Wednesday, February 2, 2011

World Cup will prove ODIs alive and well - Lorgat

Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, has said next month's World Cup will prove that 50-over cricket can co-exist with the Test and Twenty20 formats. Since the inception of Twenty20 cricket and its raging success, the ODI format has been perceived to be under threat, but Lorgat said those fears were overstated.

"I think the talk of poor interest in 50-over cricket is overstated. I firmly believe that all three forms of the game will co-exist and in fact thrive at international level," Lorgat told "To be frank, the talk of a demise of 50-over ODI cricket is way out of whack with what we are experiencing. Players, spectators, TV viewers and administrators still see great value in the ODIs.

"I hope that the World Cup will add to reversing the poor perception of 50-over cricket as some of the recent matches already have."

In an attempt to revitalise limited-overs cricket, Australia are experimenting with a split-innings format in their domestic competition, while England, South Africa and Zimbabwe have all shifted to a 40-over competition. However, Lorgat said the ICC doesn't have plans to tinker with the format of the game. "There are no plans to dramatically change the format of the 50-over game at international level. That said, we encourage our members to experiment with different formats and initiatives to see if there are ways it can be enhanced.

"The ODI today has a very different look and feel to what it was 40 years ago when the first match took place in 1971. We have always embraced change and will continue to do so."

Lorgat said the 2011 tournament, which starts on February 19, would be the most unpredictable World Cup in history. "It seems to me that the top teams are all playing some wonderful cricket at present and there is precious little to decide between them.

"The Australians could make history by becoming the first team to win four in a row but they will be challenged as they are not as dominant today as they were four years ago. The other teams, no doubt, will sense an opportunity to wrestle the cup from their tight grasp."

Lorgat said the passion for cricket in the subcontinent would ensure a successful World Cup. "Nowhere in the world can one find love and power for the game as in the subcontinent. We are expecting all the people from the three host nations to come out in force, support their teams and follow the tournament.

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