Saturday, May 03, 2008

The future cricket 4 (Half-and-half)

With the advent of Twenty20, what seems to be under the most threat is the full-day 50-over variety. Test matches continue to have their charm, albeit to a specialized and increasingly diminishing audience, but one-dayers seem to be in freefall. So this piece, and the one to follow in this series, focuses on messing up with the one-day version.

How do we get rid of the anti-insomnia pill that is the middle overs of a one-day international? The Twenty20 was one option the administrators came up with, but did we really need to truncate the game so badly? How can we play the whole day and still not have the middle overs?

Surely test cricket and some of its rules have something right about them? And Twenty 20, notwithstanding the criticism on the IPL and ICL, isn’t a n absolute evil either? So what happens when we mix test cricket with Twenty20? Well, to begin with, you get this post.

This suggestion is not dissimilar to the earlier one on limited overs tests. And it is something that one has heard whispers of in the past as well. Presenting, the two innings one-day international.

The simplest format for this would be to treat it exactly like a limited overs test, with twenty- overs per innings. But then that would become little more than playing two back-to-back twenty-five over shoot-outs, wouldn’t that? And attract weird names like (Twenty-five25)2 or 25x4 or just plain and useless Test 25. So let’s queer the pitch up a bit more.

To begin with, a team will have only ten wickets to play with between the two innings. So while they can treat their first innings like a Twenty20 game, they wouldn’t have much of a second innings. On the other hand, they can save wickets for a second innings bash, but could then run out of overs.

Secondly, bowlers will have a limit on the number of overs they can bowl in the match, but this can be distributed freely between the two innings. This means I can save an entire ten overs of my lead bowler for the second innings. Or bowl out my potential weak link in the first. So when will you bowl Muthiah Muralitharan? And Ajit Agarkar?

A third, more complex rule could be that the two innings need not be equally spaced. The toss-winning captain could, as with the limited overs tests idea, choose the length of each innings for both the teams, in five-over slots with a minimum of 10 overs per innings. So we could have one innings of 10 overs and one of 40. I can already see Shaun Pollock declining the captaincy.

Think I should stop this insane series? I have at least three more ideas to throw.

Earlier posts in this series

50Fifty

More new balls

Limited over tests

9 comments:

Alan said...

Well, I say keep the ideas coming! We seem to focus on the number of overs and fielding restrictions as the ways to 'change' the game but, as you've shown, there are lots of innovative ways to make limited overs cricket more intriguing.

The best things about your ideas is that they prolong uncertainty of outcome and deepen the strategic element.

For what it's worth - I am not on the ICC :-)), I like them. Keep them coming!

Chennai Super Kings Fan said...

Yeah.. your ideas surely adds the strategic element to the game.. But for a game to be successful, it has to be simple to understand.. I don't think bringing rules like this makes Cricket very complex takes it out of the popularity region of the common man..

- Robin

RamG R said...

Geetha,
No other sport has had so many varieties running. Th problem is that T20 and ODI have most things - so it’s logical that market forces will kill ODIs. What will save Test matches will be the cries of anguish from bowlers all around for some sanity! (I fervently hope!)
I don't think the structure of the five-day format needs to be altered. What needs to be done is just have a two-tier structure—India, England, Australia, and South Africa form the top-tier who play among themselves on a home-and-away basis, and the second tier has Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Pakistan, and West Indies who play on a home-and-away basis. You could have a five-year cycle after which the relegation and promotion can happen. This will make Test cricket more spaced out and the quality of cricket will improve. But ICC votes on all such issues, so keep your bowling fingers crossed!

Geetha Krishnan said...

Thanks, Alan.
Robin / RamG - I agree with both you.
Considering how the ICC and its cohorts are playing with the game, it really is difficult to predict what the next change will be. I am just having fun with these ideas - the best thing to happen to the game would be that nothing changes in the fundamentals of the game.

Straight Point said...

the popularity of any game depends on how simple it is to follow by mass...

though your ideas are thought provoking but work against this very norm...

Geetha Krishnan said...

Straight Point - like I said in my earlier response to Robin and RamG, I am just having fun writing these posts. Everything else is incidental. As for simplicity and its importance in sport, I reckon I'll save that thought for a rainy day.

Straight Point said...

geetha...

you have right to remain silent...coz anything you write can be held against you...even on rainy day...

;-))

Gurooji said...

But isn't the Twenty-25 that you propose an obvious precursor of baseball, in a sense?
And I think Chennai Super Kings can battle it out with the Mumbai Indians for the worst-named team in the league...

Geetha Krishnan said...

Gurooji - I don't know enough about the rules of baseball, but may be you're right.
As for the names, yes, these two are quite ordinary, but there is one name that, on deeper examination is just as bad. Which is the Bangalore team. The moment you say Challengers, aren't you implying that you are never the champion?