Former Australia captain Aaron Finch wants ODIs to be reduced to 40 overs a side to attract more crowds and interest. He believes that the current 50-over format is “too long” and feels “so slow” because of the over rates.
ODI cricket is feared to be quickly losing relevance even as Tests continue to get the love of traditionalists and T20Is attract younger audiences to the game.
Although the 2023 ODI World Cup in India was a success despite major logistical issues, bilaterals in many countries around the world aren’t attracting crowds like before.
“I think it goes to 40 overs, I’d love to see that,” Finch said on ESPNcricinfo. “In England, they used to have the pro-40 and that was a huge competition. I think the game’s gone too long, in my opinion. The speed that the teams bowl their 50 overs is so slow, it’s down around 11 or 12 overs/hour and that’s not acceptable. People will argue that maybe it’s a glorified T20 game but it’s about the crowds.”
The Pro-40 ran in various formats and with different participants from 1999-2009, which was replaced by the ECB40 which further ran till 2013.
Another former Australian cricketer, Callum Ferguson, said he’d still stick to 50-over “ebbs and flows” for the main competition but felt Finch’s 40-over idea could be more competitive for struggling sides like the West Indies.
“I am not quite sold on that for every series. I think when you’ve got the big dogs all playing against each other, I still think the 50-over game’s electric, and the ebbs and flows are wonderful but when they are so one-sided, when you’ve got the West Indies… who are trying to fight their way back into the World Cup, they are so off the track, I think 40 overs might suit that type of series, it might bring them closer together,” he said in the same interaction.