Usman Khawaja did not hold back his words when discussing the current state of 50-over games, stating the format was nearing extinction given the way it has evolved to lose relevance. He went on to express the challenges of playing all-formats and the need to pick and choose games across formats.
The death toll of one-day cricket seems to be getting louder and louder with each passing day as a growing number of cricketers have been voicing their criticism of the present state of One Day Internationals. Cricket buff Ravichandran Ashwin recently denounced the format as ‘irrelevant’, while the game’s favourite son Ben Stokes retired from ODIs at the raw age of 31.
Usman Khawaja has become the latest inclusion to the list of critiques after South Africa announced they will be forfeiting an upcoming three-match one-day series against Australia.
"I think personally one-day cricket is dying a slow death," Khawaja told reporters in Brisbane on Friday.
The 35-year-old has represented Australia in 40 ODIs since his debut nine years ago, having last played in the format against the Proteas in 2019.
"There's still the World Cup, which I think is really fun and it's enjoyable to watch, but other than that, even myself personally, I'm probably not into one-day cricket as much either," he added.
Of late, the international calendar has been lined up with one T20 after another, given the two T20 World Cups within the space of a year. While the 2021 edition was clinched by Australia, they’ll now be playing hosts to the 2022 edition set to begin in less than three months.
"Right now it feels like it's not really that important because of the T20 World Cup. Something has to give, because you can't have all three formats all together playing all the games; you're going to have to decide and choose," Khawaja expressed.
The Pakistan-born Australian recently got a new lease of life in international cricket following a successful comeback Ashes series earlier in the year. Khawaja has once again become a mainstay in the team as an opener in Tests and feels the red-ball format remains at the top.
"You've got Test cricket, which is the pinnacle, you've got T20 cricket which obviously has leagues around the world, great entertainment, everyone loves it, and then there's one-day cricket, and I feel like that's probably the third ranked out of all of them," he said.
Himself only a one-format player internationally as of now with just nine T20Is to his name all of them coming in 2016, Khawaja believes juggling all three formats is extremely difficult.
"Not impossible, very tough. So much travelling. If you're playing all three forms of the game, you're not at home at all really," the opener concluded.