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Don't worry, KP, 50-over matches are here for a while...

Adam Mountford Adam Mountford | 15:55 UK time, Saturday, 14 June 2008

In a fascinating interview after the Twenty20 International at Old Trafford England batsman Kevin Pietersen predicted that the 50-over version of international cricket will be "a thing of the past in a couple of years' time".

Pietersen explained that as far as he is concerned "Twenty20 Cricket is here to stay, it's the future. We are entertainers and if you ask people what they want to watch then it's the Twenty20 form of the game".

Pietersen's comments may not seem the best advert for the NatWest One Day series taking place over the next couple of weeks, but before we sign the death warrant of the 50-over game it's easy to forget that last summer's NatWest series against India was an absolute cracker. The appetite for a seven-match series may not have been particularly strong at the start of those matches among some observers, but the crowds lapped up a series which produced many magical moments. Dimitri Mascarenas striking the last five balls of an innings for six in that classic encounter at the Oval, the sublime batting of Sachin Tendulkar at Bristol, and Ravi Bopara and Stuart Broad's match winning partnership at Old Trafford just three of the highlights.

I suppose whatever the debate about which format of cricket is popular or not the key factor is always whether the match itself, however long, is any good. The Twenty20 International at Old Trafford on Friday night had its moments, but it was not a classic encounter. I was fortunate enough to be at the Wanderers in Johannesburg last year to see that thrilling World Twenty20 final between India and Pakistan, a match which ebbed and flowed throughout and was not decided until the final over.

Hopefully this one-day series between England and New Zealand will have plenty to excite us and with the likes of Kevin Pietersen and Brendon McCullum we should be in for some excellent entertainment.

TMS Cricket will be on the air from 1030 for each of the five matches.

Jonathan Agnew as always leads our commentary team which will also include TMS stalwarts Henry Blofeld, Christopher Martin Jenkins and Simon Mann as well as newer voices such as Arlo White and Mark Pougatch.

We have a wonderful range of summarisers including three New Zealanders who will be sharing duties throughout the five matches. Chris Cairns will be with us in Durham and Bristol fitting in commentary duties alongside his Twenty20 cricket commitments for Nottinghamshire, Jeremy Coney is on duty at Edgbaston and Lords and following a very successful TMS debut in Manchester on Friday night, and former-Kiwi batsman Craig McMillan will be working with us again at the Oval. Both Craig and Chris play in the so-called rebel "Indian Cricket League" and should have some fascinating views on the monumental changes in the game at the moment.

TMS favourites like Vic Marks, Angus Fraser and Graham Gooch will be with us over the next couple of weeks, plus you'll hear from England's world cup wicketkeeper Paul Nixon and England's most capped player, Alec Stewart. Also we are going to be getting a local perspective on the venues for the matches with Durham's first Test player Simon Brown joining TMS at the Riverside; former Warwickshire, Scotland and England all-rounder Dougie Brown with us at Edgbaston; Gloucestershire legend Jack Russell will be part of our team at Bristol, and Surrey favourite Graham Thorpe will be giving us the benefit of his Oval knowledge.

During the intervals, we will have plenty of opportunity to discuss all the issues in the game at the moment including of course the "Champions League" and the influence of Sir Allen Stanford. And listen out for a special interview with the Texan billionaire during our coverage of the first ODI.

As always we want to hear from you on these subjects and others - you can comment on the blog, e-mail or text 84040. And don't forget Jonathan Agnew will have the TMS podcast at the end of each game. All the details at


  • Comment number 1.

    Adam, the last rites for the 50 over game were the awful 2007 World Cup. 2 good games in 47 days?, Quarter full stadiums, meaningless games, one sided games and
    slow play.

    Compare this with the T20 World Cup. In the final, fortune changed in 3 minutes from India to Pakistan, and then back again.

    In 50 over, you know who has won all day!
    It's a slow and painfil death for one side.

    RIP 50 over cricket, 1971 to 2010.

  • Comment number 2.

    I dont agree with the 1st Poster.
    The only reason wny the 2007 World Cup was so awful was because the ticket prices were far too high and fans werent wanting to fly across the world to see the WC stretched over 2 months.
    The 20/20 WC was far too quick and too many games were played in 1 day.
    As I can see, 20/20 is good for the game but 50 over games are longer and can bring some suprises like the blogger pointed out.
    50 Over cricket isnt dead and is not far from being killed off.

  • Comment number 3.

    I don't recall having heard Jack Russell on the TMS team before, so I'm looking forward to that. Macca did okay with his comments, but I think he'd be better served if he reined in the sporting cliches a bit.

