Euro 2020 Special

Australia v England ODI Review: England Whitewashed but Scheduling Under the Spotlight


Australia completed an ODI series whitewash against England.

However, what would normally be treated as a major event by cricket fans turned into something of a damp squib, as the numbers to see the final match was a record low for an ODI at the MCG in Melbourne.

And with international scheduling once more on the agenda, the whole viability of the ODI format has been called into question.


Matches recap

Match One Adelaide

Arguably the most competitive of the games, England batted first and made 287/9 from their 50 overs, in large part due to Dawid Malan, the man who missed the World Cup final with injury, who made 134, including 4 sixes and 12 fours.

Australia though chased that down with more than three overs and six wickets in hand, with Steve Smith scoring an undefeated 80, David Warner who scored 86, and Travis Head with 69.

Match Two Sydney

In Sydney, Smith again starred with the bat making 94, supported this time with 58 from Marnus Labuschagne and a half century from Mitchell Marsh helping the home side post 280/8.

England seemed to be in contention when James Vince and Sam Billings put on 122 for the fourth wicket, but then slumped to 208 all out, Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa both taking four wickets apiece.

Match Three Melbourne

England suffered their heaviest ever ODI defeat in Melbourne in terms of runs scored.

Australia batting first made 355/5 from their allotted overs, with Warner and Head sharing an opening stand of 269. Warner was out for 106, and Head was dismissed for 156.

England were all out for 142 in the 32nd over of their reply. Zampa again took four wickets.


ODI future in question?

The match in Melbourne was watched by a record low crowd for Australia in an ODI, with just over 10,000 fans attending in the end. This is a ground that regularly saw full houses for such matches, and, when India and Pakistan played their T20 World Cup match here recently, the official; attendance was 90,293.

David Warner, the Player of the Series, expressed his sympathy with the fans, saying “it’s a lot to ask people to fork out to come to these games when they can watch it on TV.”

It is systematic of a wider problem. According to an online survey more than 30% of respondents expect ODI cricket to have died out within 10 to 15 years.

The players are beginning to vote with their feet as well. Ben Stokes, for example, quit ODI cricket earlier this year arguing that it was no longer feasible for him to continue with all three formats of the game. At the same time he warned cricket administrators that “we are not cars; you can’t just fill us up and we’ll go out there ready to be fuelled up again”.



Whilst matches between Australia and England are normally to be treasured, this had been devalued before it even started, by its scheduling, just days after the T20 World Cup final.

Understandably, those that had played in the final were still celebrating that victory and in no mood to get back out on the field again, whilst others had already left Australia to prepare for the upcoming test series in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, India and New Zealand have been playing each other in white ball cricket, barely a week after their respective World Cup campaigns ended.


Is Cricket in danger of killing the golden goose?

Whilst there was some catching-up to be done because of the global pandemic, the scheduling issue is increasing starting to dominate the agenda, especially with the proliferation of franchise leagues, like the new South African T20 league starting in January, and the planned expansion of the Indian T20 league.

Cricket has now become a 365 day a year sport and there is now little or no downtime for the players.

Critics may argue that international cricketers now can earn a very good living from the game, certainly compared to their peers from earlier years, and that is their choice to play in some of these franchise competitions.

However, it does not take over from the fact that the quality of the product is devalued, whatever the competition if players are exhausted and burned-out. And it also means that some of the biggest tournaments could be missing major stars because they cannot handle the workload.

That is not in the interests of anybody associated with the game.




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