ODI cricket is alive and well: Pat Cummins


Pat Cummins maintains ODI cricket is alive and well after Australia ambushed hosts India to triumph in the final and cap off a memorable World Cup.

Not since the early 2000s has 50-over cricket been the punchiest format of the game, with the surging popularity of franchise leagues cementing Twenty-20's place as the format of the masses in the years since then.

Test cricket's tradition has ensured its own longevity, leaving ODI cricket caught between the two formats, with its popularity unquestionably declining.

The constant resting of players outside of World Cups and the shift behind a TV paywall in Australia have also hurt the format, which has long struggled for context.

In the past three years, Australia has drawn an average crowd of only 8,453 to ODIs on home soil, compared to 12,385 for T20Is and 20,184 per day of Test cricket in that period.

During their home triangular series in the summer of 2003/04, the last before the advent of the T20I, Australia drew an average crowd of 31,685.

But there was no shortage of interest around the 50-over format's showpiece event in India over the past six weeks.

Afghanistan's surprise sixth-placed finish, England's constant struggles to find form, and the Netherlands' upset defeat of South Africa kept eyes on the lower end of the table.

Higher up, India's unwavering dominance was a spectacle, as was Australia's recovery from a 0-2 start to qualify for the final on an eight-game winning streak.

But the decider was a throwback to high quality, tense, ODI cricket.

Australia became the first side to bowl India out all tournament, before Travis Head's 137-run masterclass had them pulling off the chase before 130,000 stunned fans in Ahmedabad.

Cummins believed the quadrennial tournament had the power to continue keeping the ODI format fresh amid concerns for its future.

"Maybe because we won, but I did fall in love with ODI again this World Cup," Australia's captain said.

"I think the scenario where every game really matters, it does mean a bit different to just a bilateral (series).

"The World Cup's got such rich history, I'm sure it's going to be around for a long time.

"Yeah, there's so many wonderful games, so many wonderful stories within this last couple of months. So, I think there's definitely a place (for ODI cricket)."

Such was Cummins' reverence for the ODI triumph that he rated it Australia's best achievement of the year, ahead of retaining the Ashes in England and winning the World Test Championship.

"The World Test Championship was huge," he said.

"But an ODI World Cup, it's the rich history I think, and to come over to a place like India where the conditions are so different to back home.

"It's pretty gruelling, 11 games in five or six weeks, but the way the group stuck together and got through it holding the medal, that's the pinnacle."