    I think you should give Alison more time in the commentary box too, btw. Despite some of the comments on the Forums, she made a pretty decent fist of her stints in the T20 match and I think she's a bit wasted wandering around the boundary, to be honest. Speaking of, why not get some of the England women's team in as expert comments people once in a while?

    As for some of KP's comments in the interview you mention...*rolls eyes*...

    "That's where we want to take cricket. Everybody who loves the sport must surely want it to be a worldwide game."

    ...forgive me, but as isn't Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Australasia pretty much worldwide?

  • Comment number 4.

    It's well known that KP has a vested interest in the IPL and other Twenty20 issues; he's certainly been the most vociferous. Strauss's Freudian slip the other night at Lord's rather indicated that this whole debate of freeing up players whirls most specifically around Pietersen and his wishes and requirements.

    He's trying to please his future masters by saying this stuff.

    Interestingly, it was observed by Angus Fraser that the gates for Twenty20 are well down this season in the UK. Maybe people shouldn't be so quick to consign other, older forms of the game to the dustbin of history......... Is Twenty20 a 9-day wonder?

    The problem with the World Cup was the way it was organised (or disorganised) by the ICC, not the games themselves. Who can forget the two thrillers which the England side were involved in against Sri Lanka and then the Windies? Those games expressed everything about cricket which I personally admire and enjoy............

  • Comment number 5.

    you make a good point about the india one day series being good, but this is due to the indians placing one day cricket on a higher pedestal than tests.
    good 50 over series are in a massive minority. the vast majority of them are slow, boring, and generally one sided.
    20/20 takes out the boring middle overs in 50 over cricket where the batsmen milk the spinners for singles.
    also the world cup was the worst iv seen in ages. should be scrapped as soon as possible

  • Comment number 6.

    I personally would rather see 50 over cricket go by the way side.

    Sky have broadcast 4 Twenty20 games over the last 4 days, all of which were shockingly one sided affairs. But while a 50 over game would take over 7 hours to unravel, these 4 games were over with in 3 hours so at least you felt like you were entertained.

    I will always prefer test match cricket myself, but for a quick blast of entertainment Twenty20 is a much better format than one day cricket.

    Now that India (who were initially very resistant to 20 over cricket, feeling it would damage the 50 over game) have won a World Cup and staged a very successful domestic tournament, I suspect they too are likely to start abandoning the 50 over format in favour of slap and tickle and that is pretty much the major indicator these days as to what is popular and what is not.

  • Comment number 7.

    I can't believe NZ haven't picked Chris Martin for the 1 day squad.

    Saw him play his first match as Warwickshire's new overseas player at Taunton today.

    He took 2-21 in 4 overs, both wickets beating batsmen for pace including Trescothick with a superb yorker, excellent figures for a 20/20 match.

  • Comment number 8.

    I am a bit sick of all the hype around 20/20 already! The match at Old Trafford was as professional as I have seen England play for donkeys years. I would love to believe that England are on a roll after their performances in the tests, and that the players would always try that hard for their country, but somehow it all seems a bit tainted.
    In the post match interview KP looked like a man with dollar signs in front of his eyes. Only a few months back he complained of feeling burnt out, and not liking being away from home, but all of a sudden he looks decidedly chipper.
    I hope the Ashes next year come at the right time for the game, as a reminder of what should be the top challenge to an English cricketer. If we do win, no doubt Michael Vaughan's captaincy and ability to make decisions under the toughest of pressure will be a huge factor. What a pity he will be quids down on the like of KP.

  • Comment number 9.

    I agree with GirlfanLondon here.

    I came back to cricket thanks to TMS's online commentary on the World Cup (April) 2007. Thanks to e-mails from the Caribbean, I was told that local people weren't trusted with organising events, and that in turn produced a powerful 'disconnect' between the organisers and the local populace who felt that they had been constructively excluded from the event, thanks to extremely petty rules and exorbitant ticket prices at the beginning of the tournament. Let's not forget Mr Woolmer's untimely passing.

    I also saw over 50 matches in the IPL: there were some fantastic games, but the two semi-finals were very one-sided. Not much fun at all. A boring game of cricket is a boring game of cricket - whatever its length or over-rate.

    Two further points: I see no mention of free-to-air TV provision in all of this drama, and that Pietersen's quotes as reported are sad - and doesn't augur well for the future of Test Match cricket (which is where my allegiance lies).

  • Comment number 10.

    Mounters, Glad to see you have joined the greats like blowers, aggers and tuffers so soon into your TMS tenureship by adding ers to your surname. As an avid fan my newest pet is called Daphne but we call her Daffers in honour of TMS. Keep up the good work.


