveat that as many as five one-day matches threatens overkill. After Sri Lanka come India, who will engage in a full five-Test series before playing five one-day games and a T20. By the time those 50-over matches start, everyone will have had enough. Fifty-over cricket must precede Test matches and T20 if it is to win back the place it once held in the global affection. Fewer matches would mean a harder ticket, the corollary of which is greater demand, but with a World Cup on the horizon there are more one-dayers pending than is good for them or for the game at large.

Of all the full ICC members, it is England who are doing the most to preserve Test match cricket by promoting its value, playing a lot of it, and performing well. Sky Television has dedicated a whole channel - Sky Ashes - to its name this summer and saturated the viewer with insight, analysis and entertainment that has begun at 10am and finished at 11 at night after two highlight shows of varying style, comment and content. Hats of to an organisation that continues to support both the commercial and inherent interests of British sport.

As I write, the England top order is batting with great difficulty in the third 50-over match of five against Australia. In the damp, cold conditions, the ball has moved a little off the seam. The history of the game boasts few more naturally gifted batsmen than Kevin Pietersen and the upper end of international cricket is his stage. But he can't take a trick against the Aussies right now. Johnson is bowling at some lick and Clarke has set attacking fields. After selling Michael Carberry short with a bad call for a single, Pietersen has spliced a pull shot into the hands of square leg. Though Joe Root came to the wicket, Trott took most of Johnson and had to ride his luck. Clarke continued to attack and every ball held the audience captive.

The reason for this is clear. Examination of mind and technique is the fabric of the game. Such vignettes crystallise why 50-over cricket must be nurtured and sustained. All the skills are on view and the great utopia - that often clichéd balance between bat and ball - is set fair. Much as T20 tickles many a fancy, it cannot showcase all the riches of the greatest game, and for that alone, a species comprising a minimum of 50 overs per side must not become endangered.

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

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Posted by kannanknair on (September 17, 2013, 0:44 GMT)

@ Mark Nicholas, I agree with your view on most occasions. I think it should be about saving all three formats of the game so that cricket and the players prosper as a whole. This can be best achieved by standardizing. (Similar to a Davis Cup maybe )

A Series should be 3 tests (2 points- Thus start), 3 T20 (1 point, played on Fridays) and 3 one dayers (1 point- played on sat/sun). (i.e. a series win would mean winning a test and another format)

this would allow comparison between series, due rest period for player and certainty of all three formats.

Posted by BRUTALANALYST on (September 15, 2013, 13:14 GMT)

The 2 new balls has really mad huge difference we are now seeing Test match style battles early on for a much more sustained amount of time. I love all 3 formats great to appreciate for many different reasons long live the ODI !

Posted by   on (September 15, 2013, 9:11 GMT)

take my word and to be honest I have made few great predictions, by 2020 there will only be test cricket and T20 cricket. by then atleast 20 nations will play T20 world cup

Posted by   on (September 15, 2013, 0:51 GMT)

I'd say England are a much better Test side than Aus, but when it comes to ODIs they're both at the same level.

Posted by ScottStevo on (September 14, 2013, 10:55 GMT)

@Nick Yates, no, I've not said that at all! Merely stating that it would be logical to play them that way. I've got no clue what the ECBs scheduling constraints are, so have no idea why they'd schedule any event the way they would. So, you're suggesting that I'm twisted when it's you twisting my comments? Weird! You do realise the last ODI series was played last year, so it wouldn't exactly have been back to back ODI series. Here's a question for you, do you think that Aus have a better chance of beating England in ODIs or tests?

Posted by   on (September 14, 2013, 1:21 GMT)

ScottStevo: So basically you're saying that the ECB have intentionally put the ODIs after the Tests through fear of being beaten in the ODIs by a team ranked 1 place higher. Do you realise that, with the double Ashes, if the current ODI series had been played first, we would have had 2 ODI series in a row (with the CT) followed by 10 Tests in a row. Maybe I should have added "twisted" to the bitter comment.

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 21:41 GMT)

As entertaining as it can be, the 50 over game does not show all cricket's skills - if it did, the likes of Bevan and Yuvraj would have translated that into the test arena. That will always be the truest examination of a players ability - technical, mental, physical - and anyone who says otherwise really doesn't understand the sport.

