above: World Series Cricket threatened international cricket just how T20 cricket appears to be threatening the future 50 over cricket
New World Cricket Watch columnist Allan Ridgewell investigates exactly why we are witnessing the slow but imminent death of 50 over cricket.
One day cricket, the form that revitalised the sport some 35 odd years ago appears to be slowly dying, well that’s what I am led to believe anyway. Unfortunately it seems the media was telling people this long and hard enough for them to start to believe it. Not only that but so did the administrators. The end of 50 over one day cricket in England was a start, followed up by the end of the tri-series held in Australia every summer. If it wasn’t dying before then that’s a damn good way to start killing it. I remember last summer a one dayer in Melbourne having a touch under 30,000 spectators the media were beating it up “what a poor crowd, surely one day cricket can’t last” when a few days earlier it was a sell out crowd for a Twenty 20 match against the same opposition. That crowd was still bigger then any of the tests in England during the last two ashes tours. Simply because their grounds don’t seat that many people. Just because you half or one third fill an 80,000 seat stadium doesn’t mean it’s a poor turn out. It means your stadium is huge.
I love Twenty 20 cricket and play it religiously myself every weekend. It’s a fantastic spectacle and a great way to introduce the game to new people but it should never have been considered as a replacement for the 50 over game. That’s the equivalent of saying one dayers are an appropriate substitute for test cricket. One day cricket requires that little extra bit of craft, patience and calculation that expands itself into test cricket only in far greater detail. The tactical requirements of twenty 20 cricket are minimal, not saying the captain doesn’t have a job to do but it’s minimalistic when compared to 50 over cricket.
Twenty 20 needs to remain the spectacle that it is having 2 or 3 matches at the start or end of the summer season. We must see the return of the tri-series though for one day cricket to stay alive. I don’t care how hardened a supporter you are, no-one wants to see a 5 match series against Bangladesh or other minnows, so it won’t happen. Instead the minnows will not get to play against the top nations in world cricket at all. At least with the tri-series those teams would get the chance to play against 2 other top teams to gain experience, sure they have little to no chance of making finals but who cares. They gain the experience we get more matches to see therefore higher revenue for cricket and there should still be some really good games against the stronger touring side. And the arguments that the players are playing too much cricket is now moot with the IPL. Anyone who goes to play in the IPL cannot complain about playing too much cricket. But to combat that point we need to ditch the Champions Trophy. What’s the point of having a world cup and a champions trophy? The twenty 20 world cup can replace that. And that’s enough international Twenty 20 cricket. As far as 1st class twenty 20, then the champions league and IPL are awesome, great concepts and big crowd drawers. Not to mention a HUGE money spinner with the mass advertising that comes with it. But there is nothing wrong with that at all.
So all in all 50 over cricket can and should be played along side Twenty 20 not one or the other. There is room for both if we allow it but the administrators I believe have just about given up in most places – It’s not dying it’s being killed off.
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