The Briefing

Everyone was so worried about the death of Test cricket, they forgot about ODIs

Won't someone spare a thought for the poor, boring middle child of the game?

Ben nice knowing you: not even the hero of the last World Cup can bring himself to care about the 50-over format anymore  •  Getty Images

Ben nice knowing you: not even the hero of the last World Cup can bring himself to care about the 50-over format anymore  •  Getty Images

Do you worry constantly if you're still relevant? Do you look at yourself in the mirror and wonder if people love you enough? Maybe you could do more to be more attractive to women. But then, what if that alienates the men? And are kids into you? That's not inappropriate to ask, right?
Oh god. It's all so difficult. What is to be done? Life is just unending existential dread.
This is cricket in a normal month. In July, a draft of the international-fixtures list for the next few years was revealed, and the anxiety intensified. Join us as we peek into the scary future.
The pep talk
Look, ODIs, we're not going to sugarcoat it. Your younger sibling can't keep gaining fans fast enough. The older one still has the affections of the aunties and uncles. You, well…
I know you think one great game at Lord's in 2019 was enough. But, listen, we've told you about your middle overs.
What do you mean what's wrong with them? The same thing that's been wrong with them for years. They're boring. For crying out loud, ODIs, how many times do we have to explain it to you? We gave you two new balls. We changed around your powerplays. We tried to manufacture astronomical scores. We even had Martin Guptill hit a World Cup knockout double-hundred in you, ODIs. Martin Guptill!
Everyone's getting sick of your crap. Broadcasters are cooling on you. Even Ben Stokes wants nothing to do with you now. Pull your stuff together before you get canned.
Crushin' it
Haaaah, T20s, waddup playaa! Rockin' dem Commonwealth Games. Nice! And look at all that real estate. You're really spreading yourself all over that calendar. The Big Bash League in January. Then the Pakistan Super League. Domestic windows for the Bangladesh and Caribbean Premier Leagues too.
And… uh, what? Are you serious? Basically a two-and-a-half month break from internationals for the IPL? You're kidding right? And IPL owners have bought up all the South Africa T20 league teams?
So, what you thinking? Year-long franchise contracts for players who'll essentially play for one employer across the different leagues? An even bigger window as the IPL expands to 12 teams? Chip implants so that cricket fans can only have IPL dreams?
Umm, we hate to ask, but are you sure you're not sucking up everyone else's oxygen, T20s? No?
Okay, we'll take your word for it. Can we have some money?
The prestige
Dear Test Cricket sir,
Please carry on as usual, sir. These useless cricket boards will only schedule two-Test series.
But we are sure the Big Three will do the needful, with their Virat Kohli shouting, and the Bazball, and the Pat Cummins dreamy spells, and eyes, and face structure.
Best regards.
Baz on Bazball
As many will know, Bazball took the English cricket media, and by extension every square centimetre of the multiverse, by storm in late June. But what does the prophet himself think about the phenomenon?
"I don't have any idea what 'Bazball' is," Brendon McCullum told Australia's SEN radio. "It's not just all crash and burn, if you look at the approach, and that's why I don't really like that silly term that people are throwing out there."
Yes, okay, but we all still remember that World Cup final innings. And that inaugural IPL innings. And your last Test innings. This didn't come out of nowhere.
SLC sadness corner
Usually the Sri Lankan cricket board is the digger of the ditches it so frequently falls into. This time, though, despite having recently successfully hosted Australia and Pakistan for bilaterals, the board was forced to move the men's Asia Cup it was due to host in August, to the UAE. This is mainly because of the inability to guarantee sufficient fuel to run the vehicles required to organise a multi-team tournament, as well as sponsors' unwillingness to bring their clients to crisis-hit Sri Lanka. The Lanka Premier League also had to be "postponed" due to the crisis, and the lack of sponsors, essentially.
There's a credible argument that SLC essentially acts as an extension of the worst aspects of Sri Lanka's government, and as such is complicit in the crisis. But right now, it's Sri Lanka's fans who will miss out on a major tournament at home. For that, there can be an unqualified lament.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf