Cricket has shifted completely in the last 10 years. T20 cricket gives the game such a high economic drive that every other format lives in the shadow of it. With that said, people have constantly raised their voices and have made efforts to keep test cricket alive. We’ve seen some great test matches in the last 3 years. One of the biggest problems the game faces right now is scheduling. There’s so much cricket being played all over the world. The majority of it is franchise cricket. Franchise cricket brings the majority of the money to the game and every player wants to be a part of it because of how economically convenient it is. Now, these tournaments take a big window out of the calendar. That leaves very little time for international bilateral series.
South Africa cancelled the one-day international tour to Australia to make sure that all top South African Players are available for CSA’s newly announced T20 franchise league. It seems clear which way the game is heading. Although, we cannot solely blame CSA for choosing franchise cricket over international cricket. If they didn’t make that decision, they could’ve almost been on the verge of being broke. They require investment to kick off their new league and that could’ve only been possible if the investors were sure that the international South African players will be available for the league from the start. Opting out from the Australia series means South Africa might not qualify for the world cup directly and will have to go to the qualifiers first. That’d indeed be something to keep an eye on.
One great issue is the imbalance in international cricket. There are only 3 cricket boards that can sustain their cricket on their own. India, Australia and England. Everyone else is dependent on each other. For example- if India tours West Indies for a test series, West Indies will make so much money that they won’t have to play cricket for the whole year because of how bad their economic situation is. Boards other than the strong 3 find it difficult to ask their players to play for their country rather than their franchises because they cannot offer the kind of money these Franchises do.
Cricket has reached a tipping point now. With more games being played than ever before. Players retire from a particular format because they cannot see a way to play all formats and sustain. Franchise cricket taking a huge chunk of time out of the calendar. All these things have made a lot of administrators reach to a conclusion. They’ve planned to reduce the number of bilateral series. Especially ODIs. The future for ODI looks rather bleak. Test cricket is not going anywhere and the same goes for the Revolutionary T20 form. ODI format finds itself in a tough position because it seems irrelevant in today’s age. The quality of cricket is not the same anymore. It feels like an extended version of T20 cricket. The most prominent ODIs that we’ll see in the future will be the World Cup. Cricket has truly changed.
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