ICC plays down fears on relevance of 50-over games

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/i/icclogo.jpg' class='caption'> The ICC sought to allay concerns over the relevance of the 50-over ODIs in the wake of the huge popularity enjoyed by the shortened Twenty20 games.

Updated: August 20, 2009 12:16 IST
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The International Cricket Council on Thursday sought to allay concerns over the relevance of the 50-over ODIs in the wake of the huge popularity enjoyed by the shortened Twenty20 games and said both the formats were here to stay.

"ODIs have been there for a number of years and Test cricket is alive and well as is shown by the difficulty in getting tickets for the Oval Test (for the series-deciding Ashes contest between England and Australia)", said ICC's general manager, commercial, Campbell Jamieson, here.

"We have just added a new format (T20) and need to find the right balance (in playing the three types). But like in any sport the nation vs nation contests bring out the best in players," he said at the unveiling ceremony of the ICC Champions Trophy which starts in South Africa on September 22.

Cricketer Dinesh Karthik, who was scheduled to do the unveiling at the Reliance Centre, could not make it due to "unavoidable circumstances".

Australian spin legend Shane Warne has recently called for the dumping of the 50-over game and advocated it to be replaced totally by T20 games.

Campbell insisted that the enthusiasm for the 50-over event, carrying a total prize fund of $4 million with the winnners and runners-up entitled for $2 and 1 million respectively, was high in South Africa.

"There is keen interest in South Africa. Already there are talks among fans about who would win the trophy," the ICC official said, adding that every winning team member would be awarded a Champions Trophy winner's jacket at the end of the final on October 5.

"The jacket has been designed by an Indian", Campbell said.

He said the Champions Trophy will see quality cricket being played among all the Test-playing nations barring Bangladesh.

"The tournament provides the platform for all the teams to see how well they perform ahead of the 2011 World Cup (to be hosted in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh)", he declared.

The losing semi finalists would get $400,000 each while $100,000 is reserved for the teams that finish third in the two groups. Prize money has quadrupled since the 2006 edition.

Matches are to be played at Johannesburg (Wanderers) and Centurion (Centurion Park) and the tournament kicks off with hosts South Africa taking on Sri Lanka under lights at Centurion Park.

The groups:

Group A: Australia, India, Pakistan and West Indies
Group B: South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and England

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