World Cup 2019: Don’t like the way they have scheduled the tournament, says Dean Jones

A member of Australia's World Cup-winning team of 1987, Dean Jones bats for cutting down the number of teams to eight. "We need quality, not quantity," he says.

Dean Jones in Mumbai on Monday.   -  Vivek Bendre

Dean Jones was part of Allan Border’s Australia team, which won the 1987 World Cup final, defeating England at Eden Gardens in Calcutta. The 58-year-old has been a familiar voice for many years in the IPL and internationals featuring India. Talking to Sportstar at the CEAT Cricket Rating Awards, Jones, known for a punditry across all forms of the game said: “When I began coaching a team in the T10, I thought that was the worst format I have ever been with. But I loved it in the end. Trust me, the T10 would be the format for the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.’’

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Jones also distinguished the three short formats of the game saying: “For 50-50, a team needs seven different style of players in different disciplines to win a game. In T20, it is probably only four; you need a death bowler, top order batter, a banger and perhaps a leg spinner who can spin both ways. In T10 its two or three. In 50-50, you need a team  and that’s why like it the most…’’

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Excerpts...

How will the T20 leagues, played around the world, impact the forthcoming World Cup ?

Massive. The teams will try to keep their wickets till the 30th over and play the last 20 like Twenty20. Now is that good for the game ? It is.

England and Pakistan are playing a ODI series in England. Would you say they will get some advantage, leading to the World Cup ?

England has won eight out of their last nine ODI series at home. So they are the favourites by miles. They play bullying style of cricket. Their top three are bangers. They have Joe Root, the glue and then they have three bangers again. They are going to be playing frontal assault. But in a final, there is pressure and anything can happen.

 Your thoughts on the World Cup format ?

I don’t like the way they have scheduled it. Can you imagine India winning nine games, go on top and qualify for the knock out? And then they lose the toss and Duckworth & Lewis comes in. It takes four years of bloody hard work and sometimes, 20 years to get a player ready for the World Cup and a team can be done by the weather. I like the Asia Cup format with a Round Robin league, Super Four and then the final. Or the IPL play offs format. It’s time to have a best of three finals at the World Cup.

I like the format with each team playing the other. But it’s too long a tournament. The FIFA World Cup finals is of 32 teams and all done in one month. The cricket World Cup is over 50 days (including the warm ups). People start to lose interest. It’s ridiculous. I am even for cutting down the teams to eight. We need quality. Not quantity.

What are Australia’s chances? It won 3-2 in India and thrashed Pakistan 5-0 ? David Warner and Steve Smith are back in the team now…

I don’t think they are in the top two or top three chances really. Australia will have its chances if  the momentum comes in its way. In 1987, we lost five games coming into the World Cup, that’s rubbish. It all comes down to what your role is and how you are executing it. We took singles and won the World Cup.