Posted by ScottStevo on (September 13, 2013, 13:04 GMT)

Bitter? I was merely pointing out that the ECB scheduling ODI games against teams ranked higher than themselves in ODI to play after the test series seemed a logical plan. Fine, both parties agree the scheduling, but I'm sure that the offer would be extended by the ECB. I've not said there's anything wrong with that, it may be due to numerous other reasons, weather, other events, etc.. But there's still logic in playing them after the test matches - and I pointed out that it was widely acknowledged that the T20 and ODI series in '05 were labelled as catalyst for the test series win. Clarke501 didn't appear to like that as he didn't like the idea that Aus are a better ODI team seeing as though Eng won the last series and were so marvellous in the CT...rankings prove otherwise. And I'm bitter????

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 12:38 GMT)

@ Mark Nicholas:

I like your view - if only CA were able to follow it, then maybe we wouldn't have the scheduling debacle we have at present!!!

I understand their rationale for playing the BBL when the kids can turn up too, but T20 is the format which MOST favours being played outside the school holidays (given it's short game-time)!!! My advice: Split the domestic series into qualifying and finals with qualification to start the seaso, then Int series & round off the season with the finals of the BBL, Ryobi Cup & Sheffield.. Eg: Start Oct with BBL & Ryobi Cup, then Start Sheffield Shield in Nov. Int season begins early-Dec with 5 ODIs, then 1st Test in Perth. Keep the Boxing Day MCG Test as 2nd with Syd #3 on Jan 2 & Bris as #4 mid-Jan. Finish with Oz day Test in Adelaide as #5 or Hobart as 6th Test in Feb when 2 teams tour during Oz season. Then play 3 Int T20 games. Mid-Feb finals in BBL Late-Feb finals in Ryobi Cup & Early March finals for Sheffield Shield, before overseas tour

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 10:54 GMT)

ScottStevo: A bit bitter mate?

Posted by ScottStevo on (September 13, 2013, 9:07 GMT)

@Clarke501, I didn't say anything about fixing, mate. How are these schedules agreed, mate? Why don't you enlighten us all on how these 'agreements' are made between the boards. You think it's, so are you guys free for a little ODI on Tusday 24th? No involvement with the ICC either? Also, I said England played poorly and were lucky to get out of their group, I wasn't saying they got through via luck - not that they aren't potentially the luckiest side on the planet anyway. You'd do well comprehending what's written rather than twisting it to your own biased viewpoint - that's crass! Or bignoting yourself with immature comments like, 'finalists in the last global competition'. Big deal! Win one of them in ODI and then we'll have a chit chat, fella...How is using the term 'experimental' weak when we've been listening to it non stop for the last 2 weeks? Claiming that it's weak without any backup argument - that's weak!

Posted by popcorn on (September 13, 2013, 3:35 GMT)

Mark Nicholas has been earmarked as the next Richie Benaud for Channel Nin3 for mo small reason. His indepth knowledge of the game first as Captain of Hampshire, then as Commentator and writer,, ake for compelling listening and reading. T20 is not cricket.It is cricentertainment.ODI cricket is cricket AND entertaining.We need more of ODI cricket.BOTH please. The ODI World Cup AND The Champ8ons Trophy.Less of the T20 circus. L

Posted by SL-USA-Lions on (September 13, 2013, 0:44 GMT)

Windies dominated all team for 20 years only loosing a Home series Vs. visiting Indians I believe in 78/79 and a biased Kiwi series in NZ in 80/81 when that series actually should have been a drawn one.

So called mighty Aussies held on to crown for only 10 years loosing 4 series in SL and India (1 in SL and 3 in India with one series a one off test)

So let's stop comparisons. Hands down Windies all day, every day, 365 just like the air we breathe... Plus we won't see another pack of Fast Bowling Giants the Windies produced ever again. They were phenomenal all around. Just a stat:

Between Roberts, Holding, Garner and Marshall they have roughly a tally of 1100 test wickets. Add Walsh and Ambrose to the pack they have a combined test wicket tally of 2100. Which equals to an average of 350 per bowler.

SIMPLY AMAZING...

Posted by SL-USA-Lions on (September 13, 2013, 0:42 GMT)

Just want to say that bar none the West Indies teams of the late 70's till the mid 90's were the best Cricket team of all times. They don't have a real challenger than the late 90's mid 00's Aussies. But if you compare Apples to Oranges Windies dominated the Cricket scene for full 20's to Aussies 10. They won or drew all series except for the touring Indians in 77/78 I believe and the ill fated biased series of Kiwis in 80/81.

