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Future of ODI cricket: 'Just take out that little middle bit,' say Khawaja, Finch and Zampa

Not all their team-mates agree - "I like ODI cricket, it is just enough time to do enough," says Ashton Agar

Is 40 overs the sweet spot? Both Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch think so  •  Getty Images

Is 40 overs the sweet spot? Both Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch think so  •  Getty Images

Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch feel that for ODI cricket to remain interesting, the number of overs should be brought down to 40 for each innings.
"I think I'd like one-day cricket more if it was 40 overs," Khawaja told ABC Sport. "I played Pro40 in England a few years ago when they were playing 40-over cricket. I really enjoyed it.
"I just think 50 overs is just that little bit too long now. T20 cricket is awesome. Test cricket is the pinnacle. I just feel like one-day cricket, if it could be 40 overs, I reckon that would just take out that little middle bit."
Finch - who recently retired from ODI cricket - agreed with Khawaja on 40 overs being the sweet spot, but expected the format to become popular around the time of the next World Cup, 50 overs or not.
"The same debate keeps coming up every few years," he said on the same programme. "When you're 12 months away from a World Cup, people try and find relevance. But then the World Cup rolls around, and it'll be bigger than Ben Hur again, and then another format will be on the chopping block."
But it's that middle period Khawaja mentioned, that Adam Zampa suggested needs a close look. "There's about ten overs in the middle that needs to be scrapped or something needs to be done with them, something a bit more exciting" he said. "Or, in between overs 20 and 30, there could be bonuses or extra free-hits, or something like that... make it a bit more interesting."
"Yes I think people get frustrated at, maybe it gets a bit too long, but I think that's just because of the advent of T20 cricket"
Ashton Agar
However, not all their team-mates agree with them. Ashton Agar, for example, said he liked the 50-overs-a-side format the way it has been.
"I like ODI cricket, it is just enough time to do enough," Agar said. "You know, ten overs [per bowler] is a lovely amount of bowling time. Fifty overs is a good time to bat, like it gives the guys lower down the order a bit of time if there's a few wickets that have fallen.
"Yes I think people get frustrated at, maybe it gets a bit too long, but I think that's just because of the advent of T20 cricket. So I like ODI cricket."
Alex Carey, meanwhile, said that "there's still lots of room in the game for one-day cricket for sure", and cited the example of the 2019 ODI World Cup, where "the atmosphere was incredible", for proof of the format's popularity.
In terms of solutions, Nathan Lyon had one: "One ball from one end, or both ends... stop giving the batters a new ball to hit," he said. "It's only 25 overs old, it's still hard, I'd like to see... bring reverse swing back, bring spin back into it."