Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fifty-over cricket will hold its own - Ricky Ponting

The ICC Champions Trophy has gone a long way to ensuring the continuance of ODIs, the captains of Australia and New Zealand, the two finalists, have said. Since the advent of the Twenty20 game, which has drawn huge crowds around the world, there has been increasing talk of the 50-over format falling away.

But Ricky Ponting and Brendon McCullum, standing in for injured Blacks Caps captain Daniel Vettori, gave their thumbs-up for the 50-over format and the tournament after Australia beat New Zealand by six wickets in Monday's final in Centurion.

"There's been a lot of talk about that since the 20-over game has become as popular as it has," Ponting said. "There's plenty of space for both 20-over cricket and 50-over cricket to fit in alongside the Test game. The Test game is the form of the game I enjoy the most, but 50-over cricket, with tournaments like this, will certainly hold its own.

"I was worried at the time when 20-over cricket became as popular as it did that we might start playing a few less 50-over games, but I think tournaments like this can only help the game.

"I've really enjoyed the tournament and I think the fans around South Africa have enjoyed the tournament, so it's got some endorsement from me, and even a low-scoring game like today can probably be one of the more entertaining games that you can watch and be involved in as a player."

Ponting, who also picked up the Player-of-the-Series and Golden bat awards after his side defended their title, has played in all six editions of the Champions Trophy. But he said the latest edition, which was reduced to only eight teams for the first time, had been the best organised.

"We've only been here a couple of weeks and the tournament's over," Ponting said. "You've got the best eight teams in the world playing for it and you've got a great place to play here in South Africa with two very good grounds to play on."

McCullum endorsed Ponting's views on the tournament, which was postponed by a year after it was moved from Pakistan for security reasons. "I thought this tournament was good," he said. "The top eight teams in the world coming together and playing over a short period of time; I thought it worked well. I guess there weren't too many nail-biting games, but I still think the quality of cricket was fantastic.

"If 50-over cricket is to remain in the calendar, it's a great way to certainly push it with tournaments like the Champions Trophy."

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