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10 Sep 2009

Finding Meaning In One-Dayers

With all these discomforting talks going on about ODIs being past their prime, I have been asking myself what exactly is it about ODIs that I don't want them to die out. Am I just refusing to give up something I have enjoyed so much for as long as I have been following cricket? Or do ODIs still have something to give to the game?

Shane Warne thinks we don't need them anymore. Harsha Bhogle has a point when he says "If you remove the ODI from the mix, the gulf between T20 and Tests, from a batting point of view, becomes way too vast, and over time you end up with a situation where players are good enough to play either the one or the other."

Peter Roebuck thinks There Is Life In The ODI Yet. While Dileep Premachandran calls for an overhaul.

There has been a lot of talk about ODIs needing "a context". Lots of ideas are being thrown about. No more bilateral series, no phony 4-match triangular series, playing ODIs as a build up to Test matches on tours, splitting each innings into 2 etc. Leela made a point about ODIs series being an interesting watch these days only if there is some off-field drama associated with it, and I find myself agreeing with it. But then there wasn't always some kind of drama associated with ODIs when I used to stay up late and see all those matches, was there? (or was I really fokat those days?)

I mean, all of India's matches were seen simply because India was playing. All of Australia's matches were seen because they were the numero uno team and I wanted to see if any of their opponents were giving them a run for their money. Pakistan's matches were followed cheer the other team because earlier Pakistan losing used to be equal to India winning somehow. All of South Africa's matches were seen because when they were not busy choking, they used to play good cricket. And for Shaun Pollock.

And now when I find myself trying to write a preview for the Compaq Cup, I don't know what to say. I mean yeah, I'm happy that India is finally back in action. And I am super excited to see how Dravid will fare and all. But it's not how it is supposed to be. This series (and the Eng-Aus one) seems so pointless that I am tempted to label it as another Fake ODI Series. As someone commented on someone's blog (and I paraphrase here because I don't remember where I read this)

It takes just 4 matches to decide a tri-series, but it takes 7 one-dayers to conclude that England suck at pyjama cricket.

Indeed.

17 comments:

Niki said...

aaa... i may sound really stupid while asking this, but whts a bilateral series...?

and fyi, u weren't fokat in those days... remember, u used to make me bring those huge physics books from our room, so that u could watch those matches AND study...:P

Megha said...

bilateral series = when 2 countries play

and shush!! u'll get me arrested for child labour!

Homer said...

Megha,

Since when did Dileep Premachandran's opinion matter to anyone besides Dileep Premachandran?

The man cannot construct a nuanced argument and when challenged on his thesis, he either back peddles or ignores.

If he thinks ODI's need an overhaul, then the state of ODI's is just fine and dandy, thank you!

Cheers,

Samir Chopra said...

Megha: I think ODIs work best when it is an apertif to test matches, or when they are part of an important tournament. I've seen some great ODIs, with great atmosphere, and invariably, they are those played in major tournaments. The atmosphere is crackling, and there is enough drama to please everyone. I think the format of the game is just fine. It is the staging of the game that is the issue. (I've also enjoyed some of the ODIs played in Australia as part of triangular series, but thats an exception).

Megha said...

Homer

I see you have been causing DP much grief (that's you in the comments section isn't it?)

What he is suggesting as measures to keep ODIs alive is what we've heard elsewhere as well, so I guess you can cut him some slack there :)

Megha said...

Bhaiya

I can think of quite a few ODIs that were part of 3-4 nation series and were extremely enjoyable. The series with Aus n SA (with Tendulkar's sandstorm interrupted innings), Titan Cup, most of the VB series come to mind immediately.

Just thinking aloud here..I agree with what you are saying...I suppose if a mix of ODIs and Test matches (and T20s too) are compulsarily part of a tour with no more than 5 ODIs...or in case a tri-series has to be organised, then there are at least 2 rounds of league games...and the usual complaints of flat wickets and no regard for the spectator at the (Indian) grounds are given due attention, ODIs can stay as they are...

Homer said...

Grief? You mean you endorse the half baked, ill thought out comments DP makes?

Cheers,

Megha said...

There now, you are making it seem as if I am endorsing everything he says! I just said what he says about splitting ODI innings and going for 40 overs instead of 50 is what others suggest(and in the latter case, are implementing) as well.

achettup said...

