Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Format's last theorem

The sun has got to Mike Selvey, the Guardian's estimable cricket correspondent. I know it was hot at the Rose Bowl, but he seems to have entered a fever-dream in which ODI number 3000 [for that's what it was] has somehow saved the format.

'If there's a fault in 50 over cricket,' he writes, 'it lies not, for example in the so-called boring middle overs, but in the number of ODIs that have been played over the past decade with little or no context'.

Fifty per cent right, Mike. It's both. What was noticeable at the start of the match was the complete lack of edge. The atmosphere was nothing like an Ashes summer. England big guns KP and Graeme Swann were barely engaged in the field. It was just another ODI - fun but nothing more. Robbed of context, it had little meaning.

Totals are also becoming anachronistic. When you've seen 200 scored from 20 overs, what's the excuse for 260 from 50? Pure tradition had Australia conditioned into thinking that was an acceptable score. The ease with which Morgan pressed the accelerator was credit to the fact he's touched by genius, sure, but it also showed how much T20 has changed the game. 260 at five an over - how challenging was that for a man bred in T20?

Selvey calls the idea of a two-innings T20 game 'a ludicrous extreme' and goes on 'quite why two T20 games would not do the job is beyond me'.

Quite why the dynamics of a two innings game have to be explained to a cricket correspondent is beyond me, too. Wake up Selv. It's over. This was ODI 3000. I'll bet whatever you like there aren't another 3000.


Dean @ Cricket Betting Blog said...

If they have any more test matches like the last one between West Indies and South Africa at St Kitts, he can start writing test crickets obituary instead.

I do agree it will be a challenge for someone somewhere (not sure who), to keep up an interest in 50 over cricket, when you can score nearly as much in a T20 innings, than 50 overs.

And finish the game in less time than one 50 over innings.

As daft as it sounds, T20 overkill could probably be the 50 over games best chance of survival.

It wouldn't be like cricket to ruin T20 by hammering it into the ground would it?

The Old Batsman said...

I was thinking about that quite a lot yesterday - I noticed that Selv's article got a lot of positive comments underneath. I think T20 - aside form very probable overkill - might just become so extreme in terms of power and speed that it'll be a bit divorced from other forms. So there's room for something between T20 and Test cricket. The question is what? I don't reckon it's just a less intense version of T20, which is essentially what 50 over cricket has become.