  • Comment number 11.

    I have to agree that the World Cup was a huge blow to the fifty over game, however a good fifty over game is something enjoyable and it would be a shame to lose that. I really couldn't care less if the twenty20 world record score gets posted, but it was special to see the Aussies hit 400. Of course, it was even better to then see them lose.

    It might be worth trying to see how the two games can work together to make both an enjoyable spectacle. Thirty30 maybe?

  • Comment number 12.

    I'd rather we lost 50 over than test cricket. If international players are complaining that their schedule it "too long" then perhaps 50 over cricket is scrapped at both county and international level, or it's downgraded to less games, so instead of a 5 match series there are just 1 or a best of 3 series...?

  • Comment number 13.

    How about this?

    ODI - 80 overs
    Split into 4 quarters

    1st quarter - 20 overs
    Team A bats

    10 minutes break

    2nd quarter - 20 overs
    Team B bats

    40 minutes Lunch break

    3rd quarter - 20 overs
    Team A continues from where
    it left off from 1st quarter

    10 minutes break

    4th quarter - 20 overs
    Team B continues from where
    it left off from 2nd quarter

    This format give chances for both teams to adjust the pace of play accordig to the match situation.

    Split innings give fielding side rest between quarters.

    Deteriorating conditions will affect both teams equally. etc.......

  • Comment number 14.

    To think that the "meaningless overs between 15 and 40" and the arrival of kwikcricket for professionals will signal the death of limited overs is a tad naive. The World Cup in West Indies was a disaster, over-doing the fixtures and people tend to forget that cricket in West Indies is dying anyway on top of what was a ridiculous situation regards tickets.

    But why use that World Cup as a yardstick? If you had a World Cup (50 over variety) in England, South Africa, Australia or India I bet it would be a huge success. And cricket isn't just about entertainment these days, there is also the small matter of £££££. While people still pay a lot for tickets and the game can last three or four days there will still be gate receipts. Maybe fools who are willing to part with their money won't put it into anything other than T20, but how much will actually go into the game and how much to the players? Maybe the players will drift towards T20, possibly in and out, but I think they know the true Test.

    T20 hasn't been around five minutes, what I read in Pietersen's comments he was talking about Tests finishing in three-four days as indicative that they will die off. Well funnily enough they have been finishing in less than five days for much longer than he's been playing Test cricket. I think when the ticket sales for ODIs and Tests drop it will signify the end of one, t'other or both. Until then I think cricketers should keep their opinions to themselves.

  • Comment number 15.

    I must have a mental block somewhere. Put simply, I can't understand the Twenty20 idea being "entertainment"! No thought or strategy required, whack-the-ball-anywhere mentality, and I'm not even sure the fielders do any better for all this free catching practice, because they sure haven't turned into Rod Marsh-Alan Knott clones as a result ... Has the average attention span really diminished so much that even 50 overs per side are too long for people to be able to concentrate? Why've these people deserted football - would've thought it ideal for them, plus it's never off TV!

  • Comment number 16.

    KP is a charlatan. The saffas haven't forgiven him for turning tail, and his latest comments just show how greedy and opportunistic he is. It's not like he's broke (he must have tucked enough away to retire on tomorrow), but in this era of overpaid sports stars, he feels he needs to catch up with the Rooneys. It is shockingly shameful, particularly as it's cricket. There's not a drop of English blood in his body; genetic or adopted.

  • Comment number 17.

    Hear hear, No.16. It wouldn't be so bad if KP consistently demonstrated the 'genius' that commentators continually allude to. Alas, all it takes is one ton to make everyone forget the dozen innings of dross that preceded it.

    How long before we see 'transfer fees' rearing their ugly heads in the counties, "entertainers" being bought and sold like footballers? The way things are going, it might not be too long before a match consists of two teams of "entertainers" comprised of our South Africans and Australians versus their South Africans and Australians.

  • Comment number 18.

    Hear, hear, hear No 16 and 17. KP is missing the English genes to give him the class and gentility to deal with the current situation without looking like a money grabber. I am sure he is not the only one thinking like that, but others can deal with the issue more sensitively.
    A true fan wants to believe that the players are committed to their country, not their wallet.
    This 20/20 "Chav cricket" is fun, entertaining and drawing lots of new people to the game. But like a naughty 4 year old, I would like to see it put in it's place, as very much the junior form of the game. The disproportionate amounts of money involved are making that hard to do.

  • Comment number 19.

    Regardless of his motivation, Kevin Pietersen is right: the 50-over game has lost much of its relevance and its interest.

