Martin Crowe
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Former New Zealand batsman and captain

Forty overs is one-day cricket's future

It's the ideal amount of time to pack in plenty of action while also giving players a chance to construct innings and making for a better spectator experience

Martin Crowe

January 31, 2014

Comments: 73 | Text size: A | A
Crowe: Time for the ODI game to evolve

As we all consider the changing nature of the game's hierarchy (or should that be oligarchy?), the future of Test cricket and the effect of T20 globally, should we not stop to consider the middle sibling, the one-day game? The evolution of one-day cricket needs to continue to march on, and to the right beat. At present it looks as though it's pitching a touch, droning a little, gasping at times. It's not always sure of itself. Of all the formats, the one-day game has been constantly battling a personality crisis.

Internationally it started in the early 1970s (following initial success in county cricket) with contests of between 35 and 55 overs, all in one long day, using up all the daylight available. Then it moved to 60 overs a side, and after about a decade, dropped to 50 overs, a duration it has held since, covering seven World Cups.

For the next World Cup, to be held in Australasia, the format will remain the same, yet from that point on, the game should consider another natural evolution. First, this constant tinkering with the rules must stop. The present 50-over version (number 2387, by my count) is out of control. The Powerplay rules and field restriction are utter madness and soul-destroying to all kinds of captains and bowlers, spinners especially. The constant tweaking and searching has to cease.

Corey Anderson exults after bowling Ravindra Jadeja out for 12, New Zealand v India, 2nd ODI, Hamilton, January 22, 2014
The 42-overs-a-side match in Hamilton gave spectators a satisfying six hours or so of action and drama © Getty Images

It is one thing to react to a bad idea, of which there have been many wrapped around the one-day game in recent times; it's another to throw insanely bad karma into the mix as well. As T20 has removed the fiddle in the middle, so has one-day cricket tried to remove the often boring drag by adding funky Powerplays (at one stage, a few years back, bowlers were grudgingly forced to choose when to have a five-over Powerplay), and limit field-setting options, only to destroy courage and skill for the sake of more jolly entertainment, or for committees to be seen to be clever. Sorry, but it's a bloody dog's breakfast. Just ask every single captain in the game today, starting with MS Dhoni.

One of the great premises for introducing one-day cricket in England in the late '60s and T20 in 2003 was allowing time for fans to watch the spectacle in the late afternoon and twilight, in particular at the ground. As television started to broadcast the 40-over Sunday League in the '70s, a bigger audience was found watching from home. This has grown astronomically since. Yet we must continue to encourage spectators to go to the venues, for without those bums on seats, the players in the middle feel incomplete. When that happens, we start to defeat the purpose of sport.

Year after year, time on the clock became more and more precious, while cricket stayed more and more difficult to follow throughout its duration. So it evolved, and rightly so. As the 21st century beds in, it is time to ensure all is right again.


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Having three formats is a great strength of cricket, as well as a complication, yet it works as it caters to different tastes and markets and covers all demographics and cultures. But the 50-over match is fast becoming a cricket design that doesn't fit, like the 60-over version before it. A normal 50-over game lasts seven hours, with a 40-minute interval. Throw in the time taken to travel to the venue, get seated, and the slow after-match escape, and overall we are talking a lazy nine hours or more of committing oneself, from go to whoa. That is not sustainable for honest, hard-working folk anymore, in duration, or even style. It definitely doesn't suit a young family outing.

What is the new ideal time frame for one-day cricket to keep itself relevant, and distant enough from T20, retaining a cultured game in which innings can be built and spells can be prolonged, yet catering to the fans' attention span? If a T20 match is nearly three hours, plus the before, the break and the after-match - around four and a half hours in all - then perhaps a 40-over match is the best duration: under six hours of compelling play to satisfy all.

As I watched the second ODI, in Hamilton, the other day, a rain-reduced match of 42 overs, I saw it clearly. It was the perfect amount of entertainment: plenty of action, a period of building, a blazing finish to each innings.

Then I went to the third ODI, in Auckland, and worked in the commentary box. Despite the fact that it was a pulsating match, ending in a remarkable tie, it was an exhausting, draining day, finishing late into the night. I would have preferred to arrive at 4pm, when the heat was out of the day, and enjoy a marvellous extended evening session of fun cricket. When I finally got home, after 11.15pm (having left at midday for a 2pm start), I was absolutely spent. The adrenaline of the last-ball drama was quickly consumed by the utter enervation of it all. Without question, in my tired mind, the 50-over game is out of date and ripe for the picking.

