ODI Cricket: A Lost Format

One Day International (ODI) cricket was introduced to get decisive results. The first ODI was played in 1971. As initially, it was a test match that was reduced to an ODI due to rain interruption. Since its inception, that format has been fascinating. More and more teams were fascinated by this short format. Afterward, the 50-over World-cup was inaugurated in 1975. The more concise form of cricket engages more significant numbers of fans rather than a longer format.

As the popularity of cricket gains reputation, especially in shorter formats, the demand for T20 cricket increased exponentially. Nowadays, there are lots of T20 cricket playing globally. However, there is hardly a window for international cricket. If there is some space for international cricket, countries are more likely to play T20i and Test cricket. What recently just happened is that the ODI is not preferred for the nations.

Let’s dissect the decline of ODI cricket.

Rise of Franchise Cricket

In 2008, after the successful inaugural tournament of the ICC T20i world cup, the first edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was launched. IPL changes the perspective of world cricket. It is more about glamour, entertainment, and money. Nowadays, more than a dozen leagues are played worldwide like; T20, T10, The Hundred, etc. Moreover, IPL will include two more new teams, and the tournaments will last for at least three months. After that, there will be too much franchise cricket, then how it is possible to engage ODIs.

T20 Leagues IPL

On the other hand, it is not hidden that ODI cricket generates less revenue than these leagues. So, it is too difficult for one to choose to play longer formats that are exhausted. Therefore, many players left international cricket or longer format to play only shorter format/franchise leagues. Furthermore, players quit their national duties to participate in these leagues, especially when ODIs are played. The recent example when the third and last decisive ODI was about to play between South Africa and Pakistan, their premier players left the team to play IPL.

The former captain of Pakistan, Shahid Afridi, tweeted that: 

Are Nations Serious About ODIs?

In terms of commercialization, one-day cricket is not safe at the moment. Investors are currently more interested in Twenty-Overs cricket than ODI cricket. That is why the cricket boards are more interested in conducting a series of twenty overs than the ODI series. We have the latest example of New Zealand and the West Indies. Here are some stats which shows how teams are prioritizing ODIs:

  • New Zealand, in their Home season  last year Have Played 16 International matches in which they only played 3 ODIs 
  • West Indies, In their Home season of 2021, Played 22 international matches, of which only 3 were ODIs. In addition to that, their players are more busy playing league cricket than playing with their nation.

That shows that the board is not interested in conducting an ODI series because they are not gaining as much as they gain through T20is.

ODIs only seem for ICC Tournaments

Pakistan CT 2017

Arguably, ODIs are without the tag of ICC tournaments barely got from the fans, except a few bilateral series. After the 2019 World Cup, only 63 were played in one year. In upcoming years, there will be more and more leagues, leaving almost no window to play international cricket. In the last couple of years, many teams have tended to play bilateral cricket with the format of T20i and Test. If there are some ODIs in the series, teams play with their B/C squad. These recent trends reveal that ICC and Boards are intended to play ODIs as for the international events. 

Future of ODI Cricket

As we have discussed earlier that ODI cricket is not safe now, the question that arises is what measures may be taken to revive ODI cricket again? ICC and Cricket boards Should play their role in the revival of ODI Cricket. ICC should introduce a new model for ODI cricket.

It is fair to say that Associate Nations would play a pivotal role in the survival of ODIs. ICC needs to emphasize the top-ranked teams to play with associate nations more cricket, especially ODIs. It would be beneficial for a lower-ranked squad as well as for the format. 

ICC Associate Nations

Moreover, ICC may reconsider its policy of fewer teams in the World Cup and Champion Trophy. Besides, each country needs to arrange a triangular series with one lower-ranked squad. It would help the other nation to boost their morale and competitiveness.

In the end, cricket is more about a sport rather than a fancy format. There is a dire need to revisit and rethink the revival of that format. That may be the right time to evaluate the right thing to do with ODIs. It would not be easy to survive that format because of the rapid rise of shorter formats.

Written by Okasha Khan and Ibtaihaj Yousuf

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