The future of ODI cricket has been the most-debated topic before and during the Men’s World Cup.
Sir Vivian Richards shared his thoughts with Sportstar on why ODIs should remain intact in the same format on the sidelines of the ICC Hall of Fame function here.
Have you been liking the World Cup, and your take on the future of the format?
Oh yes. So I am hoping that the 50-over stays because there have been talks that they are looking at whether or not (to persist with it). But from what we have seen so far in terms of just the play and excitement, I am a fan of what I have seen, and I hope this 50-50 format stays.
From a cricketing standpoint, what about this format do you believe it should survive?
This is the next format. It is the most important format of the game you can find after Test match cricket. It gives players an opportunity, 50 overs, to get themselves in. That’s enough time. In order for you to accomplish your innings and from what we would have seen as well, we look at some of the scores in the World Cup thus far. It’s been highly impressive, and exciting.
If anyone starts thinking about this [whether ODI cricket should remain] now, I believe it is just ludicrous, in my opinion. I am hoping that this is here to stay for quite some time. This particular World Cup in a sense would have sent that message that would have been the greatest advert for why this particular format should remain.
Without this format, do you think that switching to T20 from Test cricket and Test cricket to T20 would be difficult?
It would be. I just felt that it’s like golf. We have various formats. You know, you try and let that be played out at some point, and if you ask maybe the individuals who appreciate it pleasantly, they will tell you. I am hoping that they will give you an honest answer that this 50-50 stuff, in my opinion, is the next best thing to the greatest tournament that can be played after Test match cricket.
Test match cricket - it’s just (right up there) because we all know the substance of Test match cricket. I don’t think we would want individuals going from Test matches because some still do not want to play Test match cricket. Going to play T20, wouldn’t be justified why the 50s should remain.
A lot of talk is also surrounding whether the format needs to be tweaked slightly, make it 40 overs a side or make it four innings of 25 overs each. What’s your take?
Listen, you know what? Sometimes, we upset the applecart and anyone that tells me what they would have seen so far in this particular World Cup, you have guys scoring the number of hundreds, the double hundred as well in the circumstances. This World Cup in itself, is the advert why the tournament should stay as it is.
Maxwell was good, right?
It’s great. Where on earth in the modern day, would you have heard the guy scoring 200, especially given the circumstances - at 90-whatever for seven - and still getting it done.
Just from that particular outing for me, the 50s should remain because look at the de Kocks, the Kohlis, the Markrams, you look at it. It is the best format after (Tests), and then when you have accomplished maybe the 50-50 stuff, you can have the greatest fun, and that’s T20. That’s professional fun. I do believe we have it in the right perspective at the moment for those who want to play Test cricket. That, to me, is the foundation if you want to go further.
Some of the players themselves are saying they don’t want to play the 50-over format any longer. They would prefer to play Test cricket and franchise cricket?
Some are lazy like that, I guess. Even before you have heard [that] some already would have given up and would rather give up Test matches. Who would give up the 50-50, and that argument was the day before. That is my opinion.
I am hoping that common sense prevails and the folks you know are the administrators of the game in itself because what I put on board is this is the format that I want you to be in. There must be rules and a governing body, which suggests that this is how it should be.
You have seen the atmosphere here in the pressure that an Indian cricket team experiences going into a knockout. They don’t win as many knockout rounds. What do they do to change?
It’s great to be where they are at. I believe it is a record, winning nine out of nine, and sometimes the record doesn’t stay there. Why don’t you win the 10th? Why don’t you go on and win the 11th? I think they have a great opportunity to pull this one. Whether or not we are going to have a bad time in the semifinals, I believe if you are that confident, why not go all the way?
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