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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > PTI > Report

In four decades, ODIs outplay Tests

January 21, 2003 10:38 IST

In the 40 years since its inception, limited overs cricket has come a long way. From its beginning in England in 1963, the concept soon spread to other countries and gained in popularity before the first world Cup was held in 1975.

With its birth, traditionalists were alarmed -- many still are, like celebrated cricket writer Sir Nevile Cardus, who calls it 'snicket' or 'slogget'.

The adoption of limited-overs cricket by the English counties and its quick appearance on the international scene brought about perhaps the most fundamental change in the game.

The first knockout competition was held during the English cricket season of 1963 and it was known as the 'Gillette Cup'.

In fact, an year earlier, Leicestershire had mooted the idea of holding a limited-overs tournament between Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire besides Leicestershire, proposing to call it the 'Midland's knockout cup'.

Limited-overs cricket, however, would not have seen the light of day but for an alarming drop in the attendance at Test and county games.

In 1963, the Marylebone Cricket Club set up a committee to look into the decline in gate collections and the general tempo of the game. The committee, under the chairmanship of H S Altham, proposed a drastic solution -- a knockout competition.

The idea pleased the sponsors. The shorter version ensured instant results unlike the long and boring Test and county matches that mostly ended in draws.

This pilot scheme worked well as a new set of rules was introduced -- each innings was restricted to 65 overs and no bowler could deliver more than 15 of them.

The Gillette Cup later became the base for limited-overs competitions all over the world.

On May 1, 1963, the preliminary match between Lancashire and Leicestershire was played at Manchester, for the Gillette Cup. Though rain held up start for three hours, the tournament was financially very successful.

The final was held at Lord's on Saturday, September 7, 1963, before a capacity crowd of 25,000, Sussex became the first winners of the Gillette Cup, beating Worcestershire by 14 runs.

In the subsequent years, apart from limiting a side's innings to 60 overs, with 12 overs being the limit for each bowler, major changes were introduced, including a restriction on field placements.

The second limited-overs competition, known as the John Player League or the Sunday League, was held in 1969. This was followed by the Benson and Hedges League Cup in 1972.

With so many successful limited-overs matches and tournaments being played during the 60s, the first limited-overs international match was played on January 5, 1971, between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground before 46,000 spectators.

Ironically, this 40-over [eight balls] match was played due to the cancellation of the scheduled third Test match of the Ashes series.

Since then, limited-overs one-day games between Test playing countries have become popular.

The success of the first-ever international match prompted the Test and County Cricket Board of England to arrange a series of three one-day matches between the home team and the Australians in 1972.

This 55-over a side international tournament, known as the Prudential Trophy, provided lively, competitive cricket and was a financially rewarding diversion from the sterner stuff of five-day Test matches.

Seeing its popularity, India, Australia, Pakistan, West Indies and New Zealand, the then permanent members of the International Cricket Council, started their own domestic competitions during the seventies.

The shorter version became so popular during the 70s that the ICC decided to hold a major tournament involving the Test playing nations.

Thus, the first World Cup was held in England in June 1975 involving eight countries -- England, Australia, West Indies, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and East Africa.

However, the game changed dramatically in 1977 with the advent of Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer, who pumped in millions of dollars to forever change the face of the game.

Limited-overs internationals began to be designed to attract big TV audiences, which meant that the game had to be more viewer-oriented.

Among other things, Packer was the one to introduce night cricket, which was played in coloured clothing with a white ball and against a black sightscreen.

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Number of User Comments: 5


it is absoultely true that one-day cricket is the darling of multitudes.i do not understand the idea of fostering the test crickt despite the fact ...

Posted by K.M.CHERIYAN

Sub: ODIs outplay Tests!

This is really good news.One hopes that 5 day Tests will become obsolete very soon. It will not be a bad idea at all for ...

Posted by Dr.M.N.K.Nair

Sub: This is good - but Test matches should be there too.

No matter how popular the limited version of the game is, nothing can replace test cricket. Especially now, when test matches have become more result-oriented ...

Posted by Nihal

Sub: O - D - I

the artical is pretty good in content, i donn kno much abt the history of ODI n hope u cud place similiar articals in these ...

Posted by arun

Sub: ODI

Thanks to kerry Packer, we have money and crowds coming to the game.

Posted by Khan


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