One-day cricket’s not dying, it just needs to act its age

Baldrick44 Roar Rookie

By Baldrick44, Baldrick44 is a Roar Rookie


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    In last summer’s One-Day International cricket season, Mark Nicholas would frequently point out the new innovative batting and bowling Powerplays.

    These enforce five overs in which the fieldsmen had to be close to the bat rather than patrolling the boundary.

    According to Nicholas, who sometimes seems like a PR spokesman for the Rules Committee, this would add a radical new tactical element into the game.

    Mark Taylor, often the voice of sanity during Channel 9 commentaries (though less so during their product plugs), would examine the fact that these power plays could be counter-productive. When a wicket would fall during these periods of tactical innovation, Taylor claimed that sometimes you can over-think the game.

    It’s a lesson that could be taken to heart by the Rules Committee and everyone else trying to push 50-over matches.

    If the three types of cricket were people at a bar, Test Cricket would no doubt be sipping on a fine scotch while entertaining people of all ages with his raconteur wit and elegant ways. T20 would be downing tequila shots with his entourage, about to go to some happening VIP nightclub in the city.

    But one-day cricket… well it’s over 40 but still trying to look 25. It’s scared that it doesn’t have the depth of character that Test cricket does, so it keeps on altering itself to seem fresh and interesting.

    But as most young teenagers will tell you, there is nothing good about the middle-aged trying to seem hip.

    Other commentators have complained of ‘one-day fatigue’- that one day cricket matches now saturate the space before and after Test series, devaluing their place as a spectacle. There may be no such thing as a dead rubber Test, but one-dayers often do have the feeling of going through the motions before a long trip home.

    Yet another complaint was the tedium between overs 15 and 40. For too long batsmen would bash and crash their way until the field went out and then consolidate their territory, waiting for the final push at the 40 over mark. The reaction to this was the new fangled powerplay system which required 10 overs with the field up between overs 10 and 40, usually taken from overs…11-15 ( by the bowlers ) and 36-40 ( by the batsman ). Net result- a whole five overs less tedium!

    Perhaps part of the problem is that in the 1970s, one day cricket made its name by being packaged as a product – in its case, World Series Cricket. As such the health of one day cricket has not been measured so much by the quality of cricket, but by the crowds or by the logistical success of events like the World Cup.

    Maybe, because of its roots as a product, the health of the actual sport is being lost to ways to entice crowds and keep them abuzz.

    So is the fight for one-day cricket a lost cause? By no means. But people who run it have to accept that it cannot compete with the wham-bam style of T20. It can no longer just rely on big sixes, big scores and cheap gimmicks like Powerplays.

    What One Day cricket does have is international legitimacy – something that T20 is still striving for. While few care for domestic one-day competitions over T20, international one day competition still holds weight. However the ICC World Cups and Champions Trophies are too far apart and the tri-series are often forgettable.

    Perhaps an idea, then, would be for a One-Day International League, with each won series counting towards a league table win. Bonus points would be awarded for clean Sweeps, or for series wins of 4-1 in a five-match series.

    At the end of the four years (not in a Cup Year) the two best teams would play off in a final. This system could easily work among the minnow countries as well, and help ascertain qualifiers for the next World Cup.

    One-Day International cricket has a good and prosperous future in front of it. But first it needs to act its age.

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    The Crowd Says (2)

    • April 28th 2012 @ 10:14am
      Damo said | April 28th 2012 @ 10:14am | ! Report

      Completely agree on all counts. I still love one day cricket, but I think all forms of cricket need to alwyas play games that actually count/matter. Test cricket is probably the best, but the other two forms of the game play many matches that mean absolutely nothing. You’re not devastated when your team loses. If you even watch it.

    • April 28th 2012 @ 1:29pm
      Timmuh said | April 28th 2012 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

      Every now and then I find myself reluctant;ly agreeing with Ian Chappell on somehting, and hating myself for it.
      The middle overs got labelled as “boring” at least in part because of a lack of captaincy. So often, neither team tried to break the game open in that period. The batting team is happy to score at a moderate rate not losing wickets, the fielding side to get through some overs with the 5th (and 6th often) bowler without conceding too many runs and is not looking to take wickets. So often, it becomes a time of intense predictability. In some ways it can be the set-up period for limiting, or enhancing, the final onslaught. But the 40 (55,60,40 and vaious other numbered) overs game was sold as the bash and crash game, which is clearly not the case any more and that side of its audience is lost.
      The game might regain some of that audience as captains start to think of ways to gain an ascendancy in that period – at its most basic, if the batsmen aren’t taking risks bring the field back in (with or without powerplays existing) etc.
      Powerplays are, in my view, actually a step backwards. It complicates things further, in a relatively simple (except if Duckworth and Lewis take control) form of the game for the average punter to follow.
      The domestic game trialled a “three man outside the circle” period between the 15 and 30 over marks at one stage. That seemed to work OK at the time, but there was no T20 then to compare against so whether it would help now is questionable.

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