Is it over for 50 over?


People, maintain on to your cricket hats as the worldwide cricketing extravaganza — the ICC Males’s 50-over World Cup — returns to the industrial and religious coronary heart of cricket for a record-equalling fourth version. India — host in 1987, 1996, and 2011 — goes solo, this time with no South Asian neighbours to share the burden or the enjoyment.

Nevertheless it has been all about last-minute planning for the officers and, extra troublingly, the followers. The ultimate schedule was launched after which re-released, with 10 modifications, with lower than two months left earlier than the opening salvo between England and New Zealand (finalists 4 years in the past) on the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. The biggest cricket stadium on the earth will even be the venue for the summit conflict.

Even because the glittering trophy took a visit to heaven (120,000 toes above sea stage, hooked up to a balloon), the followers, who assist fill cricket’s coffers, are principally with out tickets regardless of transferring heaven and earth.

The ICC, although, is anticipating to earn a report Rs 4400 crore from broadcast rights, with followers left to clutch their remotes and popcorns and comply with the motion from 22 yards on screens of twenty-two inches (or extra).

Current historical past — India (2011), Australia (2015) and England (2019) — exhibits that host standing offers you a leg up, and the Indian followers will hope to see the Males in Blue add to their festive cheer after a dry spell in ICC occasions since 2013.

However a frightening problem awaits Rohit Sharma’s males, who will probably be making an attempt to emulate the glory of M.S. Dhoni’s 2011 warriors. Virat Kohli, the one remnant of that victorious ensemble, nonetheless bears the load of shepherding India’s batting, which has the behavior of occurring trip on the slightest whiff of strain.

In a world the place T20 leagues are popping up like mushrooms after a rainstorm, ODI, like a forgotten cousin at a household reunion, has been feeling a bit not noted. The variety of ODIs performed has dwindled for the reason that final World Cup — 465 between the 2019 World Cup and now, in comparison with 496 between the 2015 and 2019 editions. Actually, the highest eight groups mixed performed 126 extra ODIs between 2015 and 2019 than between 2019 and now. Clearly, the format wants a reboot.

Nevertheless, the ICC’s choice to shrink the variety of groups to simply 10 from the 2019 version (the 2015 version had 14 groups), leaving the newcomers to deal with T20s, is like inviting everybody to the celebration after which telling some to remain residence.

Hopefully, this World Cup in cricket-crazy India will assist ODI regain its misplaced area within the hearts of followers consistently wooed by the romance of Checks and the frenzied razzmatazz of T20s.

Nevertheless it’s time to mud off these jerseys, seize a seat on the sofa (as match tickets are nowhere accessible), and prepare for some traditional ODI motion.

The format is at a crossroads, and it’s relying on India to provide it a much-needed new lease of life.



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