In the past few years, ODIs have borne the brunt of a lot of criticism aimed at the shorter formats of cricket. A lot of the criticism focuses on how ODIs are not quite as exciting as Twenty20 games, but that at the same time, the standard of cricket played in ODIs is lower than that of the longest format of the game, Test matches.
We are currently in the middle of the ICC Cricket World Cup and so far the tournament has highlighted the best features of ODIs and shown us why we should appreciate them more.
First of all, this year’s tournament has provided us with some big upsets. My personal favorite being Ireland’s victory over the West Indies. After making a sizable dent in England’s pride in the 2011 World Cup, Ireland were back at it again, this time humbling the West Indies, winning by four wickets with 25 balls to spare.
This tournament has also seen Afghanistan win their first match at a Cricket World Cup, beating fellow cricketing minnows Scotland by just a single wicket with only three balls remaining.
In addition to big upsets, there have also been some classic encounters. New Zealand’s one wicket victory over Australia in an unusually low scoring encounter was what an ODI match should be like. It was jam packed full of drama and suspense and provided a real tactical challenge for both Michael Clarke and Brendon McCullum.
Without the ODI format, games like this simply wouldn’t occur. As one of the main formats of the game, ODIs deserve to be appreciated more. In addition to the high octane bowling and big hitting that is often present within matches, ODIs require team captains to have a tactical brain when both setting the field and planning the team’s overall strategy across both innings.
However, ODIs also need to be appreciated for a couple of non-cricketing reasons. First of all, there is the introduction of the flashing stumps. Just when you think that the sensation of watching bails fly after taking a wicket couldn’t get better, the ICC decide that the bails and stumps should FLASH RED as a reward for the bowler’s destructive, wicket taking tendencies.
Furthermore, watching an ODI is the equivalent of watching a day of a Test match. Actually, it’s slightly longer as only 80 overs are usually played in an average day of a Test match instead of the 100 overs played in an ODI. All this amounts to one thing: more drinking time for the fans in the stands.
And that is something that the vast majority of cricket fans can’t disagree with!