Powerplays, the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) and free-hits have made 50-over cricket attractive and all these innovations have made the 2011 World Cup more exciting, says Dave Richardson, general manager (Cricket) of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Richardson, a former South African wicketkeeper, feels “constant evolution” is the best way to make the game popular and attractive in uncharted territories.

Richardson said cricket is the most adaptable to constant innovations.

“I am not aware of annual innovations, but cricket is the most adaptable if not the most flexible sport which is constantly evolving,” Richardson said as the curtains were about come down on the third World Cup in the sub-continent.

Richardson said the game has expanded, but the decision to cut down on the number of teams at the next edition will not affect cricket's globalisation that started 15 years ago, thanks to Jagmohan Dalmiya, who became ICC President in 1997.

Yet, even after 15 years, the same eight Test-playing nations, who made the quarterfinals in 1996, again qualified for the last eight in the current World Cup.

Too short a time

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat had recently stated that 15 years was too short a time for the game to expand.

“Fifteen years in the life of cricket is not a long time. What I am pleased about is that today many countries are playing cricket. Today some 105 countries are playing organised cricket and 15 years back the number was 30 or 40. That shows the game has grown to a large extent,” said Lorgat.

“It will take fair amount of time and what we can do is focusing on those teams who are close to breaking into top competitions, for example Ireland. But to be fair cricket is a game where team needs time to rise to the top and the fact is teams, those who are on the top are taking the game forward,” said Lorgat. — IANS

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