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The Roar


Limited overs: The single-use plastic bag of cricket

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16th November, 2018

The spread of dispensable short-form cricket is the greatest threat to mankind since hyperbole. Not only is it clogging our environment and harming human interest, it is endangering wild animals, like Glenn Maxwell.

With another frivolous T20 following November’s incongruous three game ODI series, we are forced again to discuss this uncomfortable epidemic. Apologies for tainting tonight’s clash between Australia and its traditional rival in the format, the contractually obliged.

Studies show meaningless limited overs matches – officially defined by the CSIRO as lightweight cricket of less than 100 overs in thickness – have rapidly multiplied to crisis levels in recent times.

2018 has seen further worrying increases, with 125 ODIs, 76 T20s and 3.2 million franchise matches played, three of which can be recalled if posed as a multiple choice question.

Such is the proliferation, many say limited overs pyjama cricket has become much like plastic bags, only in greater numbers and with less substance.

D'Arcy Short walks out to bat.

D’Arcy Short walks out to bat. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

However, this was always inevitable considering Test matches are famously known as the trusty biodegradable cardboard box of cricket.

While there are many theories for the multiplication of ODI and T20 cricket, most experts blame the moment cricketers became soulless automatons. This time is also commonly referred to as the professional era.

This period has seen administrators freely exploit cricketers by forcing them to work for millions and millions of dollars, leaving slews of limited overs cricket clogged between any 12 hour gaps in the schedule.


Series are usually of a heavy plastic nature, meaning – despite hurried manufacturing – they are extremely difficult to dilute. While some meet environmental standards, most simply wash up in front of empty stadiums.

However, limited overs cricket can be rescued if it follows plastic bags.

Thankfully, legislation has seen a reduction in almost 3.2 billion plastic bags a year. This equates to nearly half the T20s played annually on the subcontinent, and a quarter of the naming sponsors they cram in to a series name.

While a large number of these matches do provide work to around 30,000 banished West Indians, only 0.001 per cent per cent of fixtures find their way into the public conscious.

Nowhere is this comparison between plastic and limited overs cricket more stark than Australia, where its short-form teams are strewn across formats and used to store nick-nacks and droppings.

International administrators are attempting to remedy this with an ODI championship in coming years, while at home, authorities have adopted measures by forcing Australians to pay for plastic cricket.

Nevertheless, there is silver lining for suffering fans of the green and gold.

With iPhones and 280 character restrictions in full cry alongside saturation limited overs cricket, their side’s awful form is more easier to forget than ever.