Thursday, September 10, 2009

Splitting the 50-over ODI

Sachin's suggestion that the 50-over game be split into two innings of 25 overs each gives fresh legs to an important idea. Chopping up the format will certainly help it stay alive in the T20 era, mainly because it offers the following benefits:
1) The toss becomes less significant. Both sides get almost equal use of pitch conditions and daylight.
2) It creates new strategic possibilities in the game, a different approach to deploying resources. (Four sets of slog overs, anyone?)
3) It increases the commerciability of the game.

I'm all for this change in format. Except that I would suggest a twist to the new format. How about this?
Team A bats 25 overs.
Team B bats 50 overs at one go.
Team A bats its remaining quota of 25 overs.

Of course, this format has its drawbacks. In fact, some might say that Team B gets a huge advantage because it gets to bat without interruptions. Set batsmen can keep going. Moreover, in a day game, Team A will have to grapple with a fresh pitch to begin with, and also with twilight towards the end of the game. So Team B seems to get the best batting conditions in the day game.
But consider the day-night format. Morning dew ceases to be a factor - and if the pitch is a Sleeping Beauty, then Team A gets to whack the ball around in the first inning. And when they get down to bat during the final inning, the bowlers might have a tough time gripping the wet ball. So in this case, Team A gets some advantages in exchange for Team B's advantage of batting without interruptions.

I also love the idea that both teams get to set and chase targets in the same game. The possibilities really open up.
Now, if only someone in ICC will read this humble blog and not dismiss it in an instant...