It’s time for cricket to scrap the one-day international
The least popular form of the game is floating in the corridor of uncertainty, writes Tom Clarke
The one-day international is, like Paul Collingwood’s career, on its last legs.
This gloomy verdict about the 50-over form of cricket has not just been drawn off the back of England’s 6-1 series defeat to Australia. The ODI has been the least popular form of the game for some time and now it is time to say goodbye.
Back in the 80’s and 90’s the ODI provided us with the crazy colourful kits and a new and exciting test of our favourite player’s ability. It also meant that Michael Atherton soon found he had more time on his hands.
But ever since the arrival of Twenty20 cricket on the international stage, ODI’s are seemingly abandoned in this middle ground between the glitz and glamour of T20 and the glory and tradition of Test Cricket.
It is floating in the corridor of uncertainty and it is about time it nicked one and walked.
Apologies for this horrendous sporting cliche, but it comes down to the fans. If you are a cricket fan then you love all forms of the game and for cricket die-hards there is nothing better than Test cricket – the way it should be played, as the purists say.
But we all know that in modern sport, love is way down the priorities list after TV rights, sponsorship and excitement. And that is the point. Twenty20 is exciting, it is fast, thrilling and gives us everything that ODI can but just in much less time.
Twenty20 ticks all the boxes of promotion and marketing and takes cricket to the masses. It also allows the top players to earn astonishing amounts of money via the IPL thus leaving the rest of us to get our fix of ‘real’ cricket via the Test arena.
One-dayers do still have some real purpose at county level for now but on the international stage it is time to say farewell.
We often revel in the most extreme forms of sport so why not have far more T20 games and give players more time between Test series’ by scrapping ODI’s all together?
Fans, both old and new, would still get what they want, the money-men would be satisfied and the players could really specialise in two extreme forms of the game.
This week ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat insisted the forthcoming World Cup will prove that there isn’t a demise of the ODI – the desperate PR of a man who knows that he and others must soon make some big decisions regarding cricket’s future.
This World Cup is the last chance for players and fans to show their true feelings for this form of the game. But even a marvellous tournament can’t save the ODI. It will, like a last wicket partnership with over a hundred runs still needed, only delay an inevitable and depressing end.
Let’s hope this World Cup is a brilliant spectacle of cricket, that it shows us some breathtaking action and nerve-wracking run chases. Let’s hope it shows the ODI in its best possible light because that would be the best way to bid farewell to this form of the game.