Wellington: Cricket fans in New Zealand and Australia are showing a greater preference for Twenty20 cricket rather than 50-over cricket.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Australia, the second most important cricket playing country in the world, will next season ditch 50-over games domestically and experiment with a 40-over, two-innings format.
The move follows on from the decision in England to abandon 50-over county cricket in favour of 40-over contests.
With India in love with Twenty20s, it now means that in the three most powerful cricket nations in the world, 50-over cricket is non-existent on a domestic level.
As former New Zealand great Martin Crowe commented on Twitter yesterday: “The fact that Cricket Oz will being [sic] in 40 overs each with 2 inns each is a concession that ODIs are dead. Their experiment will be the end.”
It’s quickly being assumed that the 2011 World Cup will be the last played under the 50-over format and that the 2015 event in New Zealand and Australia could mark a sea-change.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, in announcing the changes, accepted that one-day cricket was almost certain to change by 2015.
Even staunch traditionalists like Australian captain Ricky Ponting can see the merit in change.
“Everyone in Australia noticed last year that the 50-over game probably struggled a little bit in Australia with the popularity of 20-over cricket around the world, so I’m open to looking at ways to improve it,” he said.