Jul 9, 2008

Sport -ODIs to be shaken up

Afraid that one-day cricket might have ceded at least part of its charm to the game's slam-bang Twenty20 avatar, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is all set to tinker with the 50-over format.
ICC General Manager of Cricket Dave Richardson says he is not sure if the crowd, which lapped up Twenty20, has the same appetite for ODIs and he reckons the 50-over game may have to pave way for 40-over matches or even two innings of 20 overs each.
"The goal is to preserve all three formats. We have to preserve Test cricket as the pinnacle of the game. But are people willing to watch a 50-over game when T20 promises more action in less time? That is the challenge," Richardson told 'The Week' in an interview.
"So we are looking at two fresh options. We still feel broadcasters need content for seven hours...We need to get balance right and tinker with the 50-over format," he said.
Richardson said the 50-over game has evolved over the years and there are new proposals on the table to experiment with the format.
"The general feeling amongst cricketers is that the 50-over edition is not sacrosanct like Test cricket. It started off with 60 overs and then dropped to 55 and 50. Some countries are experimenting with 40 and 45 overs. The new proposals are firmly on the agenda. We will not promise anything, but it will be looked at quite seriously," he said.
Richardson, the former South African wicketkeeper, was of the belief that there are simply just too many one-day tournaments, which defy logic.
"I suppose you could say there were too many meaningless ODIs. They were generating revenue, but were of no consequence. Apart from World Cup it did not make a difference. The rankings upped a little bit, but not enough. There is a proposal to create some context for those ODI series," he said.
On Twenty20, Richardson said greed should not be allowed to kill the golden goose.
"The ICC believes that T20 is the saviour of domestic games and will leave it at the domestic level. The policy is that T20 should bloom in the domestic league and be played at a limited scale internationally. We do not want to kill the golden goose," he said.
Richardson revealed ICC, in its recent Executive Board meeting, discussed future landscape of cricket where the rising popularity of Twenty20 and private ownership of teams were debated.
"Domestic leagues playing Twenty20 cricket for the first time have become revenue generators and have invited worldwide interest. I mean IPL in particular. For the first time ever we have people wanting to watch, sponsor, broadcast and advertise a domestic league! That changed the current cricket landscape," he said.
Asked if franchisee-owned model posed any threat to the cricket boards, Richardson said, "No. The boards are still in control...To preserve international cricket there is no need to ban domestic leagues. We just want to ensure that the ICC's international events and bilateral tours are well promoted and worth watching."

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