Not only was he one of the greatest batsmen of all time, Sachin Tendulkar has time and again demonstrated that he also possesses a great cricketing brain. Many years ago, in 2009 to be specific, the Little Master had mooted the idea of changing the format of 50-over cricket by splitting each team's innings into two halves of 25 overs each.
Now, in an interview, the Master Blaster has presented that idea again, along with a few other tweaks of the rule, to make the ODI format more exciting.
"The 50-over format is the first thing that needs a look-in. As I had suggested, the format needs a tweak of two innings of 25 overs per side with a 15-minute break between each innings," Tendulkar said.
He went on to elaborate on the measures that he feels can make the format even more appealing.
"The number of innovations that can be brought in are huge. Let's say there's a 50-over-a-side match between Team A and Team B. Team A wins the toss, bats 25 overs; then team B bats for 25 overs; Team A resumes innings (at the score where it left off the first half) from the 26th over; Team B then resumes the last innings to chase the target. If Team A has lost all their wickets within the first 25 overs itself, then Team B gets 50 overs to chase the target," the legendary former batsman explained to Times of India.
So, what is the rationale behind these changes? According to the great man, the biggest benefit of this rule change would be nullifying the unfair advantage that dew gives to teams winning the toss.
"There's always a chance to come back into the game. In a regular 50-over format, if a side wins toss and there's dew, the side bowling second has no chance. The wet ball just skids on to the bat and it's never a fair battle".
But that's not all the changes Tendulkar wants. He further goes on to suggest tweaking the Powerplay rules also. He wants the first five overs of each half of both innings to be the Powerplay overs. Of the remaining five overs of Powerplay, according to Tendulkar's wishes, three should belong to the bowling side, i.e. they should choose when they are taken while the remaining two should be applied at the discretion of the batting side.
"The six extra balls for bowling Powerplay will balance the battle between the bat and ball. It'll be exciting for the viewers because teams will constantly rethink strategies. If a batting side has consumed seven overs of Powerplay and have a pinch-hitter waiting to come out yet, they could hold the batsman back until the fresh mandatory Powerplay will begin from the 26th over.
"Or, if the bowling Powerplay is on and two offspinners are on strike and batting side loses a wicket, a 'nightwatchman' can walk out to see off those overs," the man with hundred international centuries elaborated.
These ideas of Sachin gain more importance due to the fact that his friend and former teammate Sourav Ganguly is at the helm of BCCI. There is a great likelihood of Ganguly taking these ideas seriously and bringing these innovations into Indian domestic cricket. The formula of splitting ODI innings has been tried out in Australian domestic cricket but wasn't very successful. Let's see if India does better.