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Withdrawal of South Africa from the Australia One-Day International series scheduled to be played earlier next year, the sudden retirement of Ben Stokes from the ODI format, the Asia Cup, which was played for 50 overs, now converted to 20, and Joe root playing his international ODI this summer with a huge chasm of nearly one year has questioned the future of the 50-over format. Startling remarks from ex-cricketers who used to rule this format have added fuel to the fire. Let’s examine what the reasons behind it are and what are the paths forward to it.
Fans and their affection for the ODI format
ODI cricket was thought of and is thought of as an amalgamation of both test cricket and t20 cricket. We see the ball swinging like a red ball in earlier overs of the match, and we also witness the magnificent hitting in death overs. Fans witnessed enormous moments of thrill and suspense in this format, whether it was the 2019 world cup Final Or the semi-final of the 2015 world cup (NZ vs SA). ODI format has a rich history of captivating its fans.
Mushrooming T20 Franchise leagues and their impact on ODI cricket
The reason for South Africa’s withdrawal from the ODI series in Australia was as it clashes with their new T20 franchise league. With the mushrooming T20 franchise leagues interfering with the already-packed international schedule, and with the sponsorship and the interest of the money bags, this wasn’t a surprise.
Recently many teams sent their B teams to play with other countries as their players preferred to play IPL rather than International cricket. Neither any cricket board raised the questions against it nor any senior players as Money speaks. Apart from franchise cricket, the International T20 matches schedule suggests that ODI cricket is going to be extinct.
Pakistan is set to play seven t20s with England as a redressal to last year’s opting out of England due to security concerns. Moreover, Pakistan is slated to play 55 T20 Internationals, 49 One-Day Internationals, & 29 Test matches during the 2023-2027 cycle of ICC’s Future Tours Program. This gives an idea of how the ODI format is going to be treated in the upcoming years.
Not Test cricket but the future of ODIs looks uncertain
We were worried about TEST cricket’s future but the future of the format looks uncertain! In the future, we may see several cricketers preferring to stride away from this format. A total of 74 ODI matches, containing the ones played by associated members, were played last year. Micheal Vaughan, who played 86 ODI matches in his nine years of international career, believes that ODI matches will be organized only in the 50-over World Cup, which takes place every four years.
“In all that, it’s very difficult to proceed with 50-over cricket as well. It may be that the only 50-over cricket that will be played will be every four years at the World Cup”
Comments from One-Day International cricket greats regarding the current Situation
Former Pakistan legend Wasim Akram wants ODI cricket to be ditched permanently since it has become a “run-of-the-mill” thing and wants the officials of the game to make adequate changes in the format presently.
Akram’s statements came on the backdrop of Ben Stokes announcing his retirement from ODIs.
“I reckon so (ODIs should be scrapped). In England, you have full houses. In India, Pakistan, especially Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, one-day cricket you are not going to fill the stadiums,” Akram was noted as saying on the Vaughany and Tuffers Cricket Club podcast.
“They are doing it just for the sake of doing it. After the first 10 overs, it’s just ‘OK, just go run a ball, get a boundary, four fielders in, and you get to 200, 220 in 40 overs’ and then have a go in the last 10 overs. Another 100. It’s kind of run-of-the-mill,” expanded Akram.
The statement of Wasim Akram, who has more than 500 wickets in this format, clearly shows the Vexation and Weariness of ex-cricketers from this format.
Usman Khawaja has offered his assessment of the current status surrounding the different cricket formats:
“My personal opinion – I know a rarity of the guys are very similar – you’ve got Test cricket, which is the pinnacle, you’ve got T20 cricket, which has leagues around the world, great entertainment, everybody one loves it, and then there’s one-day cricket. He further expanded
“I feel like that’s probably the third-ranked out of all of them. I think one-day cricket is dying a slow death…there’s still the World Cup, which I think is fun and it’s enjoyable to watch, but other than that, even personally, I’m probably not into one-day cricket as much either.”
Ways forward to save ODI cricket
Fans still are waiting for the higher authorities to do something to save this fascinating ODI format. Many ways have been suggested to confront the current turmoil. Ravi Shastri’s statement has received enormous hatred from fans as he suggested
“You cannot have 12 or ten teams,” Shastri said of the current format. “You keep the test cricket to top six, keep the quality, and respect quality over quantity”
Synopsis of the fan’s remarks is to cut down the number of t20 internationals to cope with the danger prevailing over the umbrella of ODI cricket, and that is only the situation. Moreover mushrooming expansion of franchise cricket needed to be controlled as soon as possible.