It’s not just the Spirit of Cricket and the seamers dying before our eyes at this World Cup.
You can add the 50 over format to the death notices too, and unlike Heath Streak, this one is fair dinkum.
It’s broadly accepted that when this showpiece event began in India five weeks ago, ODI cricket was already DOA.
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With rival formats cannibalising the schedule, the format’s only chance to reassert relevance was for the tournament to capture our feeble attention spans with its own viral cricket moment, much like Stokes at Headingley or Pup at Noosa.
But even despite the heroics of Afghanistan and Shane Watson’s buttons – and the titillating fury of Glenn Maxwell’s 201* and Angelo Matthews’ time-out – the tournament has been so low-key that even England hasn’t bothered to turn up.
And while this week’s semi-finals will pipe fresh interest in to the event, it won’t stop the 50 over format’s torturous downslide to oblivion.
That’s because in addition to T20 and rampant time poverty, ODI cricket is also being white-anted by scurrilous termites from within.
With the schedule released only months beforehand resulting in poor crowds and meagre fanfare, it’s clear the ICC and BCCI have organised this World Cup with the enthusiasm of an enema.
While supporters have flocked for games involving India – a fanbase that would sell out a footpath to watch Rohit Sharma parallel-park – buzz has been as non-existent as the local promotion.
It begs the question: if the game’s bigwigs are now rushing through World Cups like a rate rise on Melbourne Cup Day, what chance does the ODI format have of hauling itself off the bottom of the bird cage?
Much like in Japanese culture when a boss gradually reduces the responsibilities of an underperforming employee until they resign in shame, the game’s governing body – and the ICC – are starving 50 over cricket of relevance until there’s no choice but to downsize and restructure it to the bin.
This is why administrators are always trying to find a spot in the schedule for 50 over cricket’s meagre remains, but only to fill it with a new IPL spin-off in the Maldives.
The death of ODI cricket will be a shame for us who recall its halcyon days, a time when red-ball sedation was replaced with a format spawning adventurism and more characters than Chris Lilley.
Fast forward 40 years and now it’s played by sides ravaged by the mercenary dollar in front of embarrassingly empty stands – much like third grade or a test match – usually for garish bilateral trophies.
With all due respect, the prestige of the Benson and Hedges crystal decanter will always eclipse The Pepsi Hyundai trophy presented by Killer Jeans and Brighto Paints, but that’s just me.
In short, with cricketers departing en-masse for less work and more pay in non-fungible versions of the game, 50 over cricket will soon be nothing more than a curiosity saved for trainspotters and match-fixers.
As such, we should savour these final three matches of the World Cup, even though they’re bloody long and boring.
– Dane Eldridge is a warped cynic yearning for the glory days of rugby league, a time when the sponges were magic and the Mondays were mad. He’s never strapped on a boot in his life, and as such, should be taken with a grain of salt.
Originally published as Big Show can’t save one-day cricket’s ‘self-inflicted demise’