“Yes,” responded Kane Williamson when asked whether he regarded the ODI World Cup as the most coveted prize in international cricket.
He quickly added, “I can’t speak for everyone else, but it’s certainly one of the premier events in which we can participate.”
The fact that such a question was raised on the eve of the World Cup underscores the uncertainty surrounding the significance of ODI cricket. While T20 cricket continues to expand rapidly, with new franchise-based leagues emerging each year, the relevance of ODI cricket, particularly bilateral series, has been called into question. Notably, Ben Stokes initially retired from the ODI format before reversing his decision ahead of the World Cup. South Africa jeopardized their direct qualification chances by canceling an ODI series in Australia to accommodate their new T20 league. Quinton de Kock and Afghanistan’s young fast bowler, Naveen-ul-Haq, have both announced their retirements from ODIs after the World Cup.
Sachin Tendulkar’s remark that ODI cricket has become “boring and too predictable” and ICC chief Geoff Allardice’s efforts to downplay the decline of ODI cricket have further fueled the debate. Despite this, the global governing body has scheduled two more marquee 50-over competitions until 2031.
Kane Williamson represents a rare breed of modern cricketers who excel in the longer formats of the game. However, a significant portion of contemporary players are drawn to the financial rewards of T20 cricket, particularly the Indian Premier League.
At this juncture, the ODI World Cup returns to the Indian subcontinent for the first time in 12 years. The tournament desperately needs effective promotion, and India serves as an ideal platform to rejuvenate interest in ODI cricket. The 2019 World Cup was a blockbuster, and the format requires another thrilling edition full of nail-biting moments, perhaps even another Super Over in the final!
Tickets, especially for high-profile matches, have been in high demand. Virat Kohli even had to issue a social media message, requesting his followers and friends not to contact him for tickets. The reception received by the Pakistan cricket team, visiting India after a seven-year hiatus, in Hyderabad was heartwarming. The expectations of fans urging India to win might be putting pressure on the home team, which aims to continue the trend of hosts winning the ODI World Cup for a third consecutive time.
Rohit Sharma expressed his childhood dream of participating in a 50-over World Cup, a sentiment shared by many. He assured everyone that the tournament in India would be a huge success, with packed stadiums and passionate cricket enthusiasts.
The Asia Cup served as a valuable appetizer for the World Cup, reminding fans that ODI cricket, especially in multi-nation tournaments, can be thoroughly enjoyable.
A tournament of this magnitude requires its star players to shine and pass the torch to the next generation. Players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are expected to lead the way for India, and fans hope they can lift the trophy on November 19. Meanwhile, young talents like Shubman Gill have the opportunity to make their mark on the grand stage.
Team India rallied behind Sachin Tendulkar in 2011; can they do the same for Virat Kohli this time? Will Mohammed Shami, in what might be his final major tournament in the blue jersey, deliver a memorable performance? Can India’s spin duo, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, take fans on a nostalgic journey?
Is this the last time we see Kane Williamson’s magic in ODIs? Will Jos Buttler, known for his limited-overs prowess, give his all before potentially focusing on T20 cricket? Can Ben Stokes replicate his 2019 heroics before considering retirement again?
Will Pat Cummins lead Australia back to the top of ODI cricket? Can Steve Smith and David Warner deliver their best performances in their World Cup swansong in India? Is Glenn Maxwell poised to be the X-factor in what could be his final World Cup appearance?
Could this be Shakib Al Hasan’s opportunity to shine with the Bangladesh cricket team? Will Dasun Shanaka inspire a young group of Sri Lankans? Will Afghanistan make their mark among the elite teams? Can the Netherlands replicate Kenya’s 2003 World Cup run?
There is undoubtedly much to anticipate. As Rohit Sharma pledged, India, the financial hub of world cricket, could provide an unforgettable edition that revitalizes interest in the ODI format. So, fasten your seat belts!