Let's see the one-day game settle into 40-over mode. Remove the gunk in the middle, keep it simple, stupid, and hey presto, every captain will be positive about the format that is still the life blood of our fine game

Ultimately here is the crux. By knocking off ten overs per innings, we remove the unnecessary Powerplays and field restrictions, the crap, the not-required, the needless scaffolding. As we aren't reducing the number of wickets that need to fall, the game automatically speeds up, removing the drag and exhaustion. The benefit of going back to an extra fielder outside the circle is restored, and so is the bowlers' confidence that they are competing on an even playing field. Oh, and we can go back to one ball per innings.

As I posed this notion (I also did so in my book published last year) to a friend and top player, he challenged me with: "But what about the records?" Good question, that. Without hesitation I replied that in the 43 years of countless versions of the one-day game played, no records have been adjusted. Clearly those playing now enjoy scoring at a faster pace. Hundreds are easily completed in 35 overs these days due to ground size and incredible bat technology, so in essence this reduction of overs should equal it up to the game we adored in the 1980s. One-day records? A side plate, surely, to the long-form statistics. It's not an issue.

The time factor benefits a huge majority, apart from the advertisers, who lose a bit of fat. That is the only downside, but frankly, in the long-term they will win anyway - the one-day game, refreshed and reinvigorated, will surge into the light with a bright new future. Less always becomes more.

So after the World Cup next year, let's hope the ICC shows a new version of itself: a smarter, wiser, mature version of its hopefully rejuvenated soul, thinking about the fans first and not its hip pocket. Let's see it settle the one-day game into 40-over mode, remove the gunk in the middle, keep it simple, stupid, and hey presto, every captain will be positive about the format that is still the life blood of our fine game. If not after the World Cup, then the one-day game will evolve within the next four years. It's inevitable.

Martin Crowe, one of the leading batsmen of the late '80s and early '90s, played 77 Tests for New Zealand

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Posted by Amit_13 on (February 3, 2014, 13:05 GMT)

This is possibly the only format BCCI will take initiative on. Its their second cash cow after the IPL. In a big country, they take the game to more corners and get people to see it live. Go back to the rules of the 90s... 10 + 5 overs of field restrictions (I hate the term powerplay) Make the grounds the right size again and bring back the one ball rule. There is a disconnect between what rules people play to all around the world and what the national teams play. All the tinkering is a result of abundance - something not all teams (besides national) have the luxuries of. Making the international game popular also needs to make it recognisable. When I was a kid and I went to a different place for 'box' cricket, you had to check the local rules. This is no different. Only people are getting paid to show themselves to be amateurs.

Posted by android_user on (February 2, 2014, 10:37 GMT)

The way T20 is going I think ODI itself doesn't have a future. lol

Posted by anton1234 on (February 2, 2014, 3:56 GMT)

Completely agree with Martin here. I have been making this point so many times over the last few months. The 50 over game is too long. It can go on for 8 hours from start to finish (including the break in between innings) and way too much nurdling around. Exciting passages are too few. Have 40 overs a side with each innings completed in 2hrs 30 minutes with an innings break of around 20 minutes. There is no need for a lunch in a 5 hour game; a sandwich and a drink/tea is enough. The 50 over game is played at too leisurely a pace. 40 overs will provide greater tempo but also enough time to offer subtelty and skill found in the 50 over game. Keep 10 overs per bowler, allowing better bowlers to bowl larger share of the total deliveries. Get rid of field restrictions, have longer boundaries. Having very short boundaries makes a mockery.

Posted by SolFish on (February 2, 2014, 0:39 GMT)

We can also have T20 test matches which can also be completed in one day, 20 overs per innings, instead of 40 overs or 50 overs one day matches, we have the excitement of T20 cricket without the 5 day drag of yesterday, due to economic and cost of living issues not many have the time or money to follow test cricket any longer. 5 days we would have had 5 T20 tests completed.

Posted by Robster1 on (February 2, 2014, 0:26 GMT)

I couldn't agree more than 40 overs is the way forward. An excellent idea indeed. The game would fit into a shorter time period but there would be enough overs to have some ebb and flow and for games to take shape.

Posted by volmitius on (February 1, 2014, 19:36 GMT)

Completely agree with Martin crowe. So much tinkering with ODIs rules have led to its downfall... 9hr game, meaningless powerplays.. Every 2nd ball being send out of ground.. Its become more of a monotonous i would like to add to stop playing unnecessary ODIs and playing evenly against all countries including Bangladesh m Zimbabwe...

Posted by jw76 on (February 1, 2014, 16:25 GMT)

Yes, I agree, nowadays 40 overs per side would make a better one-day game, and hopefully without all the Mickey Mouse gimmicks.

