As the Champions League T20 wraps up tomorrow in India, international cricket is about to explode: in a good way. There will be so much cricket available to watch that I find updating the World Cricket Internet Schedule for US Viewers a terribly daunting ask.
There is New Zealand vs Bangladesh (two tests, three ODIs, and one T20), and Australia vs India (one T20 and seven ODIs), and West Indies vs India (two Tests and three ODIs), and the Ashes Part Deux (five Tests, five ODIs, and three T20s), and India vs South Africa (three T20s, seven ODIs, and three Tests) and, finally, Sri Lanka vs Pakistan in the UAE (five ODIs and three Tests).
That takes us through mid-January. Five massive series, 53 total matches, and every single one of them live on Willow TV for us folks here in the States.
Looking at those numbers a little more closely, however, and there might be an interesting trend:
53 total matches: 15 Tests, 30 ODIs, and 8 T20s. That’s right, nearly the double amount of Tests in comparison to the T20. And the ODI, despite all evidence to the contrary, is still the dominant force in world cricket.
Which is fine, I love the ODI format.
But is it really a trend?
Looking back over the 2012-13 Winter of Cricket, I find the following series:
New Zealand vs Sri Lanka: two Tests, five ODIs, and one T20
South Africa vs Australia: three Tests
England vs India: four Tests, two T20s, and five ODIs
Sri Lanka vs Australia: three Tests, five ODIs, and two T20s
New Zealand vs South Africa: three T20s, two Tests, and three ODIs
India vs Pakistan: two T2os and three ODIs
Again, that is basically all of the international cricket (more or less) that took place between October of 2012 and January of this year.
43 total matches: 15 Tests, 21 ODIs, and 10 T20s. 10 fewer total matches, but the same amount of matches in the longest format as are scheduled this winter. The ODI sacrificed the most matches, with nine, and the T20 added two more than are scheduled this year.
Test cricket is dead? Bah. I say.
Now, of course, the FTP (pdf) is made up years and decades in advance, and so schedulers cannot foresee trends in format popularity. All they can see and react to is when there are ODI or T20 world cups – which probably explains the lack of ODIs in the 2012-13 season.
But here we come to yet another problem with how World Cricket operates: the fact that the FTP is made up years in advance.
I am not going to wade into the deep and muddy waters of the CSA-BCCI tussle over India’s tour of South Africa, but this might be a case where a board (the BCCI) saw an opportunity to recreate a schedule that was more financially beneficial to them, as was theorized over on deepbackwardpoint.com earlier this week.
Now, I am by no means a BCCI apologist – they are corrupt with capital C and what they are doing to AlternativeCricket.com is ludicrous – but despite their ulterior motives and poor behavior, their stances against DRS and against the rigidness of the FTP, while called reprehensible by some, are putting them on the right side of cricket history.
At any rate, lots of cricket to look forward to – should be a fun winter.
Cricket, like most sports, is at its best when it is being played, and at its worst when it is being discussed (says the cricket blogger, ironically) – and I have grown tired of all of the bad news on Cricinfo, and in the blogs, and on Twitter. And I just want to watch some cricket, to read some match reports, to see 11 men in white walk out on a perfectly green pitch on a bright sunny morning on the other side of the world. See them toss a coin and play cricket for five days.
And on that note: the first Test of the Ashes at Brisbane is only 47 days away.