On July 18 (Monday), 31-year-old English all-rounder Ben Stokes dropped a bomb-shell by announcing a retirement from the ODI format of the game. Stokes said that it was “unsustainable” for a cricketer to keep going across all the three formats with the crunch and intensity of international cricketing calendar.
Following that line, former Indian head coach, Ravi Shastri called for a reduced number of bilateral, which he believes will keep the format relevant. Shastri also insisted that having reduced bilateral would also keep the focus on the T20 World Cup intact and would also not take away the interest of the viewers.
"I would be a little careful of the number of bilateral splits, especially in T20 cricket. There's a lot of franchise cricket which can be encouraged, whichever country it's in - India, West Indies, or Pakistan. You play less bilaterals and then you get together for the World Cups. So, the emphasis on ICC World Cup events becomes paramount. Then people look forward to them,” Shastri said on Telegraph Sport’s Vaughany and Tuffers podcast.
Alongside that, Shastri also had a pertinent point on the improvement of Test cricket. The former Indian all-rounder suggested a two-tier system, which he stated could keep the longest format of the game alive. Currently, there is only one unified Test rankings, under the World Test Championship system.
"I think two tiers are needed, otherwise Test cricket will die in 10 years' time. You need six teams at the top, and then six teams in the second and then you qualify. And those top six play against each other more often because of the corridor you open up by having less bilateral T20 cricket and just franchise cricket. That's the way all formats of the game can survive," he added.