Posted by IndCricFan2013 on (February 1, 2014, 15:49 GMT)

Yes, Yes and Yes. When Do ICC or what ever we will call that in future, will have people like Martin Crowe in their innovation committee. I would say go one step further and say, play 40 overs, and if it rains, change that to 20 overs (T20I) and scrap all that rain rules. Play 40 or 20 or do not play. Get rid of 2nd batting power play at 35 to 40 overs. 20 overs 6 over power play, reduce to 5 overs. 40 overs keep 10 overs power play. Keep 10 overs per bowler, so the contest is even. Avoid all possible complex rules. Follow KISS (Keep it simple stupid) rule.

Posted by Salar_Ahmed on (February 1, 2014, 15:02 GMT)

All of these points are mere speculations. No one can know for sure the effect of a 40 over game on the contest between bat and ball. It is indeed true that not many families watch ODI cricket but I feel this is the wrong solution. Reducing it to 40 overs a side just brings it more closer to t20/slogfest. Pretty soon we ll have tests and t20 which is just a BAD combination. There must be a middle groud for the players in a series.

Posted by aarifboy on (February 1, 2014, 14:28 GMT)

ODIs must be reduced to 45 overs per side.But if one has to decide between ODIs and T20s then ODIs can be reduced to 30 overs and T20s can be eliminated totally.

Posted by android_user on (February 1, 2014, 11:22 GMT)

I agree. Combine the 40 overs with allowing a bowler to bowl up to 10 overs and you have an engrossingly even match between bat and ball.

Posted by BHARATLIFE on (February 1, 2014, 7:27 GMT)

It is more of cricket vs other sport. How can we make it enjoyable for all audience. 40 over cricket more compressed, then more like T20 format. 50 over it is "On your marks, get set , GOOOOOO!!!" 40 over i think will be On you...,ge.... Gooo!!!!!" and 20 over is "Go Go Go ". You see people do not remember T20 games,"may be" they remember IPL/WC Finals, but that's about it.But 50 overs, the performances and games are one for the ages.It has every ,dull,drama,dooom,destruction of either yourself or your opponent.

Posted by   on (February 1, 2014, 5:48 GMT)

Mr Crowe what do you have against ODIs?I remember a couple of years ago you wrote an article suggesting ODIs should be finished altogather.I'l "keep it simple stupid" by saying the 50 over world cup is still the most prestigious prize in the cricketing world when it comes to limited overs cricket,then why this constant suggestions of just doing SOMETHING to this format?You think 8 hrs is too much and 6 hrs will be ok?50 overs a side gives the teams the best amount of time to start off construct an innings and hit out in the end and specially it gives the bowlers the time and the opportunity to come back and sort the damage at the start.By reducing the overs you are making this format a batsmans game too.I honestly dont know why some extremely good cricketers are such bad analysts of the game.Please do not try to make this format a slog fest because it is not.The socalled "fans" who want to see a slogfest and have just 4 hrs to spare can go and watch a t20 game.

Posted by ygkd on (February 1, 2014, 2:15 GMT)

40-over innings are less important than India. India have won two OD world cups. They love them. South Africa choke in OD world cups. They love tests. While India continues its love affair with the 50-overs stuff, that format shall continue. Whether it should be allowed to continue unabated, though, is a moot point. Maybe Crowe is right (he usually seems to be). In its current state ODI cricket is just unwieldy, over-regulated, lack-lustre and tiresome. Maybe India's loss to the Kiwis will help bring about change. Maybe India doing badly in next year's world cup will also be a blessing in disguise. Maybe India could be persuaded to allow only four bowlers rather than five (after all they, themselves, don't have that many good ones). Personally, though, I can't see how the game can sustain three formats. It is already infecting player development at youth levels. Jacks-of-all-trades, masters-of-none - that is increasingly what an extra two formats deliver. Just put a test on, please.

Posted by   on (February 1, 2014, 2:08 GMT)

Consider a rule for limited overs cricket called lose a wicket lose an over ( LAWLAO). This rewards bowling teams who can take wickets and hold their catches, and batting teams who don't give their wicket cheaply. So each team starts with a fifty over allotment. If a team loses two wickets they are down to 48 overs to bat; if you lose nine you're down to 41. So really each game goes for around 90 overs total between the two sides, depending on number of wickets lost. The same rule could apply inT20 but as a powerplay I. The last four overs.

Posted by empross on (February 1, 2014, 0:17 GMT)

Martin, this is a wonderful idea and exactly what needs to happen to ODIs. At the moment one day cricket has an uncomfortable mix of T20 and test cricket where the balance just doesnt feel right. 40 overs a side cuts down the tedious middle period without eliminating the benefit of building an innings. As for records, i dont see this being a problem - 15 years ago 250 was a good score in 50 overs, now 250 will barely be a good score in a 40 over innings...

