BEHIND THE DESK: Is now the time for ODI cricket?
ANY TIME IS GREAT FOR CRICKET
THIS week we will see something rarely seen in Australian sport: the kick-off to the NRL season, and just a few channels over, the Australian men’s cricket team playing an ODI series on home soil against New Zealand.
It’s certainly not an ideal scenario, but given the Australian team had to travel to India to fulfil a contractually obliged ODI series, it’s the best we’re going to get.
In one bright note the NRL matches will be played in different cities to the ODI games, so hopefully crowd numbers won’t be hit too hard.
I dare say there will be quite a bit of channel changing on TV sets across the country, and sports fans try to have the best of both worlds and enjoy both summer and winter sports simultaneously.
To be fair, I would have much preferred more international cricket played at home during the summer, but this is the next best thing.
Since when has there been such thing as too much cricket? Sure the timing might be a bit out, but cricket is cricket, and the chance to watch two top-tier teams going at it should be a thrilling encounter, regardless of whether it’s played in December, January or March.
Just as long as the rain holds in Sydney and Hobart and both sides can get 50 overs in, I’m sure it’ll be a great contest, something that fans haven’t been able to get enough of during the summer months.
ODI’s IRRELEVANT IN T20 YEAR
A FORMER colleague used to always stop my incessant talkings about Australia’s latest cricket tour with three simple words.
“It’s footy season,” he said.
“Who cares?” I’d retort. Our national team was out defending our sporting reputation, the most respected team in the land.
I have to admit, in the case of the upcoming one-day series against the Kiwis, and even the previous against the South Africans, he’s right.
Our foray into March for home one-dayers four years out from the next world cup in the format seems a little odd, and completely unnecessary given the workload our players seem to be under.
Also, it won’t take corona-virus to have these games played without a crowd. Despite it not clashing with the NRL season openers, who is going to turn up and watch? Especially given our lacklustre form against a heavily depleted South Africa side.
Given the lack of interest that was shown for one-dayers during our actual summer season, it won’t take coronavirus to have the stands emptied. I’ll be lucky to give it a look on Fox Cricket, for which my wife will be thankful and surprised.
If we’re going to play cricket at this time of year, make it mean something. Let’s play T20 internationals until the world cup so we’re better prepared than the slapdash approach we usually take to the format’s major tournament.