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English draw stumps on 50-overs -

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English draw stumps on 50-overs

Barney Porter reported this story on Friday, August 28, 2009 12:50:00

BRENDAN TREMBATH: When one-day cricket first hit Australia in the late '70s, some were suggesting
it would spell the end of the traditional long-form of the game.

Instead, both the limited-over format and Test cricket flourished, enjoying parallel lives as the
game's more accomplished players enjoyed both styles.

Now, with the rise and rise of Twenty/20 cricket, the future of the 50-over game is again in the
spotlight, with England's decision to abandon the format from next year.

Barney Porter reports.

(Sound of singing "Come on Aussie come on")

BARNEY PORTER: It's just not cricket.

That was the sentiment expressed by the traditionalists, when the one-day format hit Australia in
the late '70s.

The brain-child of businessman Kerry Packer, it was a massive jolt to cricket administrators, who
scrambled to shore up the long form of the game.

But now it's the 50-over format that's under pressure, with the resurgence of Test cricket, and
more particularly, the impact of Twenty/20 since it recently exploded on the world scene.

The latest blow has been delivered by the England and Wales Cricket Board, which has abandoned its
domestic 50-over competition from next year, replacing it with a 40-over format.

JOHN BUCHANAN: There's no doubt that the 50 over competition has been in serious need of revamping
for some time and that's now been accelerated by the advent of 20-over cricket.

BARNEY PORTER: The former Australian coach, John Buchanan, knows well all forms of the game, but he
remains positive about the prognosis for the 50-over format.

JOHN BUCHANAN: I personally believe that there's still room for all three forms of the game, but
that would only be the case if indeed the 50-over game became more like the 20-over game. In other
words if sort of, more back into a derivative of 20-over cricket as opposed to being a derivative
of Test cricket.

BARNEY PORTER: So you do see a future for the 50-ver format but it needs some tinkering.

JOHN BUCHANAN: Yes, oh look I think when Packer revitalised the game through the 50-over format in
the late '70s, I mean I think it was a breath of fresh air for everybody but that format has
continued to service the game for the last 30 years and there's no doubt that it does need change.
I think if it doesn't change then it's on its way to extinction.

BARNEY PORTER: John Buchanan notes that in the Twenty/20 format, teams are based around cities,
regions or franchises, whereas 50-over and Test matches are international competitions.

He sees that as a crucial difference that must be retained for 50-overs to survive.

JOHN BUCHANAN: It will face extinction if administrators again really don't understand that they've
actually got three separate products which they can bring to the market place and I think in a way
that you can cater for a whole range of different market segments. So I guess the argument against
it has been at the moment player workloads and how can players manage to cope with certainly all
those demands and again I think that's where administrators need to carefully step in and work out
all the scheduling, how that will all work, because I think it can.

BARNEY PORTER: And it seems administrators are taking notice.

PHILLIP POPE: Twenty-over cricket's been very good to the world of cricket. It is the format that
the broadcasters have loved for the past 30 years and we believe will continue to enjoy loving.

BARNEY PORTER: Cricket Australia spokesman, Phillip Pope.

PHILLIP POPE: When we go head to head with tennis, most of the time we win those match ups. So
television viewers still love watching one day international cricket. During a summer's afternoon,
the majority of people watching television are watching one day international cricket.
Internationally, the kind of sponsorships that you see coming into the International Cricket
Council for events like the upcoming Championships Trophy and the World Cup, held in the Indian
sub-continent in 2011, are massive and important for grass roots cricket all over the world. So
cricket is in an enviable position in that it has a number of formats that complement one another,
the newest of which is the Twenty/20 but it's still fair to say that 50-over cricket is
exceptionally successful, from a commercial point of view and in terms of interest in the game.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Cricket Australia spokesman Phillip Pope, ending that report by Barney Porter.