Posted by Puffin on (January 31, 2014, 23:36 GMT)

I don't really see how reducing the ODI from 50 to 40 will help, it will still swallow up a day, it's going to be difficult to squeeze in two matches in a day. It'll be more an oversized, rather clunky T20. Leave it alone and cut out those endless ODI series that rarely repay their length with fascinating see-sawing contests.

Rather make more space for tests (no more 2-Test rubbers between major teams please). T20 is fine for bringing in the money but the cricket is too different in style from tests to make that comfortable without something in the middle as a bridge.

Posted by the-anti-mule on (January 31, 2014, 23:01 GMT)

ODIs should be down to 30 overs and then we can eliminate T20s altogether. Just have two formats. It will help players prepare better, has all the benefits of T20s and ODIs.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 21:48 GMT)

Yes, yes, yes! And as short a lunch break as poss! Get it done in 6 hours max, then you can have two matches a day in the World Cup - cutting the length of the tournament in half, while including more teams in more balanced games at less cost, allowing cricket to be seen in every time zone. With 40 overs, there are no boring middle overs. Rid of restrictions on bowlers' overs, too, and then we get rid of the crap, boring bits and piecers. Teams will pick one more specialist batsman. We want to see the best bowling, and the best batting - not part-timers. With flexible ticketing - cheaper second half - you will have way more people coming to the stadium for part two under lights. It will save a ton of money and make it much more appealing to the spectator.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 21:22 GMT)

I would probably agree with you. On top of that, I think we should make it a two-innings affair, i.e. two 20 over innings.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 21:09 GMT)

Let's hope not - really not.

The way things are going, cricket is becoming baseball under a different name and with slightly adjusted rules. The shorter the game becomes then the accent becomes smack every ball. Cricket's attraction is that it should be a fair contest between bat and ball (the 50 over rules are heavily in favour of the batsman already, I might add). But the balance of attack, defence, guile, pressure, some manouveeing room for good captaincy, being able to recover a little from some collapse - all of these exist quite nicely in the 50 over version.

Don't destroy this fine game.

So, Martin Crowe - let's hope not!

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 19:16 GMT)

I would say keep the ODIs simple like they were in the '80s....not many rules...not many complications. Get rid off T-20 and keep grounds large so that a six is special...Remember the '80s? Long boundaries...batsmen regularly running 3's and at times 4 runs? Stealing cheeky don't see that anymore. Make it more balanced between bat and ball. If you don't do that, regardless of the number of overs it will be boring.

Posted by Anubrata29 on (January 31, 2014, 19:16 GMT)

Though I think the 50 over game is still very much compelling at present but Mr Crowe has some valid points and we can certainly try the 40 over game and see how it goes. And all the 'learned' rule makers should also note that the experiment of using 2 new balls in a 50 over game has proved to be a failure. It defies logic when the art of bowling with and batting against the older ball is no longer a part of the game. I also believe that meaningless 2 test tours should be banned and between the top few sides 4 or 5 test series should be scheduled.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 19:15 GMT)

Nope, can't agree Martin. The 50 over format has everything - the graft start, the solidifying middle and the explosive end. Most teams are picking up the pace from 35 onwards, instead of holding back until 40. It's the perfect amount of time to build a narrative for an innings, and enough time for there to be tension for the second batting team and build a sense of 'will they/won't they'.

I'd rather see Twenty/20 go than the 50 ODI messed around with. It's not the game that's the problem, it's the incessant urge to fiddle with it all the time.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 19:10 GMT)

The only change that ICC needs to implement is use only one ball for the 50 overs a side game and bring back the dying art of Spin bowling. This rule was implemented by way of an excuse that white ball loses its color, but was primarily aimed at the countries which used spin as a weapon. The 42 overs a side match that Martin Crowe is talking about was not an entertaining game as he suggests because if it were only 42 over a side game then India would have easily won it and they would not have been stressed at all and also because India had to do catch up as per D/L method of scoring and so it was more entertaining.

Posted by cricketchopper on (January 31, 2014, 18:54 GMT)

I think one day game should be of 40 overs without any power play and field restrictions and even without any quota of bowlers, I mean one bowler can bowl even 20 overs if need from him. It would be justice with capability of those teams who are heavily dependent on few good players.

