New Delhi. ICC ODI World Cup 2023 is going to start in India from 5th October. Everyone is very excited for this. But is the same enthusiasm seen for this format of the fans even outside the World Cup bicycle?
‘When the World Cup starts, it will be big again.’ This was said by Adam Zampa in October last year, who spoke to ABC Sport about the relevance – or lack thereof – of one-day cricket. Of course, Zampa expressed a lot of doubts about where the 50-over format stood currently.
Whatever the case, we have reached that ‘Ben Hur’ moment for ODIs that Zampa talked about. At least for the next two months. Everyone is excited about this World Cup being held in India. Big rivalries like India-Pakistan, England-New Zealand will be seen. Perhaps these games will bring with them the joyous highs and lows of a format that originally took cricket to another level in 1983.
There is no doubt that if the host team starts with some good wins then the hope of ending the ICC trophy drought of 10 years will be raised in the minds of the fans. However, this is only for a few days. For power brokers, ODI is now a chronic headache outside the World Cup environment. With time, the middle overs have started to seem boring to fans. There have been changes in the game with time.
ODI matches now largely resemble an expanded mix of T20s. Demand to bat with maximum strike rate, force bowling variations to avoid getting hit. Field restrictions limit the captain’s hands to some extent. The average batting strike rate in each World Cup increased from 54.52 in 1979 to 78.39 in 2011. Whereas in 2015 it was 88.97 and in 2019 it was 88.15 in England. The strike rate is increasing with time.
The tournament increased from a total of 2 centuries in 1979 to 38 centuries in 48 matches in 2015. Between the 2015 and 2019 World Cups, before Covid, there were 53 scores above 350, including 5 scores above 400. Since the 2019 World Cup, despite missing months due to the pandemic, there have been 25 scores of over 350, with 4 of them above 400.
The calm and natural sense of cohesion of the format no longer appeals so much to fans who show more interest in watching T20 cricket. Due to T20 cricket, ODI is now lost somewhere. Many top cricketers are ready to give up the central contract and give up the format to devote themselves to T20 subsistence. ODI may no longer remain relevant outside the World Cup cycle for long. Tests are already a novelty, so ODI matches could become a rarity. The future of the ODI format may depend to many extent on this World Cup.
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