    Ever since T20 started, I have been of the view that it will soon be difficult to interest the public in games where each innings features 15 overs of fun at the start and another 15 overs at the end - with 20 overs of tip and run in the middle. 40 overs a day of nudging and nurdling is (frankly) pretty dull - it has neither the excitement of T20 nor the strategy of Test cricket.

    As for KP being a money-grabber, well, do you blame him? I was in India during most of the IPL and its a huge shame that the likes of Pietersen were not able to take part. Personally, I think that he was very gracious about the whole thing at the time - and if I had missed out on half a million quid simply in order to retain my place in the England international set-up I think I would feel entitled to express a view. Wouldn't you? Especially since the likes of Daniel Vettori, Ross Taylor and Jacob Oram were allowed to take part, despite having exactly the same international commitments either side of the tournament.

    I agree wholeheartedly that T20 should not be allowed to dominate the cricket scene - Test cricket should always remain the pinnacle of the game - but it is difficult to see a long-term place for the 50-over game.

  • Comment number 20.

    Looking forward to the series as ever Adam.

    Pleased to see that Simon Brown and Jack Russell will be on - its a good idea to have a local perspective.

    I had hoped Alison Mitchell would be used as a commentator but I'm looking forward to Mark Pougatch being involved and my favourites Henry Blofled and Simon Mann.

    Pleased Jermey Coney is on a couple of matches as I thought his summer stint was over. Just a shame that Bryan Waddle won't be involved.

  • Comment number 21.

    While it's true that both T20 and ODIs have the potential to be exceptionally one-sided, so can test matches and indeed any sport. I would say that this talk of 50 over ODIs or test matches dying a death is really not looking at the real cause of the problem: not that people aren't being entertained, but that they aren't being entertained sufficiently to pay the frankly extortionate ticket prices to go and see international cricket. And not many people like sitting down in front of the TV all day to watch an ODI -- it's not particularly productive.

    I'm a student in London, and I'm ideally placed to watch cricket -- Lord's is around an hours walk through Hyde Park and the Oval is a quick train ride away -- however every time I want to go and see some international cricket, I can't: it's very hard to justify spending £75 to see a day of a test match, and a similar amount to see an ODI. There are fairly large concessions for under 16s, but that's it.

    Could someone please tell me how this is at all good for the game? Or indeed how it is not one of the first things that needs to be changed if cricket is to become more popular in this country? I don't think there are many people between the age of 16 and 25 who can regularly afford to go and watch international cricket, which is a dire state of affairs.

  • Comment number 22.

    It annoys me that people talk about the death of 50 over cricket and the 2007 world cup being a disaster.

    Firstly, I went to the 2007 world cup during the super 8s stage and thought it was great. The studium wasn't always totally full, but there were still plenty of people there and the atmosphere was good. Possibly it could have been organised better, and there may well have been more exciting World Cups in the past, but I witnessed some excellent cricket, brilliant individual performances and absorbing matches. So there.

    On 50 over ODIs in general, I think its problem is only that there is too much of it. 7 matches in one series is too many, especially when you only have 3 tests on that tour. The matches become boring because they are only one of many, and therefore have less individual importance. There needs to be a better balance and with 20/20 coming in, it should be at the expense of some of the 50 over games: a three match series, for example, would be really competitive and exciting.

    Also, and very importantly in my opinion, 50 over cricket is the most common club cricket format, and I think people should be able to watch international cricket in the same format as they play at club level.

  • Comment number 23.

    The greatest threat to test cricket is not 20-20 per sé, but the increased demands of squeezing even more games into an already congested calendar.

    The ICC's big plan thus far seems to have been to chase as much money, as quickly as possible. But in a game where players suddenly have a lot more power and influence than ever before, how long before leading players start refusing to play as many games as are demanded of them?

    Were that to happen, it's hard not to think that it would be the five-day game that suffers - more work for less money. The argument often bandied about is that all youngsters see test cricket as the pinnacle - but why should that still be true in 10, 20 years time, if test matches have been relegated to a sideshow (if that)?

    Three forms of the game is too many, and its entirely unreasonable for the ICC to assume that, because they want to play all three, players will dutifully fall in line. They won't - and one of the three will disappear as a result. It won't be 20-20, for obvious reasons. And if test cricket is to be saved, then the only alternative is to abandon the 50 over game. After all, many different versions of limited-overs cricket have been tried over the years - 60, 50, 40, 45, and now 20. If it turns out that 20 is best, so be it. But all those formats have been run as a single limited-overs game alongside test cricket.

    Of course, this doesn't have to happen overnight - indeed, it can't, as the ICC are contractually bound to host at least one more 50 over World Cup. But it is surely time, for the greater good, to wind down the medium-length format.

