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One-day cricket overdose

With the 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 predictable.
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 cricketer?

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 Zealand.

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.

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