Posted by ultrasnow on (January 31, 2014, 18:31 GMT)

Perfect example of administering drugs to delay the inevitable. I sometimes think the best thing that has happened in modern cricket is that cricketers aren't allowed into administration by people who know nothing about cricket but are good at selling the product (cricket)

Posted by sab24 on (January 31, 2014, 17:57 GMT)

Why are people here saying that four bowlers rather than five are better for the bowling side and that the 'fifth' bowler is a hapless entity who gets galloped for runs? This can only come from someone who supports a side which packs down batsmen. Stronger bowling teams like South Africa, Pakistan and Australia do not have weak links in their bowling attacks, not even the fifth bowler because they either play five bowlers or they play good all-rounders. Going to a scheme which encourages a side to pick only 4 bowlers is titling the favor towards the batting side. Also, 40 overs are going to kill of all-rounders and it's going to once again result in another runfest format.

The problem with the 50 over game is not the length, but the context of the contest. Too many meaningless bilateral arrangements, 5 and 7 ODI series, small ground sizes and all the other rules which tilt the format towards the batsmen have all contributed to this fiasco.

Posted by Omar-Briganto on (January 31, 2014, 17:30 GMT)

I 100% agree with Martin, 40 overs will keep ODI cricket alive and interested. It will surely help ODI format survive, a brilliant idea no doubt.

Posted by Mavericksan on (January 31, 2014, 16:45 GMT)

I somehow in state of agreement and disagreement to the ideas in the article. As noone will ever b satisfied once over reduced it will be reduced to further 20 or perhaps to 10 in several decades later. Make series interesting and i like the idea of tri series. But I would like to add one enhancement in the scenario if in the tri series one team should be someone like ZIM BANG KEN SCOT AFG NAMB NETH and so on and take this game to new heights and new venues of above stated countries. This might solve the problems of cricket with respect to both economy and entertainingly.And wood also groom some teams if they got chance to grind with Top notch teams.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 16:42 GMT)

I don't care what happens - just get rid of 20/20 cricket which has destroyed true cricket, made an absolute mockery of it - its simply pointless, instantly forgettable rubbish that gives insane money to players that no longer care to hang around long enough to make centuries, and has made the specialness of seeing a boundary practically redundant. 6's should never, ever be the 'standard', but the shortest format forces batsmen to forget about all convention and go for it, and it is completely and utterly boring, just senseless, pointless, and already redundant to mine.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 16:23 GMT)

40 overs match will be more intresting and we will watch lots of action and suspense.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 15:15 GMT)

Should we not give a thought to the version Tendulkar suggested few years back? ODI with 40 overs each side. This way the middle sibling with be between the other 2 formats. 4 Innings of 20 overs each. Giving a taste of both, Test match and 20-20.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 15:05 GMT)

I think it would be really fun to see limited overs matches with two innings of 20 overs per side.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 14:52 GMT)

The USA is launching a 40-overs domestic season for its leagues this year:

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 14:47 GMT)

One day cricket has the perfect balance between tests and t20s. Making it a 40 over game will make one-days more like the t20s. Love the format as it is now.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 14:27 GMT)

How about the idea of a T20 Test Match? I mean 2 innings of 20 overs per side. The side batting first if gains a lead of 50 runs or above, it can give a follow-on to the other team. How is the idea?

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 14:21 GMT)

I say get rid of 50 overs and 20 overs, and let's just play 30 overs. It is a nice compromise between the two.

Posted by android_user on (January 31, 2014, 14:08 GMT)

I completely agree. Especially at domestic level. 50 overs is too long

Posted by Manikap on (January 31, 2014, 13:05 GMT)

Good point Mr. Crowe, current length for 1 day game is too long and unsustainable. But I think even total of 40 overs is too long and one day cricket should be made to last max 4 hours or may be slightly more. My suggestion- 32 overs in total, a bowler allowed to bowl 8 overs maximum, (so hopefully 4 decent bowlers or all-rounders doing all the bowling, a bad part-timer bowling 10 over quota now is not very pretty sight), 10 overs or may be even none power play at start and then max 5 players outside the circle after that - less complicated than situation now. With dugouts and shorter 15 min break between two innings, hopefully game is over in around 4:30 hours. this way, we can get rid of both 50 overs and T20 and have tests and 32 over matches (at least at international level).

