The ICC will have to analyse factors that will help the game grow, writes Makarand Waingankar
In the past few months Shane Warne has kick-started debates on various ways to make the game interesting. Some of his ideas are revolutionary and merit acceptance only after on-field implementation.
The one which is now being discussed by some former international cricketing legends is the split of the 50 overs game into two innings of 25 overs each — the argument being what takes place in the 20 overs game, is what is usually seen in 50 ov ers with first 10 and last 10 overs creating excitement.
The rest of 30 overs, according to them, are very much predictable. Some have argued that it’s better to reduce the game to 40 overs rather than break the flow of the runs by having four innings of 25 overs.
Warne has advocated that the 50 over matches slot may be filled with T20 and Test cricket. Two extreme forms of the game indeed. The former 240 balls and the latter 2700 balls. Both formats are interesting but Test cricket is becoming more interesting as was seen in the Ashes.
In defence of the 50 overs format, the game has become exciting after the introduction of the batting power play. Previously in the absence of these power plays there was hitting in first 10 overs when the fielders were in the circle and attack in last 10 overs.
All the batting side was interested in was to keep the wickets in hand and then launch into an attack from the 40th over. With the fielders spread out, and bowlers bowling tight, the batsmen were compelled to run singles and twos but now with power plays the 50 over matches are getting exciting.
What could ideally be done is have balance in the number of T20 and 50 overs matches. Increase the number of Test matches and have overs of Test match restructured with 125 overs each in the first innings and 100 overs each in the second innings.
In any case hardly any Test innings is played for more than 125 overs because each team works on a video based strategy to combat the moves of the opposition.
Cricket might just be a game of bat and ball, but if the T20 format that only encourages the dominance of bat over the ball is given more days in a calendar year, it’s likely to lose its charm.
The authorities seem to be keen to have more of T20 as it is a perfect revenue generation module that fetches more money in less time. This temptation is the most worrying factor.
The ICC will have to analyse the factors that will help the game grow in the right direction.