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ODI cricket is fighting for survival in the face of a proliferation of T20 franchise cricket, declining spectator interest in the 50-over format, and a busy schedule that forces top players to pick and choose forms.
On Friday, Sachin Tendulkar chimed in on the declining interest in One-Day Internationals, claiming that the format has grown boring and is ‘heavy’ on the bowlers.
“Without a sure, it’s becoming monotonous. The present format, which has been in place for some time, consists of two new balls (per innings). When you have two new balls, the backward swing is effectively eliminated.
“Even though we’re in the 40th over of the game, that ball is only in the 20th over. And the ball doesn’t start reversing until the 30th over. Because of two new balls, that element is no longer present today. “I believe the present format favors bowlers,” Tendulkar stated.
“The game is becoming too predictable right now. Its momentum has slowed from the 15th to the 40th. It’s becoming old.”
While there is no harm in keeping the 50-over format, Sachin Tendulkar believes that teams should alternate between batting and bowling every 25 overs to offer opponents a fair playing field and take the toss, dew factor, and other variables out of the equation.
“As a result, both teams bowl in the first and second halves. Commercially, it will be more viable because there will be three innings breaks rather than two.”
Three Border-Gavaskar Tests between India and Australia recently finished in less than two and a half days, prompting widespread criticism of pitches. Still, Tendulkar maintained that playing on diverse surfaces is part of a cricketer’s job.
The batting master also stated that to maintain the prominence and attractiveness of Test cricket, the focus should be on getting more eyeballs rather than how many days the contest lasts.
“Test cricket should be interesting, and it shouldn’t matter how long it lasts, whether it’s five days or something else,” Tendulkar said on Sports Tak. “We (cricketers) are built to play on different surfaces, whether it’s a bouncy track, a fast track, a slow track, a turning track, swinging conditions, seaming conditions, or different balls.”
He also stated that matches lasting three days would be beneficial when the ICC, MCC, and other cricketing authorities are discussing making Test cricket more exciting and the No. 1 format. Also, travelling teams should not expect featherbeds and should make thorough preparations.
“There are no easy conditions when touring. You must first grasp what is going on, then examine everything and begin planning. The type of surface we play on is the most crucial aspect for me because it is at the heart of Test cricket.
“All of us, including the ICC, MCC, and others, are discussing about Test cricket. How Test cricket can maintain its position as the premier format. Thus, if we want that, we need something for the bowlers, because bowlers pose a question (off) every ball, and the batsman must respond. So, how are you going to get more eyeballs if the question itself isn’t interesting?
He said sports should be result-oriented, and everyone should go home knowing “who won, who lost”.
“We shouldn’t be overly concerned with the amount of days. I believe it should be whether or not the game was interesting enough. Nobody wants to go home not knowing who won and who lost,” Tendulkar added.
He also stated that there was no harm in passing the new ball to a spinner if the surface required it.
“Why can’t a spinner bowl a beautiful spell instead of a quick bowler bowling an opening spell? It’s just a different kind of surface, and it should be hard enough for batters to go out there and express themselves… if someone bats well, he gets runs, simple.”
Should Saliva be Allowed Again?
Tendulkar said that the ICC should change its policy on allowing the use of saliva to shine the ball now that the Covid-19 outbreak is history.
“I am not a medical specialist, but I believe it (saliva) should be reinstated because it has occurred for more than 100 years. Men have spit, but nothing negative has happened. The intervening years were difficult, and it was understandable that the decision (to outlaw the use of saliva to polish the ball) was made. Nevertheless, now that COVID-19 has passed, we can go on.
When asked if he saw himself managing the BCCI in the future, Tendulkar responded in joke, “Me itni zyada fast bowling nahin ki hai (I have never bowled so fast ever)… because (ex-BCCI president) Sourav Ganguly still believed himself a fast bowler.