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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

North sees changes to one-day cricket

West Australian skipper and Ashes star Marcus North says changes to 50-over international cricket are almost inevitable - while suggesting free admission to domestic matches could be the way to attract fans back to the WACA.

As North prepares to start the season in charge of the Warriors, Australia is preparing to take on England in the third of seven ODIs being played in an extended Ashes summer.

But with Twenty20 cricket attracting more interest, and corporate dollars, the future of the original limited-over format is coming under increasing scrutiny.

North has now become the latest big name cricketer to question the long-term viability of the 50-over format.

"I think Test cricket will always be Test cricket. I am (a) purist, it is my favourite game and I feel if it looked after well enough by the ICC and the governing bodies that will still be quite strong," North said.

"And T20 is here to stay and an exciting format, and has brought a new audience to cricket because it can only be good to bring families and kids to get involved in the game

"But 50 over cricket - the jury is still out.

"Just watching it the other night, going from playing and watching Test match cricket at such a high level, and the excitement of T20 cricket, 50-over cricket does seem to drag on.

"There is lot of talk about it at the moment, in England the domestic scene the ECB have binned the 50-over competition for the following few years and brought in a 40-over competition.

"There are a number of changes and I think you will see that coming into the international level once the ICC has trialled a few different formants to see what works best.

"Anything we can do to enhance and improve this game, to make it more attractive to people."

Despite WA pulling off a marketing coup in attracting Chris Gayle for their T20 team, attracting decent crowds to Ford Ranger and particularly Sheffield Shield matches this season will again be a major challenge.

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