Posted by Fabianbrandner on (January 31, 2014, 12:31 GMT)

40 overs a side, 6 overs power play up front with 4 overs that have to be taken latest by the 26th over also with just 2 out. Slightly smaller grounds with regulations on the bats and a tighter inner circle to not make it more difficult to score boundaries but make it more difficult to score singles and twos. I think what are discouraging people from ODIs are the games of 10 to 20 overs in the middle of just looking for singles, dry those up and force the players to be more aggressive but don't make it easier to hit the boundaries by bringing an extra fielder in. This should add onto the excitement of the game. You can save 40 minutes of both innings with the lesser overs plus reduce the break by another 15 or 20. This is surely a more interesting package to spectators and broadcasters

Posted by CricketPissek on (January 31, 2014, 12:15 GMT)

not sure how well this will work. i am worried making it 40 overs will make bowlers bowl even more defensively. it will become a game of containment for the fielding team, as 40 overs is a real struggle to bowl a team out. it may naturally become easier the same way you get teams all out in 20 overs too, but the transition may be painful to watch.

Posted by regofpicton on (January 31, 2014, 11:59 GMT)

When it comes to cricket, I tend to think that more is more, and I must confess to remembering 60 over cricket with much affection. But there is one point in favour of 40 over cricket that Martin Crowe does not mention - that scores made in 40 overs probably wouldn't be much different from those made in 50 overs.

Posted by neo-galactico on (January 31, 2014, 11:54 GMT)

Don't agree, 50 overs is just fine just the way it is. Administrators keep changing the format with ODIs more people in the circle, two white bowls on either side, powerplays etc. There's no need for all of that. ODIs have always had more spectators than Tests. Just let it be, ODIs are the bridge between Tests and T20s the middle overs a la Tests and the slog overs a la T20s. So don't push it towards T20s pls.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 11:29 GMT)

Can't agree really, just watched the 5th NZ/India ODI and the fantasmic batting by Kane Williamson (in particular) and Ross Taylor made the middle overs great to watch. If people don't like the middle overs of an ODI it's the players' fault for not actually playing/captaining well. Reducing to 40 overs will just create another set formula that will solve nothing. It's not the format, it's the players. Bat like a Kane.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 11:22 GMT)

40 overs ODI are not really a new concept I remember all ODI's in Pakistan use to be 40 overs a side up until the early 90's. While in England ODI used to be 55 overs a side. I think it should go back to where the home board can designate such things.

Posted by BionicBowler on (January 31, 2014, 10:57 GMT)

I agree with Martin. ODI cricket needs a new identity after 2015 world cup... I propose 40/40 5IVES Cricket to offer continual excitement and tension. The fans can see "who is winning NOW?" In addition to this 5IVES Cricket offers some extremely valuable enhancements: *It removes the bias inherent in the "toss" making the game fairer and more entertaining. *It can remove the need for complicated calculations such as Duckworth Lewis and net-run-rate calculations which can sometimes spoil the spectacle. *It reduces the number of washouts. *It offers a revolutionary points system boosting the entertainment. *It can remove the 20 or 30 minute "half time" interval which disrupts the entertainment. *It creates commercial opportunities that can be tailor made to sponsor's requirements. And 5IVES Cricket does this without compromising the integrity of the game. There are 11 players in a side. The batting side is "all out" after losing 10 wickets. The side with the most runs wins the game. et

Posted by kiwicricketnut on (January 31, 2014, 10:45 GMT)

no i can't agree, 50 overs is the perfect balance between tests and t20 cricket, are peoples attention spans really that short nowdays, it is a fantastic day out with friends or family at an odi, my kids are a bit young to go just yet but i got a huge buzz going to the one dayers when i was a kid, the odi game has some silly rules that need to go but there is no need to reduce the overs, in 20 more years will we then reduce it down to thirty overs as the playstation generations attention span no longer lasts 40 overs, where does it stop, those records that crowe doesn't seem to matter, matter an awfull lot if you ask me and the time frame is just fine, whether its 7 or 6 hours is irrelevant its still a day out of your life to go watch the cricket and if you're a fan you will

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 10:22 GMT)

Maybe 30 overs. Then wouldn't need 50 over or T20 games. and still over in a reasonable time.

Posted by ChristopherG on (January 31, 2014, 9:48 GMT)

The domestic 40 over game has been successful and popular in England the 1960's. This year, it has moved to a 50 over game. The reason that we are given is that it is more beneficial for the England team for players to play domestic competitions which are the same format as those played internationally. The impression that I am given from talking to those more involved in the administration of cricket is that the counties did not want to make this move but were forced to agree to it as a sop to the ECB for being allowed to retain/introduce other measures that the counties deemed to be important in the rejigging of the English competition structure.

I'm not so sure, though, that the 40 over game would be better for international matches - for many, they are one-off days out and what better than to spend the full day watching cricket.

I do fear, however, that the 50 over game will ultimately fail and 40 over cricket will be foisted on us in the format of 2 x 20 over innings per side

Posted by Leggie on (January 31, 2014, 9:16 GMT)

Continued from previous post...