    And after the experience of last year's World Cup, will anyone really mourn its passing?

  • Comment number 24.


    It is, because you can ge tlow scoring grounds. Just look at Bristol in recent years, one game last year Gloucestershire made 101/9 and Somerset got to the target after 16 overs with 4 wickets down and even at one point fell to 40/4.

  • Comment number 25.

    Not sure whether the First Nat West ODI at Durham proves the fifty over format is good or not.
    On the one hand had it have been a Twenty20 game we may have been denied KP's entertaining hundred. However arguably he could have attempted even more outrageous reverse sweeps in a Twenty20 match !
    It was no doubt an excellent England performance - but not a great contest and I am afraid once McCullum was out the match rather drifted to a conclusion. The problem with a 50 over format being the drift takes a long time. But I am in a privileged position being able to watch a days cricket as part of my job - I am sure the capacity crowd here at Chester Le Street were happy for the game to go on as long as possible.

    Thanks for all your Stanford e-mails and blog posts today. On wednesday we are going to be chatting about the "Champions League". Your thoughts are welcome again !

  • Comment number 26.

    Can there be a new BBC rule employed that doesn't ever give KP's pronouncements about cricket any headline coverage? He's undisputedly one of the finest batsmen in world cricket right now but that comes with a propensity for talking utter garbage. We all heard him whining about being tired last season and now this season we're hearing about his desire to play more cricket now that the dollars are flooding in.

    Kev, if you were playing 20 over cricket, you wouldn't have got to play that innings today. You'd have been encouraged to swing earlier on a pitch that every batsman had to get themselves accustomed to if they were going to score runs. If the quick roll in the hay that is Twenty20 is all you want to do then have the guts to retire from the England 50-over squad. 20-over cricket bores me. It bores me to see bowlers reduced to cannon fodder and sides being bowled out in 20 overs through swinging from the hip.

    There is plenty of scope for 50-over cricket and 20 over cricket. The nudging and nurdling in the middle overs are interesting because you see how a side progresses. It gives the slower bowlers time to try out a strategy. Cricket isn't a game naturalyl suited to being over quickly a la football and rugby. So why all the efforts to turn it into one? Relish the points about cricket that make it what it is.

  • Comment number 27.

    Cricket is a slow game; deal with it.

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm getting a bit sick and tired of people going on about 2020 cricket not requiring any thought or strategy. "Close your eyes and whack the ball" sort of rubbish.
    If that were true, then someone like Shahid Afridi would have flourished in the IPL.
    He didn't.
    The batting of someone like Shaun Marsh (top scorer in the IPL) wasn't anything like what people *expect*2020 batting to be like.

    2020 is here to stay - deal with it!

  • Comment number 29.

    "If there is one sport that can conquer America, and that market, it is Twenty20 fixtures." Wrong. If there is one sport that can conquer America, it is baseball. We can move the wickets into a diamond, end innings after three guys are out, play nine innings a side and legalise chucking. Or we can just play cricket, and not give too many stuffs whether America joins in.

    Changing cricket to make it relevant to Americans is not unlike changing the Bible to make it relevant to Daleks.

  • Comment number 30.

    Any chance of Graeme Fowler doing any summarising stints on TMS this summer ? Always enjoy his self depreciating sense of humour.

  • Comment number 31.

    posters 16 17 and 18 seem to be agreed that KP has no English blood. Am I wrong in my understanding that his mother is English?

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi all,

    As a cricket-starved American, I have plenty of room in my heart for all three forms of the game. There's a certain amount of symmetry in having "Large", Medium", and "Small" cricket, depending on your tastes and desires. The 40-over game is the redundancy, and that is the one we should see the backside of, and soon.

    Twenty20 has it's purpose - the fast-paced game that's short on the fundamentals but is an all-around crowd pleaser.

    The 50-over game allows the unique qualities of cricket to be on display - field placement, weather and light, crumbling pitches - but still gives a result in a day.

    Test cricket is and always will be the hallmark of the game - the endurance required, the quality and style of play, and the sense of epic struggle will keep it where it is in the eyes of the world, right behind football in world popularity.

  • Comment number 33.

    Test cricket is intruiging, with twists and turns that unfold monitored subtley via a minimised scoreboard window in the corner of one's desktop.

    20-20 is a heady excitement, that provides the all-action cricket that people actually like to watch live.

    To me, an innings of 50-over cricket is like two halves of an excting 20-20 innings with a boring 30 overs sandwiched in the middle. The sooner it is abolished the better, for it adds nothing that the other two forms don't already provide better.


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