The Aussie team lost 4 series in the sub continent compromising of one SL and 3 Indian tours. (One was a 1 off series) The Windies teams changed but it was the same Dose (Like Medicine) every time... They either won series' out right or came from behind to win or draw a series.(Best example Indian tour of 93/94 when they won the last test to draw the series this series being in India with harsh conditions for the touring team) Windies we LOVE YOU... we MISS YOU...

Posted by   on (September 12, 2013, 23:25 GMT)

Strange how so many ppl are talking about Mitch's pace. sure he is cranking it up a bit, but only to a Max of 93mph - speed alone doesnt get the wickets!

Posted by landl47 on (September 12, 2013, 22:30 GMT)

"All the riches of the game'- haven't you watched any ODI cricket recently, Mark? Sides have to be coerced into having fielders within 30 yards of the bat. There are frequently no close catchers after the first 10 overs. Economy rates are far more important than strike rates. Anything under 5 runs an over is regarded as too slow. Pitches are flat, there are 2 new balls, boundaries are shortened...

ODIs are more like cricket than T20s, which are evolving into an entirely different game, but all the riches of the game? No way.

Posted by hhillbumper on (September 12, 2013, 20:15 GMT)

50 over cricket is a poor mans imitation of a game.Most of the games are pretty samey and soon lose their subtext.Each to their own but it is just not the best use of a day.20/20 is over quickly enough and appeals to fans with less attention span b

Posted by   on (September 12, 2013, 20:02 GMT)

@kirby51137............Then why is Ashes meaningful & why is Ind SA test series meaningful............??....Besides with crowd test is the least popular format not ODI...................ODI is the top format of game because it tests all skills of players & secondly because world cup is played in ODI format. Test is totally meningless because it doesn't have a world cup.

Posted by shillingsworth on (September 12, 2013, 18:32 GMT)

@ScottStevo - Your fantasy about England fixing the ordering of tests and ODIs ignores the rather obvious fact that the scheduling has to be agreed by the two countries involved. If Australia / India are that confident that they can a) beat England in an ODI series and b) take that momentum into a test series, why do they always play the ODIs last, home or away? The 'experimental' team stuff is pretty weak - how is the current England team any less 'experimental'? The old 'team I don't like is always lucky when they win' is similarly crass. Baffled by the reference to 'my' media - nothing whatsoever to do with me! Over to you for some more cheap national point scoring.

Posted by ScottStevo on (September 12, 2013, 16:46 GMT)

@Clarke501, A series in which Australia used an experimental team, mate. If that wasn't the case, why is it that the English always harp on about the huge T20 win and the drawn ODI series as catalysts for winning the '05 Ashes? Yes, SL have got the ODIs first as they aren't perceived as any threat to your test side. Don't misconstrue, I think Eng are a good ODI side, but surely they feel more confident of winning test matches against Aus/Ind than they do ODIs. And rightly so, you may have won that series 4-0, Aus won the previous serious 5-1 or something silly like that. I doubt that England would prefer to start a test series with their media harping on about ODI losses and placing undue pressure than to walk in with a clean slate against two sides you've previously beaten well in test matches. PS Also, I thought England were ordinary in the last CT and were lucky due to circumstances to make it out of the group stages...

Posted by Robster1 on (September 12, 2013, 16:26 GMT)

Have to disagree with this article - attendances in the county 40 over competition have been growing constantly. Watch what happens when English county cricket mistakenly returns to the 50 over game. Attendances will fall. Very few at county level want a return to the 50 over game with its dead and predictable middle fifteen overs.

Thanks 50 over cricket, but your time is done.

Posted by SamRoy on (September 12, 2013, 16:11 GMT)

7 match bilateral ODI series should be banned. The best ODI series possible is of 3 matches, each match having another day as spare in case the previous day is rained off.

Posted by   on (September 12, 2013, 14:40 GMT)

Spectator count is not an efficient method for checking success of format. The reason people attend T20s is because the matches can be held late in the evening (due to shorter duration). It is not feasible for people to attend all the days of a test match and thus test matches' attendance is low. However, there are lot of people who watch test cricket from home or online. Having a world-cup-like event for test cricket will boost the game for sure.

Posted by spain cricket on (September 12, 2013, 14:39 GMT)

A very good article. This is a long shot, but what the ICC could do is add a NEW format instead of ODIs, combining different parts of the 3 current formats: -The new format would last about as long as an ODI. -With 20 overs per side per innings. -2 innings each, like a test. -Powerplays for first and last 5 overs of each innings. -White ball, day/night cricket. This would incorporate more strategy and would be more of a contest between bat and ball but maintaing the same crowd-attracting qualities as T20.