Idk, its almost as if ODIs are still played because people fear the beast that is T20, I have to agree I can barely see any context for keeping the format. Once its just Tests and T20s, Champions Trophies and World Cups will no longer have any relevance if the games last an entire day.

LOL Homer @ "Since when did Dileep Premachandran's opinion matter to anyone besides Dileep Premachandran?

The man cannot construct a nuanced argument and when challenged on his thesis, he either back peddles or ignores."

Classic!

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Suhas said...

(Long comment, sorry about that!)
I'm paraphrasing a comment I left earlier on 'maidenbowling': I think the ODI can certainly be resuced with a little imagination and a few changes (some minor, some major); but whatever the ICC comes up with is plain superficial (supersubs, powerplays). The poor scheduling is also to blame - I would suggest that for the Future Tours program, every board be asked to allot no more than 6 limited over games, and it should be left up to them to distribute that number between T20s and ODIs.

Imagine the difference if, for example, the size of the boundary was not shortened by bringing the rope in; the batsmen would have to work much harder to clear the fence, and it might force them to be more inventive when clearing the infield.

Megha said...

ache, so u r all for just Tests n T20s then? And you think it will be easy enough for a T20 player to cross over to Tests and vice versa?

Megha said...

Cheers Mohsin!

Megha said...

Suhas - Thanks for your comment :)

I'm not much for tampering too much with the format itself, but all for any minor/major changes that help ODIs. The more I think about it, the more having a context to these matches is making sense to me. So, a limit to the number of limited over matches per tour is a definite yes. Perhaps, some rules that make the game less batsman-centric as well? Plus, I agree with Leela there...a bit more balance in who play who how often. For e.g India has played 17 matches against SL in the last 2 years, but just 4 against WI...when 2 teams play each other so often, the excitement of watching the contest lessens to a degree.

achettup said...

I'm not all set on it just yet but I think it will be the future.

Imo, Bhogle's assessment is typical of someone who has never played the game at any serious level. You have to remember that these are professional cricketers, the guys at the top spend an entire day practicing one shot over and over again with the aid of a bowling machine, hence the adage "Amateurs do it till they get it right, professionals do it tell they can't get it wrong." You don't need an in-between format like ODIs to help batsmen make the transition, if they've got the strokes all it is a change in mindset to take bigger risks. Look at how sucessful Dravid has been in both ODIs and T20s despite being written off as a test only player for the majority of his career. Isn't it also convenient that bowlers have not been brought up by Harsha? Thats because a top class bowler will be just as successful and awe inspiring in Tests and T20s and you'd sound pretty stupid if you said they needed ODIs to be able to make the transition from either of these formats.

To draw an analogy, as someone who almost ended up playing chess professionally, I didn't need 1-2 hour games to help ease the change in approach I took in the professional 4 hour games and lightning chess. And if you think about it, the different demands in terms of concentration and approach are pretty similar. You rely on your memory of patterns and positions in blitz games (for the top professional players this is almost second nature, their brains are almost programmed to recognize these things - much the same as a professional cricketer recognizes certain kinds of swing just watching the bowling action even if the bowler tries to hide the seam's orientation), but its just in the longer format you are able to study the effects of change in line with a lot more time.

Megha said...

ache, I also noticed how Harsha did not talk about bowlers there but I think that the transition thing can apply to bowlers as well, though to a lesser degree than to batsmen(I think). Bowling an over or 2 here and there in a T20 is much different from having to bowl big spells in Tests. for e.g. A Shoaib Akhtar or Andrew Flintoff can survive a T20 spell, and maybe get a wicket or four. But how much credit can be given to them for canny bowling that resulted in that wicket and how much to the fact that the batsman was going after bowlers anyway and just ended up slogging to nowhere. Secondly, the kind of planning that is required at Test level is nowhere near what a T20 bowler would need. Thirdly, the stamina needed to last an entire day in a Test match will never compare to a T20, but is a lot closer to playing an ODI. And lastly, the kind of pressure a T20 bowler is under for every single delivery is very different from the "it's ok to make a mistake" in a Test.

Freddy said...

Shane Warne is a genius. I agree with whatever he says.