During the fourth India-Australia Test in Ahmedabad, a discussion on the future of the sport ensued with worrying emphasis on the fate of the 50-over format as opposed to T20 and Test cricket.
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri suggested a lifeline for the format, “For One Day cricket to survive, I think it should be reduced to forty over game in future and the reason I say this is because when we won the World cup in 1983, it was a 60 over game. Then the attention span of the people diminished and it became a fifty over game. I think the time has come for it to become now a 40 over game. Evolve with the times. Reduce the format.”
Shastri, who was on air for the third session of the fourth day’s play, also worded his thoughts on the other two formats, which he believes are under no existential threat.
“T20 format I think is the key,” he said. “It is the injection the game needs to evolve. It’s the cash cow for the sport. But I think there also the bilaterals should be reduced. There are enough domestic leagues around the world that promote the T20 game. We should let those leagues happen and then have a World Cup, just in between. Very few bilaterals, if needed before a World Cup or something of that sort. Then you can sustain all three formats.”
On the longest format and the combo of all three, he said, “Test cricket will remain Test cricket and it should be given paramount importance. It’s the real thing. I think there’s a place for all formats within India. Especially in the subcontinent. Especially in places like Australia.”
Earlier during the match, wicketkeeper batter and also part of the Star Sports broadcast team for the ongoing series, Dinesh Karthik had also echoed a similar sentiment.
“ODI format has lost his charm. We may see the last World Cup later this year or maybe one more after that,” Karthik had said. “People wants to see Test cricket, which is the truest form of cricket and T20 for entertainment.”
In came a solid reference to further depict the agony of the oldest world championships format, “Test cricket is like art movies and T20 is commercial cinema. ODIs are present in no man’s land.”
“Take the example of Ben Stokes, the best all-rounder of the current times saying he is done with the ODI cricket. There is a fact that with a T20 World Cup scheduled every two years, countries will not be playing bilateral series anymore. There won’t be enough ODIs matches.”
India will host the 2023 ODI World Cup later this year in October-November. A tournament that is being viewed as a litmus test for the format with the growing concerns within the cricket community.