India batting legend Sachin Tendulkar said that the current format of the ODI game with two new balls is becoming too predictable and boring and needs a tweak to make it interesting again for the viewers.
Tendulkar said the use of two new balls and modern-day fielding restrictions are making ODI cricket difficult for bowlers and, thereby, taking away the balance between bat and ball.
While ICC has played down concerns over the diminishing importance of ODI cricket, highlighting that countries across the world are scheduling a "healthy" number of ODIs; the rising number of T20 leagues across the world and cramped cricket calendar has left the original limited overs format gasping for air.
"It's getting monotonous without any doubt. There are two parts. One is the current format and the next is which I feel it should be played. Let me talk about the current format which has been there for a while now is two new balls. When you have two new balls, it eliminated reverse swing. Even though we are in the 40th over of the game, it's actually the 20th over of that ball," Sachin Tendulkar said at the India Today Conclave 2023.
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"But I think it only starts reversing around the 30th over or so. There was a bit of discoloration and the ball gets softer. When the ball started discoloring, picking the shiny and the rough side becomes difficult. That element is missing today because of two new balls,” he added.
Tendulkar further revealed that he talked to spinners about bowling with five fielders inside the 30-yard circle in the last 10 overs of the ODIs.
“Also for spinners, I have spoken to a few spinners. I was trying to understand their mindset with 5 fielders in the ring. The bowlers are saying that we don't have the freedom to change our lines. Even if we know that there is a possibility of batter making the mistake, if we change our line then we might have to pay a heavy price. They don't have the protection now in the current format. The current format is heavy on the bowlers. it's challenging with 5 fielders in the ring and 2 new balls,' he added.
Meanwhile, Tendulkar, who holds the record for most runs (18,426) and centuries (49) in ODIs, suggested an interesting tweak to the format, dividing it into four halves of 25 overs each, like Test cricket.
"Coming to the second bit, we should be playing 25 overs first. Divide it into 4 halves, like Test cricket. In Test cricket you have 20 wickets, here you only have 10 wickets. If you are dismissed, you are out of the game for the next 25 overs as well. You can't come back and bat.
Why I am saying this because we played a tournament in Sri Lanka where we played 118 overs without any result. First day, Sri Lanka batted first and we played 10 overs, the match was rained out. The match was again called off on the following day. We almost played 118 overs without any result,” Tendulkar said.
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Tendulkar added: "Here, if you have 25 overs and the other side comes and bats 25 overs, here at least each side has completed 25 overs. Right now, the game is becoming too predictable. From 15th over to 40th over, there is not enough momentum. There are not enough eyeballs. It's getting boring. How do we balance that out?
How do we balance out the dew factor? If a captain has lost the toss, if he has to bowl second in wet conditions, it becomes really, really difficult. With a spin of a coin, you can't really decide the game. Those factors are really important to reduce the gap.”
(India Today inputs)