Mohan asked a very good question in his post titled The future of ODIs in question?. Even before that post, I’ve had conversations with friends on why T20 is better than the ODI format – something the T20 WC has highlighted. Here are my reasons why –
- For starters, the game finishes in 3 hours bringing it much closer in duration to other popular sports in the world. If the game starts at say 6:00pm, it gives people a chance to finish work, get to the game and even get back home in an earthly hour (unless you want to celebrate your teams victory or drown the sorrows of your team’s loss at the local pub). With ODIs you pretty much loose the entire day.
- Even though the game is played for just 3 hours, the entertainment value is pretty much the same – it is as if the whole entertainment of a ODI game is condensed into a three hour capsule.
- It is less strenuous for the players. Two T20 games is probably the equivalent of 1 ODI game in terms of physical and mental stress. In the future, I wouldn’t be too surprised if a tour has an itinerary that consists of 3 tests, 7 T20s and just 1 ODI, rather than the usual 3 test, 5 ODI formula.
- The gap between 2 teams is not quite as apparent in a T20 game. Zimbabwe can only dream of beating a team like Australia in a test match, whereas in T20, anything is possible. The closer contest provides a much better entertainment value.
- As Mohan pointed out, a three hour 20 over format makes the game more marketable to places where it is currently not being played.
To answer Mohan’s question on whether the ODI format itself should be phased out, my answer is a resounding YES. It may not happen in a year or two – but I think it should. And for old times sake maybe play the World Cup alone… 🙂
(ICC is well aware of the threat that T20 poses to ODI games. To counter this threat current ICC regulations restrict international teams from playing more than 7 Twenty20 matches in a year and no more than 2 in one series)