Australian Test opener Usman Khawaja believes that ODI cricket is going slow due to the proliferation of T20 leagues across the world and a busy international calendar. Khawaja is the latest cricketer to join the debate over the existence of 50-over cricket after England superstar Ben Stokes on Monday stunned the cricketing world by announcing his sudden retirement from ODI cricket at the age of 31.
England’s Test captain Stokes termed playing the three formats as ‘unstable’, saying cricketers are ‘not like a car’ and there is ‘too much cricket.
“I personally think one-day cricket is dying a slow death,” Khawaja, who has represented Australia in 40 ODIs since making his debut in the format in 2013, told reporters in Brisbane on Friday.
“There’s still the World Cup, which I think is really fun and it’s enjoyable to watch, but other than that, even personally, I’m probably not that much into one-day cricket.” Khawaja argued that the 50-over format has lost its relevance, with the recent T20 World Cup knocking at the door.
“At the moment it looks like it’s not really that important because of the T20 World Cup,” Khawaja said.
“Something has to give, because you can’t have all three formats to play all the games; you have to decide and choose.” However, the 35-year-old was of the opinion that despite a block-a-block international calendar, Test cricket would continue to be the pinnacle of the game.
“You have Test cricket, which is the pinnacle, you have T20 cricket, which obviously has leagues around the world, great entertainment, everybody loves it, and then there’s one-day cricket, and I think That’s probably the third one out of them all,” he said.
Khawaja feels that it is not impossible for any cricketer to be a player of three formats, but it is slowly becoming quite tiring for everyone.
“Not impossible, very tough. So much travel. If you’re playing all three formats of the game, you’re not really at home,” he said.
“There’s a lot of cricket going on. Yes, you get to pick and choose, I think, what you want to play in some cases, but look, it can be very tough at the moment.” Pakistan pacer Wasim Akram had also expressed his concerns and wanted the game’s administrators to scrap the ODI format for good. Former England captain Nasser Hussain also slammed the tight cricket calendar.
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