One-day cricket overdose
amount of cricket that is being played today it came as no surprise from
Australiaís Vice-captain Adam Gilchrist that the one-day tri-series which
culminates the cricket season in Australia had gone stale and needs revamping.
The 2007-08 series will feature host Australia and two of Asiaís top one-day
sides Ė India and Sri Lanka, neither of whom has won this series. The staleness
could be originating from the fact that the host country Australia has proved to
be unbeatable in the tournament. Their dominance has been such that they have
won all but nine of the 26 finals played so far since 1979-80. The only
exceptions are West Indies who won it six times, and England, Pakistan and South
Africa, one apiece.
The great danger is that Australiaís total dominance of cricket in both forms
(Tests and ODI) is having adverse effects on the game itself. The Aussies are
now complaining that there isnít enough opposition to challenge them. Like
one-day cricket at times the results against Australia have become very
Gilchrist is no ordinary cricketer and what he says has to be taken pretty
seriously. After all wasnít he recently voted as Australiaís greatest one-day
From its inception in the eighties it was difficult to fathom why three teams
had to play ten matches each it was later reduced to eight) to decide on who
should play in the best of three finals. No doubt the volume of matches would
have been drawn up in a manner to please the television audience and the
sponsors whose presence has made the game commercially viable.
Anything new introduced to the market will more or less always be a hit, but not
for long. Over a period there comes a time when too much of something is bound
to become stale. Thatís what happened to the Australian one-day tri-series. It
needs something new and an introduction of new thinking to keep the players as
well as the spectators interested in it.
Cricket Australia is expected to come up with format changes which should at
least extend the life line of the tournament further and keep its interest going
for a few more years.
One-day tri-series cricket in Australia was given birth to by the late business
tycoon Kerry Packer who in his conflicting World Series Cricket with the
Australian Cricket Board signed up top cricketers to play a series of one-day
limited over matches under lights with coloured clothing, white ball and black
sightscreens. Packerís innovation was to market one-day cricket to the public
giving them an opportunity to witness matches after work. Matches began in the
afternoon and went on till late into the night. Packer also introduced enhanced
payments to cricketers especially those representing Australia who were rather
poorly paid by the ACB at that time.
This concept caught the imagination of ACB who took over from Packer after he
had disbanded his series and the one-day tri series was born in 1979-80. Players
also benefited by it greatly because of the commercial value it generated. Money
started to come into the game in abundance. Gradually television caught the
imagination of the people and no cricket series today is played without it being
telecast around the world. Such is the demand by global audiences for the game
that cricket has now become an industry with the players and officials being the
leading actors on the stage.
The lifestyles of cricketers and sportsmen have changed considerably with
commercialism. The names of top sportsmen and sportswomen have been marketed by
their respective agents or managers in several products that has made them
richer beyond their expectations. Thus when a cricketer complains of too much
cricket it would sound inconsistent because they would not be where they are
today if not for the sponsors and cricket. The sponsors demand more matches to
appease global audiences and those who benefit greatly by it are the cricketers
themselves and their Cricket Boards.
Myth laid to rest
The Australian myth that 87 (13 short of a century) is unlucky has been
disproved by Hobart based statistician Rick Finlay. A research done by him
reveals that in the history of the game, only 12 Australian players have been
dismissed on the so-called Oz cricket devilís number. The last Australian to be
dismissed for 87 was Adam Gilchrist when he was caught by Brian Lara off Collin
Stuart in the fifth Test against West Indies at Sydney in 2000-01. And before
that it was Peter Taylor who was dismissed for that score in 1989-90 against New
Former Australian all-rounder Keith Miller is blamed for supposedly starting the
superstition during a district cricket match. It was later picked up by Richie
Benaud, another great Australian all-rounder, and the myth grew.
Not surprisingly the duck is the most common of all scores. For all cricketing
nations there have so far been 7004 of them. The next most common scores is 1
(2695 times), 2 (2178 times), 3 (1705 times) and 4 (2270 times). Other
interesting stats that emerged out of the research are that no player has scored
229, 238 or 245 in an individual innings in the gameís 130-year history.