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.