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Tournament cynics can take a walk

india Updated: Sep 22, 2009 01:12 IST

Speculation about the future of cricket and its three formats is inevitable but I have been surprised by how much of it is also idle and uninformed. I strongly believe there is place for all three codes in the calendar and there is most certainly place for three world events every four years.

Despite what you may have heard or read, the Champions Trophy is actually very popular with the players - or at least the players and coaches that I have spoken to. The tournament is not the World Cup, but it does give the teams an opportunity to compete against the best in the world and there is no substitute for that.

If there is too much cricket being played then it is surely the likes of England's seven-match series against Australia and other tournaments which are created or elongated purely to generate income.

Those who say there is no place for a third global tournament alongside the World Cup and the T20 World Championship are out of touch with reality because intense, meaningful international competition is exactly what the game needs to keep its place in the entertainment market. I challenge any of the Champions Trophy doubters to find a single player in any of the eight squads who thinks this tournament is irrelevant.

I am certainly not a traditionalist for the sake of it. In fact, I fully endorse the view that the game needs to keep reinventing itself and developing which is exactly why I would support a move from 50 overs to 40 overs for one-day internationals, including the World Cup.

Even with the most intense approach from the fittest teams, it is not possible to maintain a high enough level of entertainment through the middle of an innings. But by removing 10 overs but keeping the same number of power-play overs, I reckon the formula would be perfect. It would also mean a six-hour contest rather than seven-and-a-half which makes a big difference, especially to the live audience.

The Champions Trophy is a sprint event — more like 100 metres than 1500 metres of the World Cup — which gives everyone a greater chance of success. In my opinion, seven of the eight teams could win.

With respect to the West Indies, they are too busy tearing themselves apart to have a chance here. Perhaps, I am wrong but they look very much like a ‘B’ team to me.

Just as at the T20 World Championship in England earlier this year, South Africa and India are most peoples’ favourites. I know how determined India are to atone for their embarrassingly early departure at the T20. And, as everyone knows, we haven't won an ICC event since 1998. We both have much to prove.

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