Sanjay Manjrekar had also voiced his opinion along similar lines sometime ago, and the link to that article is here:

and please check out who "The Leggie" says then ;-)

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (January 31, 2014, 8:55 GMT)

test cricket needs urgent change in approach bcz no sponsors for WTC. Why? Only 2 countries love test match and 5 days, 7 hours per day makes young generation feeling boring. But 50 overs WC generates billions of dollars. 40 overs cricket may or maynot works, but now 50 overs are fine.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 8:33 GMT)

T 20 Cricket has done a great job of ruining Crciket. Test Matches are great and 50 overs is the right amount of One Dayers. No need to reduce 50 over Cricket to 40 overs Martin Crowe.

The ICC should elimiate Hit and Giggle T 20 Crciket altogether.

Posted by ahmadchouhdary on (January 31, 2014, 7:41 GMT)

I don't think it will be good for cricket. Cricket has already lost its charm due to the emergence of T20's. If ODI's will be limited up to 40 overs, it will be disaster for cricket.Because international teams are showing very little interest in test cricket. ICC must do some endorsements for the better of test cricket, in spite of restricting ODI's to 40 overs.

Posted by OldBertie on (January 31, 2014, 7:26 GMT)

I'm afraid I can't really agree here. The 50-over format is my favourite (besides Tests), and I think its most important attribute is the middle overs, where the game is so often won and lost. While the point about the length of the day mattering for families is a good one, people have been going to only portions of cricket matches for as long as the game has been around. I think if we were to reduce ODI cricket to 40 overs, all we would be doing would be extending the slog overs. If I want to see a slog-fest, I'll go to a T20 match. This is the sort of thing that gets trialled all the time at state level, and it's never been successful. I don't think we can be introducing new rules like this to the international game without trialling them at a lower level first, and if the aforementioned trials experienced success, why haven't we seen a push for this at the international level? Because it doesn't work.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (January 31, 2014, 6:33 GMT)

Could be a good idea from Crowe.

Posted by Extra...Cover on (January 31, 2014, 6:32 GMT)

Great article with great ideas. 40 overs would definitely make the ODI format more attractive, exciting, and manageable from a fan/family perspective. While in brainstorm mode, perhaps: (i) white ball day night tests (to align better with a work day while getting rid of bad light as a reason to leave the field; (ii) wifi at more stadiums (for those that can take their office with them); (iii) instead of a test championship, a four yearly tournament pitching sponsored supranational franchises against each other (without the kind of country bias in the IPL) a la Kerry Packer; (iv) etc etc. Regrettably the current bunch of administrators seem more inclined to pursue power grabs and focused on the size of their slice of the current pie rather than growing the pie.

Posted by android_user on (January 31, 2014, 6:09 GMT)

Don't know if it would be good bcoz but some changes need to be made :

1) Teams to decide whether they want 2 balls at the beginning from different ends OR the 2nd ball in the 35th over or maybe anytime when they want to replace the first

2) Only 4 fielders on boundary and 2 bouncers allowed ( as it is now)

3) Introduce bowling PP where fielding side can have 5 fielders on the boundary (5 overs)

3) Batting PP to be taken before 40th over and Bowling PP can be taken anytime.

This will mean that in countries like India where it doesn't swing much teams can use the old concept of taking 2nd ball in the 35th over. Bowling PP will allow teams to have 5 fielders on the boundary when they think they need it to curb fast scoring of runs. This would ease the pressure on bowlers and definitely bring down the totals of 280-300 down to atleast 250

Posted by mrwolverine on (January 31, 2014, 5:45 GMT)

I think it is time to make it 40 overs. I felt they should have done it right after the last world cup. I mean You can go back to a one ball for both ends instead of 2. Going back to the old rules is the right way to go. The first 15 overs should be the powerplay and nothing else. You can keep 5 men inside the circle until the 30 over. Then between 30-40 overs you can keep only 4 men inside the circle. That will allow the bowlers to get back into game. And keep it balanced. If T20 cricket only needs 6 overs of powerplay, why not just 15 overs for a 40 over game? Think about it, 6/20 is about 30% of the overs. 15/40 is about 37.5 % off the overs. Making the batsmen earn their runs and protecting the bowlers will work overall.

Posted by gibbons on (January 31, 2014, 5:37 GMT)

Bears thinking about. I think shortening tests to 4 days would be neither here nor there, if you don't like tests, a slight tweak won't make much difference. ODI games, maybe, particularly if it puts most of the game in the post-work hours (for weekdays). I think 30 is too short - too close to T20, and too little time for a batsman to get set and make a decent innings.