Posted by aahahaa on (September 12, 2013, 14:30 GMT)

50 overs, 2 powerplays of 5 overs each no more (thanks anton1234) field restrictions during powerplay ( 3 outside) otherwise 5 outside , 2 bouncers an over, no free hits, DRS only for runouts, stumping and the like no predictions (umpires call stands), boundaries of atleast 65 meters, no runners. during rain allow one reduction in overs only and then call off the game, schedule extra day if mutuallu agreed to start a fresh game. Test cricket is engrossing and still is a test because the bowlers have an even chance. One dayers have become a farce (most of them anyway) is because they are skewed in the batsmens favour. restore the balance, give the bowlers a fair chance and the format will thrive. all my humble thoughts.

Posted by anton1234 on (September 12, 2013, 14:02 GMT)

Cyril, I agree 40 overs is the way to go. However, I do not agree half the overs should be powerplays. I already feel field restrictions are an artificial creation in the one day game. Just hit it past the infield and it almost guarantees a four. You want batsmen to earn their runs. If you have the overs with field restrictions you are going to get guys who are not great boundary hitters hitting a lot of fours.

I would have two 5 over powerplays with field restrictions - one in the first 10 overs and one in the last 10, chosen by the batting team. You want cricket to be a good contest between bat and ball, so having to many overs played with restrictions, will not do that. For T20 cricket, I would get rid of field restrictions altogether. Since most televised matches now use distance tracking, I might be tempted to offer 7 runs for 100 metre hit and 8 runs for 120 metres. This way, it will provide greater distinction between very long sixes and those earned very cheaply (like 65-70M)

Posted by shillingsworth on (September 12, 2013, 13:44 GMT)

@ScottStevo - Strange idea about scheduling which bears little relation to the facts. Australia were caned 4-0 by England last season in ODIs. How come they weren't scheduled before the test series this year? The answer is simple - it has nothing to do with perceived advantage to either team since the schedule must be agreed by both boards beforehand. Sri Lanka are touring England next season. The ODIs are to be played before the tests. For a team whose 'strongest suit is test cricket', England appear to be oddly proficient at ODIs - finalists in the last global competition.

Posted by Cyril_Knight on (September 12, 2013, 13:01 GMT)

But we must also recognise that the 50 over game is dull. When too many wickets fall it's dull. When the pitch is too flat, too many sixes are dull. There are always periods of inactivity with negative bowling and fielding and negative batting.

As others have written, the 40 over game is far more entertaining. The tweaks made to 50ov only try to manufacture entertainment. The impulse of great matches cannot be forced.

My idea would be to have 40 over ODIs where half the overs are "powerplay" (max. 3 outside the circle) these overs can be taken at any time. The captain would be tested but why not? ODIs are great when attacking cricket comes from both bat and ball. The drawn out periods between 10-35 will be gone. The game would ebb and flow.

Posted by ScottStevo on (September 12, 2013, 12:46 GMT)

It's of no surprise that Eng are keen on scheduling ODIs post test series being played as it deprives the opposition to get more acclimatised with local conditions and players. Also, most importantly, at present Eng's strongest suit is test match cricket and Ind/Aus are strong in ODIs. There's no point starting the test series after what may be a few heavy defeats where opposition teams are confident they can belt the tripe out of the Eng front line bowlers and already have a few wins under the belt. Seems logical, in some ways, so I can't see that changing anytime soon. As for scrapping ODI for T20 - that would be disastrous. T20 is basically a game of luck and just about any team can beat the other when it's 'their' day. In the future, journeymen/mercs will specialise in T20s and ODIs and tests will be played by proper professionals. T20 will be like touch rugby, although with larger cash sums! Possibly a few proper cricketers will form them for T20WCs

Posted by WalkingWicket11 on (September 12, 2013, 12:06 GMT)

Test cricket goes on for too long, and there are not too many people who are so jobless that they will attend all five days. The number of exciting Test series is few and far between, while most of the time you get thoroughly one-sided games. Halfway through the series, fans are left praying to get it over with right away by skipping the remaining games.

50-over ODI cricket used to be interesting, but there's no kill like overkill, and it is not as exciting as it used to be. Others have already commented about the meaningless matches, such as the 7-match series (why so many?), but another problem is that the rules keep changing so often that it is becoming a farce. Even though ICC probably has no other job, but fans do have better things to do than keep track of all the rule changes.

T20 is the only format with any chance of long term survival. It gets over in about 3 hours, and then one can spend time on other things.

