ODIs now just an extended form of T20, opines Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin expressed fear over the future of ODI cricket|
Ravichandran Ashwin has expressed disappointment over the decline of ODI cricket, stating its aggressive nature makes it feel like just an extended form of T20 cricket. The spinner went on to talk about what makes ODIs special and offered suggestions to keep the uniqueness of the format alive.
Over the past two decades, the popularity of T20s has been on an uphill climb owing to the more gung-ho style of cricket featured in them along with shorter watch times. However, this trajectory of theirs has deprived other formats of cricket of their due attention, especially ODIs. Five-match ODI series have become rarities, while most international tours nowadays often only feature Tests and T20Is.
Indian finger spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, a veteran of 113 ODIs himself, feels the aggressiveness of T20s has seeped into ODIs. This has made them favour the batsmen more, depriving fans like him of evenly contested encounters and eventually forcing them to tune out.
“The greatest beauty of one-day cricket is - sorry, was - the ebbs and flows of the game,” he told the Vaughany and Tuffers Cricket Club podcast.
“People used to bide their time and take the game deep. The one-day format used to be a format where bowlers had a say. Even me, as a cricket badger and a cricket nut, I switch off the TV after a point and that’s frankly very scary for the format of the game. When those ebbs and flows go missing, it’s not cricket anymore. It’s just an extended form of T20.”
Ashwin believes this doesn’t bode well for the format's future, given it makes ODIs feel irrelevant.
“It’s a question of relevance and I think ODI cricket needs to find its relevance. It needs to find its spot," he added.
When asked how to keep ODIs alive, Ashwin had a plethora of suggestions available. At the heart of it were ways to tilt the game back towards the bowlers, instead of making it a batters' game. The 35-year-old felt the idea of having two new balls had impacted the game negatively, given it made both spinners as well as reverse swing redundant on most occasions.
“I think one ball is something that would work and spinners would come into the game to bowl more at the back end. Reverse swing might come back in, which is crucial for the game. I would also say we need to go back to the ball we used around 2010 - I don’t think we use the same ones anymore! As I grew up, I watched the one-day sport and, although Glenn McGrath was an amazing bowler, the ball is definitely not doing as much as it used to!" the spinner exclaimed.