Virat Kohli, for one, did not see the merit of playing the fifty overs format in the year of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup. That was last year. But has anything changed, looking at the itinerary ahead?
The fifty over game recently celebrated its still relatively young fifty years old story last week but without as much as a blink of notice, let alone fanfare. Birthed as a novel form of entertainment back in 1971 during a rained off Test, the one-day internationals came to occupy a center position on the stage. That was until a decade ago when the Twenty20 came to become the golden goose and catch the prize.
For boards such as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Twenty20 was a reluctant stepchild whose own devious means to capture a fair share of the monetary market made it suddenly the child the sport had always wanted. For the International Cricket Council (ICC), the Twenty20 had become their way of holding their own against this uprising of club level Twenty20 tournaments around the world and also, as a crutch to keep their global ambitions alive in their vain attempt to keep the aspiring associate members happy for participating opportunities.
Kohli, already complaining about an extended workload in international cricket, was categorical about the fifty overs game being a waste of time in a year when the cricket teams were to play in yet another edition of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in Australia. However, while the pandemic put paid to the World Cup, the IPL went ahead, showing the money invested versus money earned scenario blatantly revealed by the intentions not only of the BCCI but also, Cricket Australia who preferred to host a bilateral tour with India rather than host the World Cup, the pandemic rise, not the only problem but also, the return on investment.
With the pandemic having thrown the ICC’s plans out of gear, there is now the prospect of consecutive years of World Cups, Twenty20 being at the forefront of it. With the ICC forced to appeal the BCCI in lieu of the cancelled of the ICC Champions Trophy and CA still keen to host the Twenty20 World Cup in another year, there is almost a sense of redundancy to the concept of a World Cup even before the circus has begun.
There were also issues when the Asia Cup, which eventually did not get underway either last year, was converted from a fifty overs format to a Twenty20 format to serve the purpose of a warm-up to the big event, that perhaps the fifty overs format is being given a rather step-motherly treatment. Considered an important bridge between being a cricket aspirant and being a member of the top league of cricket playing nations, the associate members have been up in arms in vain to prevent the ICC, under duress, to cull them from participating in the fifty overs World Cup format which is still considered prime property when it comes to World Cup legacy in this format.
While the World Cup might be considered the pinnacle of multi-team tournaments in the game of cricket, the ODI’s might continue to feel the squeeze as cricket makes up for the lost time.