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ODIs not on the wrong side of 50 yet

india Updated: Sep 25, 2009 01:38 IST
Geoffrey Boycott
Geoffrey Boycott
Hindustan Times
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A few days into the Champions Trophy and most of the talk appears centered on the dying out of ODIs. I really don't understand what the experts mean by this, since 50-over cricket appears alive and well in England where teams are still playing to full houses.

Granted, a full house for us wouldn't be the same as a full house in India, for instance, but still, 20,000-odd people are regularly turning up for games where the cheapest ticket costs around £45 and the average daily ticket price is between £70 and £100. So, 50-over cricket is certainly not dying in England.

Having said that, I also think there are just too many 50-over games these days and the players are tired of them but they dare not speak for two reasons. One, the administrators might punish them by not selecting them for the next tournament, and two, they will lose plenty of money thereby.

Players talk privately about the TV malaise too, which adds to the money-making craze. So many TV channels, so much air time to utilize — and cricket is perfect for this purpose, because it goes on all day, unlike football or rugby, for instance.

This is the reason there's so much cricket on TV, and why it has as many as three world championships.

Does FIFA have more than one World Cup? No, but cricket has a World Cup, a T20 World Cup, as well as the Champions Trophy, and this for a sport played by far fewer teams than football.

It is the pressure of the international calendar, once again, that has caused the Champions Trophy to be played in South Africa even though it is far too early to be playing there. Just look at the way the Wanderers track behaved for the Pakistan-West Indies game.

It doesn't help that each team is getting just three games, so if you lose the first one, the pressure is enormous. South Africa, have put themselves in an unenviable position by losing the first game to Sri Lanka.

England will be lucky to get away with a single win in this tournament, let alone against the in-form Sri Lankans at the Wanderers on Friday.

The one thing I am very certain about is that the Asian teams have become forces to reckon with away from home.

It is no longer possible for non-Asian teams to dismiss their sub-continent opponents as easy pickings on foreign soil. India won the T20 Cup in South Africa, Pakistan won it in England, so who knows, it may be Sri Lanka's turn this time.