We believe strongly that ODIs should be World Cups only: Mark Nicholas

Tags: World Cup 2023

Published on: Oct 03, 2023

Mark Nicholas, the incoming president of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), has opined that the time has come for ODI cricket to be played exclusively at World Cups. According to Nicholas, the writing on the wall is clear as T20 cricket has captured the imagination of the sporting world and fans.

Nicholas’ comments come even as the upcoming ODI World Cup is all set to be held in India from October 5 to November 19. A total of 48 matches will be played across 10 venues during the edition. A round robin league stage will be followed by the semis and the final.

Nicholas, who is succeeding Stephen Fry as MCC President, revealed that that his comments are in sync with those of MCC's World Cricket Committee, which met in July to discuss about the future of ODI cricket. The 66-year-old former Hampshire cricketer told ESPNcricinfo, "We believe strongly that ODIs should be World Cups only. We think it's difficult bilaterally now to justify them. They're not filling grounds in a lot of countries. And there is a power at the moment to T20 cricket that is almost supernatural.

"It's more than just ticket sales. It's the amount of people that want to own franchises, the amount of countries that want to run tournaments, it's the amount of players that want to be in a market all around the world,” he added.

According to Nicholas, in a free market, the most money wins. And that's just the end-game. He continued, “The players can see that bubbling away and they want to be a part of it. So, it is an extraordinary power that T20 has, and I think scheduling 50-over cricket alongside it just continues the story of the death knell of the ODI game."

In recent years, there has been a massive debate over the relevance of one-day cricket with dwindling crowds for the format. Former India coach Ravi Shastri has also backed shutting down bilateral contests and sticking to World Cup for the format. Ironically, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who sometime back said that he finds it difficult to sit through an entire ODI match, will be featuring in the World Cup, having made a one-day comeback to the Indian team recently.

Nicholas admitted that MCC’s views won’t hold much relevance unless they integrate in a better manner with the game’s governing body - the International Cricket Council (ICC).

"How much more relevant can MCC be? Is there a danger we're losing our relevance in global cricket thinking? Can we use our World Cricket Committee better? Can we use our massive list of Honorary Life members, [which has] the outstanding players of the modern era and the era before on it,” Nicholas commented.

"The problem at the moment is that the ICC see us a bit of a threat. When we put our head above the parapet, they're like 'whoa, settle down, we run the game'. So we need to integrate better with ICC, we need to understand each other better. We need to develop thinking that comes together," the cricketer-turned-commentator concluded.

--By A Cricket Correspondent

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