Rahul Dravid has urged the ICC to cut down on the number of ‘meaningless’ ODIs and instead focus on 50-over format of major tournaments like the World Cup, besides exploring the possibility of day-night Test cricket.
"It must scale down this mad merry-go-round that teams and players find themselves in, Darvid said.
"Since about, I think 1985, people have been saying that there is too much meaningless one-day cricket. Maybe it’s finally time to do something about it … Anything makes more sense than seven-match ODI series," he added.
Dravid said he was surprised to see the lack of crowd during the India-England ODI series in October in India and described the sight of empty stands as ‘alarming’.
"The five-match series against England was the first time our grounds were not full for an ODI featuring Indian team. The India v England ODI series had no context, because the two countries had played each other in four Tests and five ODIs just a few weeks before.”
"When India and the West Indies played ODIs a month after that, the grounds were full but this time matches were played in smaller venues that didn’t host too much international cricket. Maybe our clues are all there and we must remain vigilant," he said, according to espncricinfo.com.
The middle-order maestro, who was here to deliver the annual Bradman Oration, the first foreign player to do so, also believed that efforts needed to be put in to bring fans back to the longer form of the game.
"Test cricket deserves to be protected, it is what the world’s best know they will be judged by. I don’t think day-night Tests or a Test championship should be dismissed. In March last year I played a day-night first-class game in Abu Dhabi for the MCC – and my experience from that was that day-night Tests is an idea seriously worth exploring.”
"There may be some challenges in places where there is dew but the visibility and durability of the pink cricket ball was not an issue."
Plans were afoot to organise the championship in 2013 but commitments to the broadcaster and sponsors forced the ICC to postpone it until 2017.
Dravid said even if fans watch matches on television, the experience is not worth if the stands are empty.
"Empty stands do not make for good television. Bad television can lead to a fall in ratings, fall in ratings will be felt by media planners and advertisers’ looking elsewhere.
"If that happens, it is hard to see television rights around cricket being as sought after as they have always been in the last 15 years. And where does that leave everyone?"
Dravid has called on cricketers to give up ‘a little bit of freedom of movement and privacy’ if it helps keep the game free of corruption.
"Cricket’s financial success means it will face threats from outside the game and keep facing them. The last two decades have proved this over and over again. The internet and modern technology may just end up being a step ahead of every anti-corruption regulation in place in the game.”
"As players, the one way we can stay ahead for the game is if we are willing to be monitored and regulated closely. Even if it means giving up a little bit of freedom of movement and privacy. If it means undergoing dope tests, let us never say no.”
"If it means undergoing lie-detector tests, let us understand the technology, what purpose it serves and accept it. Lie-detectors are by no means perfect but they could actually help the innocent clear their names. Similarly, we should not object to having our finances scrutinised, if that is what is required," he said.
First mooted by the MCC as a tool to curb corruption, the proposal was backed by former Australia captain Steve Waugh who took a lie-detector test himself.
"Players should be ready to give up a little personal space and personal comfort for this game, which has given us so much. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear," Dravid said.(PTI)