End of days: it's over, says Gilchrist

ADAM Gilchrist has made the staggering prediction that one-day cricket will be ''history'' within three years.

Australia's greatest wicketkeeper/batsman believes the declining format, on the slide in popularity since the ascent of domestic and international Twenty20 cricket, will likely not last beyond the 2015 World Cup, to be hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Cricket authorities have conceded the game is in a transitional phase and, as they attempt to maintain the sanctity of the Test format and manage the rise of the 20-over revenue spinner and a heavy international schedule, the original limited-overs version is the odd one out.

Gilchrist, who made a name for himself internationally in Australia's one-day team before enjoying a brilliant Test career as well, does not rate its chances of survival.

''I reckon about three years, I see it, and it will be pretty much gone,'' he told Triple M's Summer Session. ''There is a World Cup in 2015 - I believe TV deals are all locked away to get to that and those commitments will be fulfilled. But after that, I think it will be history.

''I suspect that one-day cricket may be obsolete in about three years' time. I suspect that after that the appetite for it might diminish and all the TV programmers and the administrators will be focusing on the two other forms. Twenty20, let's face it, is the revenue stream that keeps the longer version alive. I just suspect that's the way it's headed.''

More than 30 years after limited-overs cricket in coloured clothing took off in Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket revolution, crowds have dropped off dramatically in recent years, a trend assisted by the Twenty20 boom.

Figures presented to Cricket Australia's new board in October demonstrated the format's fall from grace. While CA continues to throw its support behind the one-day game ahead of its hosting of the World Cup it is faced with a major challenge to restore or even retain crowd numbers.

A total of 456,264 spectators attended ODI

matches in the summer of 1999-2000, a figure that plummeted to 251,916 last season.

There has also been consternation about seemingly meaningless stand-alone ODI series such as Australia's five-match series in England in the winter, and with the design of the format itself, which lends itself to innings often meandering along between the 15th and 40th overs and only coming alive at start and finish.

CA maintains that television ratings for ODI cricket remain strong, and the format will be a plank of the new five-year domestic broadcast rights deal due to be finalised soon.

Gilchrist argues it will ultimately become consumed amid the demand for cricket's other two forms.

''One-day cricket gave me my opening at international level, so I'll forever be indebted to that but I just suspect the appetite will be Twenty20 cricket or the pure version,'' he said.

But there is a complication with England and Wales having already been assigned hosting rights for the 2019 World Cup.

CA spokesman Peter Young said the governing body did not share Gilchrist's views. ''The World Cup is the world's fourth biggest sporting event, it's got a viewing audience of a billion people,'' he said. ''Our own research shows when you measure the affection of cricket with the Australian public that ODI cricket has still got a lot of life left in its legs.''

The story End of days: it's over, says Gilchrist first appeared on The Age.

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