On March 17, Team India faced off against Australia in the first of a three-match ODI series in Mumbai. However, the relevance of the format was once again called into question, despite the upcoming 2023 World Cup. With the rise of T20 cricket and the proliferation of franchise leagues worldwide, many players now prefer short-term contracts over representing their country, putting the future of ODI cricket in jeopardy.
The retirements of players like Ben Stokes and Trent Boult giving up his national contract for New Zealand to play in overseas T20 leagues have left the 50-over format gasping for breath. Meanwhile, T20 cricket has become a rage, and Test cricket is finding its feet again with the World Test Championship.
Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, who suggested a dynamic change to the format many years ago, reiterated his stance for the format to break into four innings of 25 overs each rather than two of 50. This change would break the monotony and reignite people’s interest in the format. Tendulkar also noted that two new balls have eliminated reverse swing, which was a defining feature of ODI cricket in the 2000s and 2010s, and has shifted the game heavily in favor of the batters.
Speaking at India Today Conclave, Tendulkar said, “It’s getting monotonous, without a doubt. The current format, which has been there for a while now is two new balls (per innings). When you have two new balls, you have kind of eliminated reverse swing. Even though, we are in the 40th over of the game, it’s just the 20th over of that ball. And the ball only starts reversing around the 30th over.”
“That element (reverse swing) is missing today because of two new balls. The current format, I feel, is heavy on bowlers. Right now, the game is becoming too predictable. From the 15th to the 40th over, it’s losing its momentum. It’s getting boring.”
The esteemed Indian cricketer stated that this alteration would not only enhance commercial viability but also introduce three innings breaks instead of just one.
“So, both teams bowl in the first and the second half. Commercially too it is more viable as there will be three innings breaks instead of two,” he added.
India is set to host the 2023 edition of the World Cup, and there is a great deal of anticipation surrounding this marquee event. The hope is that it will reignite interest in the format and draw audiences back to the sport.
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