File image of Ravi Shastri© BCCI
As cricket grapples with a massive scheduling problem, former India coach Ravi Shastri has called for reduction in T20 bilateral series, saying franchise cricket can be encouraged instead. As per ICC’s next Futures Tours & Programme’s (FTP) draft, there is set to be a massive increase in T20s and the IPL is also set to have a two-and-a-half-month exclusive window. With the increasing number of matches, multi-format players are feeling the load. England’s premier all-rounder Ben Stokes shocked everyone be announcing retirement from ODIs on Monday.
The 31-year-old said playing three formats had become “unsustainable” for him.
Earlier this month, Cricket South Africa had decided to pull-out of their ODI series against Australia to ensure their players would be available for their new domestic T20 competition.
“I would be a little careful of the number of bilateral splits, especially in T20 cricket. There’s a lot of franchise cricket which can be encouraged, whichever country it’s in – India, West Indies, or Pakistan,” Shastri said on a Telegraph’s Sport’s podcast.
“You play less bilaterals and then you get together for the World Cups. So the emphasis on ICC World Cup events becomes paramount. Then people look forward to them,” he added.
Former England skipper Nasser Hussain has also slammed the crammed cricket calendar.
Shastri also suggested a two-tier Test set up to save the longest format from extinction.
“I think two tiers are needed, otherwise Test cricket will die in 10 years time.
“You need six teams at the top, and then six teams in the second and then you qualify. And those top six play against each other more often because of the corridor you open up by having less bilateral T20 cricket and just franchise cricket. That’s the way all formats of the game can survive,” he explained.
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