Usman Khawaja
Australia's Usman Khawaja. Image Credit: Reuters

Melbourne: Charismatic Australia batter Usman Khawaja believes the 50-over-a-side One-day International cricket “is just that little bit too long now” and wants it trimmed to a 40-over-a-side format to remove that “little lull” in the middle overs.

Khawaja, a veteran of 50 Tests and 40 ODIs, whose exploits with the bat during the 2021/22 Ashes at home simply blew England away, said, “I would like one-day cricket more if it was 40 overs. I really would.

“I played Pro40s in England a few years ago when they were playing 40-over cricket. I loved it,” the 35-year-old batter said.

T20 popularity

“T20 cricket’s awesome, Test cricket is the pinnacle, I just feel like one-day cricket, if it could be 40 overs I reckon that would just take out the middle bit and it would just be (perfect). You get to 25 overs and you look up and you’re like oh, there’s only 15 overs left, alright let’s go again. So you don’t have that little lull. That’s my only objection to one-day cricket,” added Khawaja.

There has been a perception of late that ODI cricket is dying, with the mushrooming domestic T20 leagues across the world and the popularity of the T20 World Cup, whose 2022 edition will commence in less than a week’s time in Australia.

India will be hosting the ODI World Cup next year, which is expected to be a big hit but experts believe there is no denying the interest in the format is waning.

Australia spinner Adam Zampa believes 50-over cricket needs some rule tweaks to make it more entertaining. “One-day cricket feels like there’s about 10 overs in the middle that either need to be scrapped or something needs to be done with them, something a bit more exciting,” said Zampa, who is in a race against time to be fit for the T20 World Cup.

Extra free hits

“Or, in between overs 20 and 30 there’s like bonuses or extra free hits or something like that. Make it a bit more interesting,” he added.

However, Australia T20I skipper Aaron Finch, who recently retired from ODI cricket because of poor form, disagrees. “The same debate keeps coming up every couple of years when you’re 12 months out from a World Cup,” Finch told ABC.

“People try and find relevance in it, but the World Cup rolls around and it’ll be bigger than Ben-Hur again and then another format will be on the chopping block.”