Baby, bathwater

The future of ODIs seems to be the topic du jour — former greats have been taking its pulse and prescribing remedies ranging from booster shots to euthanasia; Harsha the other day argued a case for why we need the 50-over format to remain; and yesterday Cricinfo editor Sambit Bal tossed in a poll that has provoked a fair degree of interestingly mixed responses. Here’s the bit I agree with:

I’d start with not reducing overs, but matches. What one-day cricket lacks the most at the moment is meaning and context.

Right. A particularly apt comment at a time when, for no reason other than ‘contractual obligations’, India is off to Sri Lanka to play some meaningless ODIs. [And what do we do later this year? At least another ten ODIs, seven of them against one team and the other three against Sri Lanka again].

Ask the BCCI, and they will tell you this tour is intended to tune the Indian team up for the serious business of the Champions’ Trophy — and only that august body would have the gall to suggest that playing on the slow, low wickets of Sri Lanka is just what the team needs as preparation for South Africa.

‘Meaning and context’, Sambit prescribes — to a body that appears not to know the meaning of ‘context’.


6 thoughts on “Baby, bathwater

  1. It would be an understatement to disagree on either the ODI overkill or the futility of the SL tour. I can surmize my views on the august BCCI by extrapolating Jimmy Amarnath’s statement about the selectors to encompass the whole of BCCI. Add a vice — greed, to it as well.

    Instant gratification is what the world seeks.T20 provides it always while parts of an ODI may. It is like the goodness of slog overs sans the hard slow parts. ODIs are akin to committed relationships ; T20 is a quickie/booty call ;Tests are marriages. In this age of instant gratification your guess is as good as mine as to what will be more famous. But all 3 will prevail, just like in relationships..

    The problem arises when we want the same guy in all 3 formats. A mind that keeps thinking of a booty call is not so tuned for a marriage you see ! So it’s not the formats, it’s the need to make this a win-win proposition and ensure we have ‘mostly separate teams’ that cater to that specific need by pure meritocracy…

    From there on, Darwin’s survival of the fittest(populist maybe) kicks in for both the players and the formats.

  2. I strongly object to your last statement, which seems to indicate that the BCCI does know at least the meaning of “meaning”. Surely that’s not the meaning you meant to convey !

  3. I slightly disagree with you prem. And I disagree with most of the so called experts barring few. I do not understand why there is no interest left in ODIs? I think it is still exciting for me. May be coz I play ODIs in league in california but I still find it binding. Yes you need time for that but same is true for test and as I do for test, either I watch highlights or just follow on cricinfo, I do same for ODIs. I dont know from where this notion of ODIs are unnecessary started. I still dont find T20 as exciting as ODIs, specially while playing. You still need character to play ODIs but T20 is not pure cricket. I enjoy it but it is more like a quick bite which satisfies you for couple of hours and though ODIs is not the full course meal, it is still good to satisfy your appetite. I think bilateral series with 7 matches is overkill but i still like 3 or 4 or multinational ODI tournaments. Its just my opinion. Let me know what do you think.

  4. “Ask the BCCI, and they will tell you this tour is intended to tune the Indian team up for the serious business of the Champions’ Trophy”

    BCCI is the only cricket board that believes that cricket teams need practice/tuning for one-day tournaments but not test series. I remember one such series against West Indies before world cup, we all know how we did in that world cup.

    Instead, Had we scheduled some practice matches in australia before test series (last time we went there), we probably would have won that series.

  5. “Ask the BCCI, and they will tell you this tour is intended to tune the Indian team up for the serious business of the Champions’ Trophy”

  6. I would like to see all 3 forms of cricket co-existing as they are now. But as mentioned in your blog, the number of ODIs must decrease… and the number of T20s must not exceed the current standards. As such after IPL and T20 WCup, and upcoming T20 Cham League, it appears like an overkill of cricket, not just T20.
    Also there should be only T20s or ODIs (not both) in each bilateral series; of course test matches must headline the series (bilateral). Make it a 5 test series than just having 2 tests, or 1 off test matches which helps no cause.

    Meaning: It is something which ODIs are losing, someone needs to reframe the meaning of ODIs (your blog on discussion with Harsha, throws light on that meaning, ODIs act a step (transition phase) between T20s and Tests for any upcoming cricketers…)

    Context: Obviously I would not be interested to watch an ODI series in SriLanka or India during a rainy season, where rains spoil the fun of most of the matches… I strongly feel there should be a good number of ODIs before any major event, viz ODI World Cup or Champs trophy, so that every team is well oiled and in good form… That will eventually increase the fans interest in these major tournaments.

    Tests: They are the best, provided the boards plan for test matches with respect to weather, teams, and not TV ratings, for god sake this is not a ‘Fake’-reality show which aim only at TRPs. Let boards plan for test matches at venues when rains are busy elsewhere.
    Cash rich board like BCCI can also setup closed Stadiums so that ODIs and T20s can take place without any interventions from Rain…

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