50 Over Cricket… RIP?

India and AusIndia’s recent game against Australia was as dull as it could get, something you might have expected if you are not a die hard Indian cricket fanatic. The mighty Aussies were efficient; India had the talent, but lacked the firepower. They had the aggression, but lacked sustained performance. A 50 over game seemed too hot to handle for Dhoni’s side.

So in most ways, these games were just like all the other games India has blown against the Kangaroos in the past few ODI outings. But in one way the matches were different. It came as a bolt from the blue for newly baptized cricket lovers after the World Twenty20 – A sharp contrast to India’s highly successful South African Safari. The climate had taken a turn… for the worse. But the Aussie fightback was in a way, expected.

Though it would be fair to say that one shouldn’t read too much into one game, I’m afraid this series could end up shattering India’s dreams of holding on to the newly attained glory.

Tuesday’s one-dayer had its own share of boundaries and sixes hit all over, but still, it seemed like a never ending no-show by the men in blue. It was a slap on the face of cricket that a one-sided match was played after the electrifying Twenty20 event.

It would be a difficult task for the ICC boss, Malcolm Speed, to stick to his decision of holding ODI series, four times as much as Twenty20 games in a calendar year. Not only has the shortest form of the game created hot demand, it has thrown an open challenge to fifty over matches as far as satisfaction is concerned. In years to come, One-dayers may well run out of steam. Twenty20 seems capable of drawing huge crowds and the fact that it’s just a two and a half hour show works wonders for its popularity.

The 50-over game seems to have fallen flat with the cricket lovers getting a taste of international Twenty20 cricket. It has little scope of upsets and predictability go against it. The very best – that is, the unassailable Australians (who have not lost a single World Cup match in eight years) seem to have made the top spot their own, offering little scope for other sides to swap positions with them.

Though the new format is not flawless in any way, with several experts voicing their opinions against it, the dubious success of the inaugural World Cup cannot be disregarded.

Aman Kapoor