Samir Chopra has been making the point about ODIs again and again lately, and really, it’s quite persuasive. The current exhibits on display don’t inspire much confidence; who cares if Australia beats the hapless England, or if India beat the West Indies or if they win this Compaq Cup?
But could this sudden ODI problem be solely a function of the rise of the Twenty20 and the IPL? Or are we just seeing trends we’ve always known, like: 1) British people don’t care about ODIs, only Tests, and that too, only the Ashes; 2) No one cares about cricket in the West Indies, especially now; 3) Imagine you’re a Sri Lankan, and you have the choice to watch New Zealand — a team with no current stars other than their nerdy but excellent captain — play India. Would you go to the stadium?
So, I don’t know what we’re seeing. Still, I like the idea tossed around of dividing the ODI into two innings of 25 overs for each team, which would add a measure of complexity and nuance not inherent in the T20 edition. But a bigger question is this: if the ODI format does die, and broadcasters soon decide it isn’t worth the satellite fees — would it matter all that much?