The bone of contention in world cricket is about future of 50-over format but ICC CEO Geoff Allardice hasn’t found any considerable decline in interest as the next FTP cycle has fair share of ODIs.
Legends like Wasim Akram and Ravi Shastri have expressed strong support for the advent of domestic T20 leagues, which is fast eating up into ODI landscape but Allardice feels that there is no need to panic.
“Countries in their next FTPs (2023-27) are still incorporating a healthy number of ODIs so in FTP, you won’t see any significant change to the number of ODIs or proportion of ODIs being played,’ Allardice made it clear that the situation isn’t as alarming as one is making it sound.
“About relevance of ODIs, we talked about structure of the game and the way they are incorporated in Future Tours and Programmes (FTP),” Allardice told media persons in a virtual conference.
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“Countries and fans in different countries have different preferences with regards to formats. I think at this stage there were some discussions not specifically about ODIs but mix of formats within the calender,’ the ICC Chief Executive said.
Having tri-series isn’t easy in this day and age. Recently, India captain Rohit Sharma spoke about how the concept of ODI tri-series which was so prevalent in 90’s and early 2000’s has gone extinct with too many bilateral series being played.
While bilateral ODIs is fighting for relevance, Allardice did put forth reasons for not having those tri-series with quadrangular series in any case not allowed as per ICC rules.
“Ability to schedule quadrangular event is not available to members but tri-series is. But at this point, they are not easy to schedule, getting number of countries at one place at one time and given the constraints in the calender. They are not as easy to schedule in FTP as it used to be in the years gone by,” Allardice said.
Prerogative of members to find balance between leagues and international cricket. Allardice admitted that a lot of member nations are putting emphasis on their domestic T20 league but the balance required to have cricket and not make it an overkill for players lay with the individual countries.
“There are a number of members who are putting particular attention on their domestic leagues,” he said but also informed that they have shown firm commitment towards international cricket.
“I think one thing in last few days we saw was commitment to international cricket has been as strong as it has ever been.
“…but members have to manage the balance between domestic competition, international schedule and management of their players. Each country has different situations and there can’t be ‘One Size Fits All’ approach. It’s a trend (domestic leagues) but each of the members are finding balance in different ways.”
Women’s FTP chalked for the first time. The ICC’s FTP programme has been approved by the Chief Executives Committee (CEC) and the schedule for next five years will be published in a few days’ time.
This is the first time that ICC will have an exclusive women’s FTP.
“First time we have had a long-term plan for women’s FTP to give broadcasters, sponsors and fans certainty about who is playing who at what time of the year. It is structured around the Women’s ODI championship from 2022-25,” Allardice said.
“The players are also commenting that their schedules are a lot busier than what it used to be a few years ago with various domestic leagues strengthening. You will find a very solid calendar for women’s international cricket.”