I'd like to see more in the pitch for bowlers as well - we seem to have developed this idea that more sixes means better cricket, and scores of 300+... even 350+... lose meaning when they're routinely chased down. It's hardly surprising players are stacking up batting career records like it's going out of fashion, when you can hardly find a bowler with an economy rate under 5.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 5:22 GMT)

Test cricket should be played for 5 hours a day or 80 overs a day, two sessions of 40 overs each with one session break and over the course of 4 days. Always starting on a thursday. Free entry to people aged below 20 years provided there are seats available. And of course on lively pitches.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 5:19 GMT)

After I read this article, suddenly a thought came in my mind. How about reducing Test match to four days? How about giving equal of 90 overs per side per an innings? If the bowling side are able to get the batting side allout before their allotted 90 overs, then the remainders of their overs should be given to the bowling side . That means 90 + remainder from the other's 90. Just a thought. This will make the test cricket lively

Posted by Udendra on (January 31, 2014, 5:09 GMT)

Test match duration should not be altered. After all it's test cricket. I agree with the 40 over idea.

Posted by manisacumen on (January 31, 2014, 5:00 GMT)

Martin, I was thinking on the same lines a few days ago. you just stole my thunder and of course with greater reason. For me, the reason was that lot of boredom sets in in the middle overs when the batting team is doing exceedingly well and the game just meanders till the slog overs start. So 40 overs would be ideal from that angle. And all 40 match overs will be exciting from start to finish and yes the artificial restrictioins should go.

Having said that i have been a die-hard fan of the 50 overs format. It has its own thrills esp when the match is evenly placed and the pitch is doing a bit and the target is 250-280. So it is a bit difficult to give up the format. So the heart doesn't want to recommend a switch over; however if it comes to that I will gladly accept the 40 over format.

And the forty over format could also be experimented with 2 innings of 2 20 overs each per team per innings

Posted by ShutTheGate on (January 31, 2014, 4:53 GMT)

Perhaps the summer after next they should trial a 40 over 3 team series.

Posted by jordan_nofx on (January 31, 2014, 4:49 GMT)

well said Martin,

In addition to this test matches should be 4 days of 100 overs. 1st innings are limited to 120 overs per side while second innings are still kept at unlimited. New balls are 60 overs. The strategy of conserving wickets for a final blast in ODIs will be there as a team starts the second morning with wickets in hand and 20 overs to get to a decent score. Teams that play aggressive cricket will be rewarded, while teams that block will suffer. There will be so much strategy involved in using the 120 overs effectively. Most teams dont bat 120 overs these days anyway so it wont make much of a difference. Another thing that could be considered is instead of a captain winning the toss, a coin is flipped and heads australia bat and tails australia field

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 4:44 GMT)

Test Cricket is necessary.. It should be played for five days. And reducing 50-over to forty doesnt make sense. However change one rule... Allow five fielders on non power play basis. 50-over brings right balance. It gives the batsmen to settle down and make an impact. Why you r talking about forty over is - since T20 is on a role, you can split into two parts 20-20. But a true cricket fan and Analyst would certainly love 50-over cricket except the new rule - four fielders at deep on Non Power Play basis.

50 over cricket should survive. If this trend continues at one stage, we would have 5-over cricket.

Posted by 9ST9 on (January 31, 2014, 4:29 GMT)

First of all I agree that the constant rule tampering has done more bad than good - the casual fan get's really confused watching ODI cricket with powerplays and stuff.(and naturally switch to T20) Back then the 15 over field restriction was straightforward and easy to understand. But from the sense of reducing the number of overs it seems a regular pattern first it was 60 overs then 50 overs , and now Martin suggests 40 overs and if it does realize how long till it become 30 and gradually it becomes 20? by that time it will be only T20 cricket. However the 30-35 over concept is not too bad either think of the recent rain shortened 30-35 overs matches most of them were rather interesting and provided much more context than a simple t20 slogout.

Posted by sifter132 on (January 31, 2014, 4:13 GMT)

Spot on Martin. Have always thought 40 overs was best, but I would also add that I would stop T20s being played internationally. Keep T20 for states/counties/franchises, have white ball cricket at 40 overs, and that will help free up a week of the schedule that is devoted to a pointless 2 or 3 match T20 series. Perhaps still have regular T20 tournaments internationally, but the short bilateral series prove nothing.

Posted by Ryan_H on (January 31, 2014, 3:31 GMT)

I agree. And we should tone down test cricket to 4 days and lively/ result oriented pitches. Time to catch up with the times.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (January 31, 2014, 2:39 GMT)

Make it 30 overs and abolish T20 and 50 overs cricket

More time for tests and fewer games overall

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