Before the longest summer of cricket ever, which ironically started in Spring and finished in Autumn, got underway, there were many people wanting and waiting to see the back of 50 over one-day cricket.
Reasons being that the crowds were at their lowest since this form of the game started at the MCG in 1971, the same thing with the TV ratings. The performances were largely poor and the game was boring, and not as exciting as the Renegade form of cricket, Twenty/20.
By the end of the summer, most of that had been reversed, so much so that some experts were even saying that this form of the game was now more exciting than Twenty/20 cricket.
The return of the tri-series for the first time since 2007 has reaped rewards for One Day International cricket. 3 of the best 4 teams in the world; Australia (1st), Sri Lanka (4th) and India (3rd); contested the Commonwealth Bank Series, making for the most interesting ODI matches for a long time.
The introduction of using two new balls in a single match also made the game more exciting. This allowed for more smashes from the likes of renowned big hitter Dave Warner and new boy Matthew Wade. This really didn’t have much effect overall on the bowlers, as we saw in the final with Clint McKay picking up 5 wickets.
As Channel 9 pointed out in their coverage, the TV ratings were remarkably up on the previous summer against England. This may be due to Australia’s good performances during the test series, something that cannot be said about the 2010/11 Ashes Series.
The crowd numbers are also slightly up on last summer, but this could be down to the strong support of the Sri Lankans and Indians in Australia, although in saying that England of course have big support in Australia.
Sure, the crowds weren’t fantastic for the Sri Lanka VS India matches, but gee did they have some atmosphere. 11,000 fans could sound like 80,000. It was the matches involving Australia that had a lack of atmosphere.
The first ODI match of the summer was played in rainy conditions at the MCG on a Sunday. Just over 30,000 people turned up, which is not a bad crowd in all respects. But in a 100,000 seat stadium it’s not that flash. Although the MCC would not like it, I believe matches like these should be moved to Etihad Stadium, or even to Skilled Stadium in Geelong.
With the 2015 Cricket World Cup being hosted in Australia and New Zealand, let’s hope that we can keep improving on these crowds next summer and the years to come.