Posted by SoverBerry2 on (September 12, 2013, 11:56 GMT)

Everybody liked Sky Television'd dedication for Test Cricket. But, on ODI , we can't agree with Nicholas. ODI cricket is pretty watchable in bowler friendly conditions. But, the moment you go to the Subcontinent/UAE, the team with good batting line up wins. Players with not so good technique makes hundreds.

I prefer to watch ODI in World Cup only and Tests and T20Is in the ICC FTP.

Posted by shillingsworth on (September 12, 2013, 9:31 GMT)

Not sure what skills are on show during the middle period when, despite the constant rule changes, batsmen still push singles to deep set fields. The 40 / 50 over debate is a pretty sterile one too - the difference isn't that great surely. Attendances at the county one day tournament were declining when it was 50 overs and continued despite the change to 40. Dwindling interest has much more to do with the introduction of T20 in 2003.

@Prashant Kumar - Some journalists like the format, others don't. Nationality doesn't come into it. This article sings the praises of 50 over cricket. Where does the author come from? Your petty national point scoring is pathetic.

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (September 12, 2013, 9:30 GMT)

@prashant kumar. Good point buddy. I think most of column writers are old aged test fans and majority are from england, so they view cricket world from their country and are unaware of present status of the test cricket which is extinct in subcontinent. Odi are popular and not threatened by t20.

Posted by   on (September 12, 2013, 8:52 GMT)

I want to make some points: 1. Fifty-over cricket doesn't asks more question than T20. Rather it asks different questions than T20. 2.One day cricket is not at all in danger in its biggest market that is India. On the other other hand Test cricket is in real danger in India as people now don't have so much leisure time to attend 5 days of slow cricket. 3.@Syed Ahmed Tirmizi: You hit the bull's eye buddy. But a slight correction, When England does bad in some format it suddenly becomes 'BORING' and if England is doing well in some format, that format suddenly becomes 'EXCITING'.This simply shows the dominance of English Journalists in world of Cricket even today. Even though India has taken lead in financial terms but the world of journalism is still dominated by english Journalists.

Posted by anton1234 on (September 12, 2013, 8:43 GMT)

I disagree with Mark on this. I prefer 40 overs. The 50 over game goes on forever. We start matches at 10:15AM and finish around 7PM, and sometimes beyond. That is just way too long. I suggest scrap the 50 over game and have 40 overs a side. Each team must bowl their 40 overs in 2hrs 30mins or 2hr 40mins with a 15 minute break in between innings. This way we will get the whole match from start to finish completed in around 5 1/2hrs. Seriously, the 50 over game is absurdly long.

What about the extended settling period where batsmen are content in just nurdling the ball around between around the 20th to the 40th over with the occasional bit of aggression. This period is extremely dull. I think 40 over a side will shorten this very significantly due to fewer overs. Also, far too many 50 over games end in one-sided contests.

Have 40 over a side contest with two 5 over powerplays. Have long sixes be awarded extra runs. A 100 meter six could be 7 runs and 120M six could be eight

Posted by EnglishCricket on (September 12, 2013, 8:26 GMT)

I don't understand why people criticise ODIs. Its still the most popular format which attracts massive television ratings and brings in massive revenue for Cricket. The problem is TOO MANY meaningless matches or series and instead players need a good break. Just take Australia as an example, after this ODI series in England a series they already played last year in 2012, they will be heading off to India for a ridiculous 7 match ODI series and right after the return Ashes happens down under. There needs to be a balance for example 3 test matches, 3 ODIs and 1 T20 minimum or instead of a bilateral series which mainly are repeats, have triangular series which is far more unique and interesting.

Posted by DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on (September 12, 2013, 6:59 GMT)

@kirby51137 to say which is meaningful bilateral series, one has to look different factors and fans of different countries. To me ashes is meaningless bilateral series bcz i m indian. But for all non english and non aus fans, still ashes is a meaningless bcz their boards and players has no buisness with ashes. But championship trophy, is real multinational series which every team want to compete. May be, u a different one.

Posted by   on (September 12, 2013, 6:45 GMT)

I think odi should b played only during world cups...in bilateral series only tests n t20s should b played...

Posted by dave_mar on (September 12, 2013, 6:38 GMT)

I agree with Mark that the 40-over domestic game should be scrapped, it's not used for international matches and serves little purpose. As for the 50 ODI games, I think we should move away from 5+ match series, and reserve them for multi-team competitions like the WC and Champions Trophy. For matches outside these ODI tournoments, just have one-off 'friendlies' like they do in international football. That way the teams get the practice, the crowds get to see a game, but we don't get too much of the same thing. These one-off games will also allow the associate teams to be involved more, so allowing a wider spread of countries playing against test-playing nations.

