How to make ODIs more interesting

At the conclusion of the World Cup, one couldn’t help but admire the way the Aussies dominated the competition. This team seems to be the best ODI team to have played the competition.

Even in the previous WC, the Aussies won the tournament without loosing a game, but there were a couple of sticky situations they got themselves in to. But in this World cup, it was domination all the way – at no point in any game did they ever seem to loose control.

A lot has been written about how India’s loss in the first round is actually good for the game in the long run (which is a completely flawed argument, IMHO), but what would have been really good for the game would have been some challenge to the Aussie supremacy. The games that the Aussies played were just predictable and not much fun to watch. Even the South Africans who took the No. 1 rank from the Aussies before the Cup couldn’t put up a decent fight. One wonders if the standard in the rest of the world has dropped or if the standard of the Aussies has gone up a couple of notches. Maybe both.

To make the games more interesting and to give the other teams including the minnows a realistic chance of winning a game against the big guys, I think we may have to come up with some kind of a handicap.

One suggestion I have is that if a team ranking between two playing teams is over 6, then the higher ranked team plays a player short. So, if Australia were to play Bangladesh, then Australia field just 10 men while Bangladesh field all 11. If Australia were to play someone like Netherlands (where the ranking difference is more than 12), Australia play with just 9 men. The advantages I see with this approach are –

  • The game between two otherwise uneven teams becomes more even and competitive
  • Viewing these games would be more interesting
  • The minor teams would get a chance to improve as they are playing against good quality opposition and yet they are in with a chance to win

One could argue that ranking does not really reflect the difference between two teams. For instance, the gulf between the No. 1 and No. 2 team could be so high that the No. 2 team still doesn’t have a realistic chance of winning. This could happen as Australia keep getting stronger and the rest of the teams keep getting weaker. The solution to this may be to go with Ratings rather than Rankings, and handicap comes into effect with, say every 15 point rating difference.

For instance, Australia (ranked 1) currently have a ODI rating of 130 and India (ranked 6) a rating of 106. As the difference is 26, Australia play one player short. When Australia play West Indies (rating of 99), they have to play two players short.

The handicap will have to be capped so that when Australia play someone like Kenya (rating of 0), they don’t end up playing with just 3 players 🙂




5 responses to “How to make ODIs more interesting

  1. ….or Australia plays 20, 30, 40 overs (depending on the team difference), while the lesser team plays all the 50 overs!

  2. Not taking any credit away from your excellent suggestion, palambrugge – but that was my initial line of thought too 🙂

    [Great people think alike or is it Fools seldom differ? – Lets go with the first one :)]

    Your suggestion does allow the number of overs to be reduced in smaller chunks based on the rating difference…but I felt that by playing a player or two short, the opposition will have a more open field to score runs.

    Maybe a combination of the two would work well against teams that have a very large rating difference.

  3. sampath kumar


    What planet are you residing in or migrated from?
    Haven’t you heard of level playing field?
    Not so long ago, the Great sardar Bishen Bedi sugested that a particular player go and compete in javelin throwing in disbled olympics!!!
    from what you say, any team that wants less number of opponents against stronger team should also consider Bedi’s suggestion.
    If 11 Bangladesh can beat 11 Indians that is great–on your theory, 9 Indians would have been humiliated by 11 bangladeshis–with only benefit–only 9 Indain houses would have been burnt or pulled down or pelted with chappals

    Get a life guys–we are talking about adults playing an adults game

    There is always a game of goli in the streets or gilli thaandu down the road

  4. There is no guarantee that India would get past the first round of Goli or Gilli Thaandu WC either 🙂

    Your point taken. Handicaps are usually not applied in professional sports, but there have been examples of new rules being introduced to stop one dominant person or team from making the sport uninteresting.

    …and this WC has been one of the most uninteresting tournaments I’ve ever seen (and I am not saying that because India crashed out early)

    The once great sardar Bedi’s comment on Murali was a bit harsh and unwarranted, but I don’t see how you can relate this suggestion to that.

  5. sampath kumar


    I can’t think of too many professional sports with handicaps, Golf, Tennis, Table Tennis , Soccer etc do not have handicap system. All over the world, in horse racing some of the races are based on handicap–some carry more weight than others–but they all run the same distance. In foot races like the Stawell Gift, in Australia, handicaps are applied. In all my years of playing cricket for over 25 years and umpiring for 12 years and being an administrator for a couple of years, I have never heard of handicap as a suggestion

    However, as in Soccer or other team sports, promotion / relegation could be considered in world cup Cricket. That certainly, would eliminate some of the so called minnows.

    But then, having voted in Bangaladesh to increase the voting power of non-whites vs whites , a few years ago by the likes of Dalmia, it would be very difficult now, to change the rules!!!!
    Thye problem for Team India is–India is a nation of nations with 25 or so states with different languages, lifestyles, food, expectations etc– and at every level–administration, selection, coaching,players etc, it would be a very difficult job to get a united front–too many outside influences. Not to mention the role of sponsors and bookies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s