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Being an Aussie ODI player not what it once was for a player’s profile


Australian cricket fans like to think they’re a knowledgeable bunch so here’s a pop quiz for you. How many of these players could you pick out of a line-up.

Matt Kuhnemann, Nathan Ellis, Riley Meredith, Wes Agar, AJ Tye, Sam Heazlett, Billy Stanlake, Daniel Worrall, Joel Paris, Chris Tremain.

If you are confident of being able to identify more than half of these guys, then you are officially accepted into the John Howard Cricket Tragics House of Worship. 

These 10 players have all represented Australia in one-day cricket over the past decade without cracking it for the Test team. 

Taking this exercise back another decade and choosing the players who wore the green and canary yellow on a few occasions but did not make the Test team and you’d probably be able to name more of them. 

KANDY, SRI LANKA - JUNE 16: Matthew Kuhnemann of Australia celebrates dismissing Pathum Nissanka of Sri Lanka during the 2nd match in the ODI series between Sri Lanka and Australia at Pallekele Cricket Stadium on June 16, 2022 in Kandy, Sri Lanka. (Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

Matthew Kuhnemann takes a wicket during the ODI series in Sri Lanka in June. (Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

Peter Forrest, Ben Laughlin, The Roar’s own Brett Geeves, Luke Ronchi, Ashley Noffke, Mark Cosgrove, Mick Lewis, Brett Dorey, Shane Harwood, Dirk Nannes. 

Kick it back to the 1990s before the Test and one-day sides were effectively split into specialists skill sets and there were very few limited-overs specialists who weren’t well known. 

They were far from household names but most cricket fans would be able to tell you which state they represented, their strengths, weaknesses and why they should or should not be in the team. 

Brad Young, Shane Lee, Ian Harvey, Michael Di Venuto, Jimmy Maher and Anthony Stuart were the only six Australian players to debut in the 1990s who never played a Test. 

Dirk Nannes of Australia celebrates the wicket of Chris Gayle during the ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight match between the West Indies and Australia played at the Beausejour Cricket Ground on May 11, 2010 in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia.  (Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

Dirk Nannes. (Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

Stuart played by far the fewest matches of this group but at least etched his name in cricketing folklore by taking a hat-trick in his third and what proved to be final ODI appearance before injuries cut his career short.

The point here is that ODI players these days are not well known to the mainstream national cricket audience unless they’ve made a name for themselves in the Big Bash League.

Prior to the 2013-14 season, the many sponsor-titled manifestations of the domestic 50-over competition would run over the entire summer.

Footy grand finals would be played and the following Saturday there’d be a 50-over game between two of the states on free-to-air TV and without needing to leave your loungeroom, you’d know it was summer.

State stalwarts like Jamie Siddons, Phil Emery, Brad Hodge (before his belatedly brief Test career) and Jo Angel were known throughout the land. These days cricketers could play dozens of matches for their state and remain virtually anonymous.

The move to a carnival format, primarily well before the official start of summer, over the past decade and the end of Channel 9 broadcasting the matches five years ago has dramatically affected the competition’s recognition factor among the national cricket fan base.

As the Australian men prepare for a series of 50-over contests against Zimbabwe and New Zealand over the next couple of weeks, the ODI side is in danger of fading into irrelevance, apart from the World Cup every four years.

After three matches against Zimbabweans in Townsville, there will be three more the following week against the Black Caps in Cairns. 

04 Oct 2001:   Team captains pose for a photo at the season launch of the ING Cup held at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Australia. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Scott Barbour/ALLSPORT

The 2001 ING Cup team captains. (Scott Barbour/ALLSPORT

You down with FTP?

Bilateral series with no real consequence have been part of the ODI calendar for decades but with the rise of T20 leagues around the world, they are falling further down the pecking order of importance to the point where the question needs to be asked whether 50-over cricket should be the format to fall by the wayside if the ICC ever decides three forms of the game is one too many.

When the ICC recently released the Future Tours Programme for the 2023-27 cycle, it was notable that India – the overwhelming source of cricket’s revenue – will play only 42 ODIs over the next five years outside of the World Cup, among the lowest amount for the 12 full member nations. 

As they focus on the IPL, preserve their commitment to Tests and increase their number of T20 internationals to 61, India have scaled back their ODIs and will play no more than a three-game series at any point.  

It’s hard to compare the next five-year cycle with the previous one which was drastically altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the ICC has not only increased scheduled international matches in the 2023-27 calendar from 694 to 777 but has upped the percentage of ODIs from 26-36%, Tests are up slightly from 20-22% while international T20s have been cut from 53-42%.

A lot of those extra ODIs will be played by smaller nations like Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Ireland, Sri Lanka and West Indies while the big three of Australia, India and England dominate the Test landscape. 

South Africa, who are diverting resources and precious calendar space to their new T20 league to salvage their financial problems, are playing just 28 Tests, which is well behind England (32), Australia (40) and India (38).

Tough sell in Townsville

Creating interest in a three-game ODI series in North Queensland in late August is no easy task.

For Marnus Labuschagne, the poster child for the John Howard Cricket Tragics House of Worship, too much cricket is never enough so he’s not quite representative of the casual fan. 

But he’s keen to make the most of the opportunity to shine in the middle order even if the national sporting attention is focused on kicking and tackling pursuits.

Although he has made his mark in the Test arena with 2539 runs at 54.02 in 28 matches, his ODI returns of 677 runs at 33.85 with just one century from 21 outings means he is still yet to cement his spot.

“It’s been quite scattered, hasn’t it? I played sort of 13 and then probably didn’t play for a year-and-a-half and then played another seven or eight after that,” he told reporters at the series launch in Townsville on Friday.

Marnus Labuschagne celebrates a ton

(Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

“For me it’s about getting consistent in that role, making sure that I become that person at batting at four or five that can finish the game off if that needs to be.

“Or make sure I keep that run rate going on through the middle overs and score real quick and hopefully provide some overs with the ball if needed.”

Zimbabwe, despite being one the 12 full member nations, are ranked 13th in the ODI standings with Scotland ahead of them as they embark on their first tour of Australia since 2003-04. 

They have a game-breaking all-rounder in Sikandar Raza, who smacked three tons against Bangladesh and India recently, but will struggle to compete a near full-strength Australian squad featuring Josh Hazlewood, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa.





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