Birmingham: The month of July has seen a great debate on the future and significance of ODI cricket. South Africa abandoning their three ODIs against Australia in January 2023 to prioritise their new T20 league and England all-rounder Ben Stokes citing his early ODI retirement to an “unsustainable” schedule has raised questions over future of 50-over format.
But ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice on Wednesday sounded optimistic about ODI cricket’s future in the upcoming 2023-27 Future Tours Programme (FTP), to be out in a couple of days, saying that there is no big changes to number or proportion of 50-over matches in the four-year cycle.
“One of the things about the three formats being incorporated in the FTP is that the countries and fans there have slightly different preferences with regards to formats. I think at this stage there is some discussion, not specifically about ODIs, but about the mix of formats within the calendar.”
“But countries have been, in their FTPs, are still scheduling a healthy number of ODIs as well. So in the FTP, I don’t think you’ll see any significant change to the number of ODIs or the proportion of ODIs as being planned,” said Allardice in a virtual interaction from Birmingham.
ICC Chairman Greg Barclay admitted that the international cricket calendar is facing the heat from expansion of franchise T20 leagues in future. “The fact is that we have got a limited amount of time in the calendar, which is 365 days in a year. There’s more cricket being played through ICC events, bilaterals or the arrangements of course through the proliferation of T20 domestic leagues. So there’s a lot of pressure on the calendar, but I’m not sure it’s a tipping point.”
Speaking further on Barclay’s views, Allardice affirmed that international cricket boards had shown great adherence to the global schedule despite some of the prioritising their domestic T20 leagues.
“There are some members who are putting attention on domestic T20 leagues. But in the last few days, the commitment of members to international and bilateral international cricket is as strong as it’s ever been.”
“But each of them has to manage that balance between domestic competitions, their international schedule and the management of their players. Each of those boards is in slightly different situation. So, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to that balancing issue and each country tackles it in a different way.”
After the second ODI against England at Lord’s, India skipper Rohit Sharma had thrown his weight behind the return of tri-series and quadrangular series for managing the international cricket schedule batter. But Allardice was unsure if there was space in the calendar to include tri-series, with quadrangular series not an option.
“Under the agreements with members around the ICC events, the ability to schedule quadrangulars is not available to members. But tri-series are and all I know at this point is that they are not easy to schedule in terms of getting countries to one place, at one time given the constraints in the calendar. But I know that they are not as easy to schedule as it might have been in the years gone by.”