New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson says the increasing volume of cricket could be a reason for low attendance during the recent England-Australia series and going forward, bilateral series would require “more context” for attracting fans to the stadiums. A sparse crowd witnessed the recent ODI series between the Ashes rivals Down Under. Only a handful of fans gathered at the MCG for the final match. The series had started less than four days after England’s T20 World Cup triumph Down Under.
“It was unfortunate to see, but it also shows the volume of cricket that’s being held. Because no doubt the ICC tournaments are incredibly popular and there has been a lot of cricket on. They (Australia) also had a World Cup on. So, there was a lot on in their country too.
“So, we must ensure there is a lot more context as possible in games, especially the bilateral series,” Williamson said on the eve of New Zealand’s opening ODI against India.
The proliferation of T20 leagues around the world and a hectic international calendar has led to a debate over the existence of 50-over cricket.
Asked if ODI cricket is slowly dying, Williamson said, “It’s tough.” “But yeah, it will settle somewhere. I don’t know what it will look like. A lot of teams now have two teams at the moment.
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“I don’t know where it will settle, but there are always conversations about trying to make it more appealing in any context like rule change etc so…” England’s T20 World Cup triumph has intensified the debate on split coaching and picking different players for different formats and the Kiwi skipper feels the packed schedule also has a part to play with players needing rest.
“Yes, it appears to be happening more and more and you can understand why. There is so much on and you can’t do everything. That’s why you see a lot of teams with those sort of make up.” A modern-day batting great, Williamson’s credentials as a T20 player has come under scrutiny after his underwhelming performance at the T20 World Cup and the 52-ball 61 in the second T20I against India.
“I still love playing all three formats, and enjoy changing between the three, as a player I’m looking to keep improving and I certainly have the motivation.
He was also released by Sunrisers Hyderabad ahead of the players auction.
“In terms of the auction we’ll have to wait and see. It’s certainly not up to me. People make their decisions based on their teams and what they are after and that’s how it works.” New Zealand take on India for a three-match series as focus shifts from T20s to ODI cricket with less than a year to go for the 50 over World Cup.
Williamson said that his ODI side needs to reconnect a bit.
“After a large volume of T20 cricket, the focus naturally shifts to the next one i.e is the ODI tournament. Reluctant to call it preparation, it’s very much focussing on the series at hand and the team reconnecting.” “There have not been a huge amount of ODIs, it was mostly T20Is, with some Tests. It is about settling down and getting a nice understanding. There is a change in the environment. These are a few factors.
“But it is about keeping it nice and simple, going out and express and himself. There is a lot of ODI cricket to come,” he added.
Martin Guptill was released from New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) central contract, paving the way to pursue playing opportunities overseas after he recently lost his place in the white-ball teams.
Williamson asserted that the veteran batter hasn’t retired and is still available for the BlackCaps.
“I had a few chats with him. He has been incredible for New Zealand. He made the decision to play in other leagues but is still available for New Zealand.
“He is certainly one of our best white ball players. It is just trying to strike that balance. He has not retired. He is still motivated to keep playing and getting better.”
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