A series of several matches between two countries suits Test cricket much better, and that should be preserved. As other posters have mentioned, Test series results are remembered, but no-one remembers ODI series.

Posted by IndianEagle on (September 12, 2013, 6:37 GMT)

@advin. Levi's techniques suit only for t20, not odi. Dravid abilites suit mostly in test than in odi's. Odi is real cricket where u can easily find which is better team, unlike tests where one team which took 90 overs to score 300, another team took 120 odd overs to score 300. So which format is better? Cook can score 70odd in 100 balls, kohli can bail the innings by scoring 70 odd runs from 100 balls and from there he can score 150 runs in 150 runs and more. But cook? So which is the best format, which format really tests a batsman. Which really test different ability. Scoring 100 runs is not a matter, how fast you score when the team needs is real talent.

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (September 12, 2013, 6:07 GMT)

all the bilateral tests are meaningless. For eng fans test might be important. Majority of all non english fans will say odi is important. View broadly not narrowly.

Posted by Advin on (September 12, 2013, 5:19 GMT)

Except the for the world cup,the 50 over contests have become meaningless and the thrill does not carry over to the next day.Ask anybody the outcome of the last Ashes series in Australia and they will say that England won and not that Australia thrashed England in the one day series .South Africa invokes awe today but their one day exploits have been hardly significant.50 over match is a highly contrived game where the bowlers,fielders and field placings are restricted ,where a Richard Levi is a greater hit than a Rahul Dravid and where a team that scores 241 for 9 is deemed to have played better and beaten a team that scores 240 for no loss .I agree it has a greater market and following but it is just not cricket.

Posted by Gurudumu on (September 12, 2013, 5:17 GMT)

Kudos to Mark Nicholas for stating as it should be. Get rid of 40-over cricket and minimize the number of ODIs - from seven to five or, even better, limit it to 4 so that the opponents will have no choice but to aim to win the first three games to garner ICC points.

Posted by   on (September 12, 2013, 3:22 GMT)

When teams from strong boards tend to do bad, theres talk of getting rid of the BORING formats(tests,odis) and when they are doing well, everyone wants to make profit. All three formats have their place and the format most dependant on luck and least on skills is T20.Im not even sure why people want to can the WC. T20 wc is every two yrs, ODI WC every 4 yrs...theres a place for ICC CT between those WC yrs.

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Mark Nicholas A prolific and stylish middle-order batsman for Hampshire, Mark Nicholas was unlucky never to have played for England, but after captaining his county to four major trophies he made his reputation as a presenter, commentator and columnist. Named the UK Sports Presenter of the Year in 2001 and 2005 by the Royal Television Society, he has commentated all over the world, from the World Cup in the West Indies to the Indian Premier League. He now hosts the cricket coverage for Channel 9 in Australia and Channel 5 in England.

    The man who pulled New Zealand from the precipice

Brendon McCullum's runs and leadership have rescued New Zealand cricket from its lowest ebb. By Andrew Alderson

'In front or behind the stumps, he was out there for a battle'

Modern Masters: Rahul Dravid and Sanjay Manjrekar discuss Adam Gilchrist's temperament

Glovemen apart

From eccentrics to game changers and now to leaders, where will - or won't - wicketkeepers go next? By Jon Hotten
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    A rock, a hard place and the WICB

Tony Cozier: The board must deal with the striking players practically if it wants any resolution to the embarrassing crisis

Flirtations with Jesse

Beige Brigade: The boys discuss if Ryder can stay good for the summer, the West Indies pullout, and the Alternative Cricket Commentary's return

News | Features Last 7 days

The insecure kid who never grew up

Kevin Pietersen missed the point of life in the second half of his career, failed to show maturity, and has regressed to being the bitter youngster who left Natal years ago

India's other keeper stumped again

Throughout his career, Wriddhiman Saha has suffered from being in the same generation as MS Dhoni. However, those close to the player believe that Saha has never been one to take rejection personally

Kohli back to old habits

Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala

A rock, a hard place and the WICB

The board's latest standoff with its players has had embarrassing consequences internationally, so any resolution now needs to be approached thoughtfully

Highest ODI averages, and Leap Year babies

Also, fewest boundaries in a T20 innings, most runs in a Test, England's international record-holder, and a pest named Fruitfly

News | Features Last 7 days