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On life support, one-dayer faces threat from rain too

india Updated: Dec 30, 2012 02:28 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta
Hindustan Times
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The fun part is over. The India-Pakistan cricketing juggernaut now rolls into ODIs, the least preferred version of the game, at least in India.

Surprised? Well, check this out. India haven't played a single ODI at home in 2012. That India are the world champions in this format make this surprising bit of trivia more queer.

Even if the BCCI didn't plan it that way, it's an indicator of which way cricket is going. India, on the other hand, played six Tests and five T20s in their backyard during the year. While Tests could be left out of the debate because it is regarded as the flagship format, playing more T20s than ODIs is a sign of things to come.

ODIs, Tests struggle
Former Pakistan great, Wasim Bari, a Pakistan cricket board official, admits: "Cricket has become an industry and it needs money. The ODIs and Tests are struggling to survive. Champions Trophy is dying because there are no sponsors. T20 is bringing in the money that the other two formats need to survive," he said. Will that soften up those trashing T20 and make them a more sympathetic towards this format.

In such a scenario, the series couldn't have been timed better. The rivalry, seen in the just-concluded T20 series, holds sway on either side of the border and people continue to fill up the stadiums regardless of the format. That wasn't the case when England and West Indies visited for ODIs last year. Many matches, especially in big venues, saw a steep decline in footfalls.

But the first ODI of the three-match series, and the first in India this year, could turn out to be a non-starter as it's raining in Chennai. The forecast for Sunday is not encouraging either. If the game is washed out, India will enter 2013 without having played a single home ODI in 2012.

The team, after a couple of changes in both sides, are looking to assert their supremacy after the T20 ended in a deadlock. "I think I am little more fresh and with little less pressure than MS Dhoni," said Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq in a lighter vein. And with the captaincy debate refusing to go, Dhoni will need to be at his best.

Dhoni upset
Dhoni isn't happy with the treatment being meted out to the 50-over format.

He has a problem with frequent rule changes. "We are making far too frequent changes and pulling the ODIs towards T20s," he said.

The outburst was directed at the latest changes to ODI rules that came into force in November. India will play their first ODI on Sunday under the new rules.

Now there would be just two powerplays, and no more than four players outside the 30-yard circle at any time.