Friday, August 13, 2010

Aussies trial new one-day format

New South Wales celebrate a wicket in last season's FR Cup
New South Wales celebrate a wicket in last season's FR Cup

Australia are to become the first country to trial a new split-innings format in their domestic one-day cup.

The FR Cup will see teams bat for 45 overs, split into innings of 20 and 25 overs, with 12 players available to each side, 11 batting and 11 fielding.

The split-innings format was also trialled in English second XI cricket this summer, getting a mixed reception.

The England & Wales Cricket Board told BBC Sport "a comprehensive review" of the domestic game is being conducted.

Asked by BBC Sport whether the new format could find its way into first-team cricket in England and Wales, the ECB said: "A comprehensive review into the domestic structure in England and Wales is currently ongoing.

"One-day international cricket remains a popular format of the game in England and Wales with strong crowd numbers at the ODIs this summer indicative of this."

Chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association Angus Porter said in June he thought it would be a while before the format was considered for first-team cricket in England.

Cricket does not always like change and I confidently predict plenty of public discussion

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland

"I think it's highly unlikely that the version we are playing in the second XI this year will get transferred across to the first XI competition," said Porter.

"Players are enjoying it but what I think they are saying is 'we're not quite sure exactly where this particular experiment is taking us'.

"The initial feedback from that experiment is that everyone is up for trying new things but that this one doesn't actually seem to improve the game from a playing or a spectator point of view."

The ICC added that "each member country is allowed to do what they want," and said there were "no plans at the moment" for split-innings to be introduced into the one-day international game.


However, Cricket Australia believes there is a need to reinvigorate the one-day game, which has come under increasing threat in the past few years from the explosion in popularity of Twenty20.

"The public told us to act and we have," said Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland.

The FR Cup, which starts in October, will see each bowler allowed a maximum of 12 overs across the two innings and instead of optional powerplays, there will be mandatory restrictions for the first five overs of each innings.

The related scoring system for the competition will see one point awarded for the first-innings lead and four more for victory in the match.

"We have listened to the public, undertaken comprehensive consultation across Australian cricket and developed a format which we now want to test thoroughly this summer," added Sutherland.

"The fans told us that they like ODI cricket best, but they want to see it refreshed and they want to see it with a short-form identity that is distinctively different from fast-emerging T20 cricket.

"Cricket does not always like change and I confidently predict plenty of public discussion over the summer.

"But we clearly need to do something to refresh the world's most popular format and we now want to give this a thorough trial to test it out before longer term assessment about whether this might become an international format."

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