The International Cricket Council (ICC) has denied that the One-Day International format is under any kind of threat. The world cricket governing body has said that a ‘healthy’ number of 50-over fixtures will be played in the 2023-27 cycle. Ever since England’s red-ball skipper Ben Stokes retired from ODIs citing an ‘unsustainable’ schedule, debate over the significance of the ODI format has started taking pace.
The growing popularity of lucrative T20 domestic tournaments and ICC’s jam-packed schedule has forced the cricket fraternity to discuss the importance of the 50-over format amidst T20 and Test cricket. After his decision to retire, Stokes hit back at ICC and England Cricket Board for drawing a tough schedule for players and not providing enough breather between two competitions.
After Stokes, England’s white-ball skipper Jos Buttler also highlighted the same issue by claiming that players are not getting the required time to train and attained fielding drills which severely impacts their performance in the middle. Earlier, Cricket South Africa abandoned their ODI tour of Australia as it clashed with the launch of their domestic T20 league, risking their chances of qualifying directly for next year’s World Cup in India.
ICC chief executive Geoff Allardice has recently talked about the scheduling of the game’s three formats and shared that the issue was discussed during the annual general meeting in Birmingham where the Future Tour Program (FTP) 2023-27 was finalised. “I think at this stage there is some discussion, not specifically about ODIs but about the mix of formats within the calendar,” Allardice said in a video conference. He further stated that countries have been scheduling a healthy number of ODIs as well.
“So in the FTP, I don’t think you will see any significant change to the number of ODIs or the proportion of ODIs as being planned,” he added. ICC chairman Greg Barclay commented on the growing popularity of franchise cricket by stating that few members put particular attention to their domestic tournament, but made it clear that their commitment towards international and bilateral cricket was ‘as strong as ever.’