Those of you that have been reading this blog for a while know that I first started following cricket during the 2007 World Cup. Every time I tell a dedicated cricket follower that fact, they respond with something along the lines of “and you didn’t run screaming back to baseball!?”
And, no, I didn’t.
In fact, I loved every second of it.
That probably had something to do with the fact that I didn’t know any better.
But I also think it has something to with the format itself.
As I mentioned briefly in a post from a couple days ago, the One Day International was my first format and it is how I learned the game.
I fell in love with cricket because of the ODI.
This morning as I was watching the overs tick over via the ball by ball on Cricinfo, I was reminded of those first few glorious mornings during the 2007 World Cup. It was a grand feeling then, and it was wonderful to be reminded of it again this morning. (By contrast, the 2011 World Cup did not make sense, timezone wise, which is why the memories did not come flooding back then.)
But my feelings for the ODI are not simply nostalgia based, I really do think it is a phenomenal sporting contest. The strategies are endless and interesting: be aggressive but not too aggressive; play defensively but also offensively; and don’t forget about that net run rate.
It takes all day to get a winner, from late morning until late afternoon; and so it is a real test of endurance and stamina.
The problem, however, is that cricket is far too reliant on the format to fill out the schedule during longer tours.
Those endless 18 match tri-series are truly interminable, for instance – to the point where the matches lose all of their color, all of their character, all of their magic.
I love ODI cricket during a tournament, even if it is just the Champions Trophy (more on that in a second) but I find the format terribly boring outside of tournaments.
My recommendation, based on a Tweet from earlier today: play 50 over cricket at the domestic level, but only play it at the international level during the World Cup.
The obvious problem there is that players will not be conditioned to the format at the highest level and the games might not therefore be as entertaining, but I don’t think that would be the case.
Or maybe, during tours, just play one ODI and one T20 and five Tests.
Someone else Tweeted, and I forget who, about how the Champions Trophy, while a bit of a joke in cricketing circles, mostly for how the ICC pimps it as the greatest thing since sliced bread, really is the perfect format for an ODI tournament. The eight best teams in the world, and it’s over in two and a half weeks.
And, I don’t know, I think I agree with that.
Of course, the Twitterer went on to mention that the ICC has indefinitely cancelled future Champions Trophies, which of course is par for the course: cancelling the one thing they are doing right.
A bit of a rambling post, but here’s the gist: this should be a fun tournament; especially if today’s match was any indication of future play.
See everyone on Twitter.