Thursday, September 8, 2011

India England ODI 2: Twenty20 Match or ODI Status at Rose Bowl?

Vinay Kumar appeals The second India England ODI was reduced to a 23 over a 
side match
It is easy to see why the match, even if reduced virtually to a Twenty20 match, was played out. However, the status accorded to the match then seems a touch out of context in the age of Twenty20 as the second England ODI brought out the debate once more.

The second India England ODI at the Rose Bowl, Southampton, saw rain take forever to clear up and for the game to get underway. For one, television spectators in India had to wait until almost midnight to see more action on the field and thereafter to note that the match had been reduced to twenty-three overs a side.

It seemed given the time lost in the match that it no longer qualified as a legitimate one day game although it was following the rules in terms of the reduction of overs. For the public who had come to see the players from both teams in action and probably paid through their nose for it, it was only right that they saw some action rather than none at all. For the organizers, it was imperative that a legitimate match under the ICC guidelines so as to avoid a situation where the weather would have meant huge financial losses for them with spectators demanding a refund. By those standards, it is easy to see why the match was arranged even if it went beyond the stipulated time that a day and night one day match was scheduled to take place.

However, having said that, it may be recalled that on the rare occasion when rain has robbed Test cricket, the match has rarely been reduced in value to make it look like a one day match although there have been the odd instances where merely to please crowds after much rain ruined the prospect of a Test match that the players entertained with a one day match. What was happening at the Rose Bowl was entertainment but also, a serious series contest whose result would reflect on the outcome of the series.

In that light, whether it is right to judge the series when one match has been rained out and another has been reduced to a virtual Twenty20 affair seems like undermining the legitimacy of the fifty overs format because the manner in which the players approached the match was certainly not in compliant with how the one day internationals are strategized and played. If Twenty20 did not exist as a format, it could well have been called as entertainment to please the spectators who stuck around as long as they did just to see some of their favourite players or teams in action. However, since this reduced affair is being given importance, perhaps it would have been fitting that anything that constitutes less than twenty-five overs of play per innings not be constituted as of being only of entertainment and not go into the record books as one day cricket because there was nothing about the play that was fifty overs format.How can the ODI series by a Twenty20 result?


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