Background image

Former Team India coach Ravi Shastri calls for fewer T20I games

Speaking in an episode of the Vaughany and Tuffers Cricket Club podcast, former Team India head coach Ravi Shastri called for fewer T20I games.

Scheduling problems have always been the primary concern among international cricketers. More often than not, international stars found themselves juggling multiple responsibilities.

Shastri insisted reducing games on the series could help players better manage their priorities and free up the international calendar. He said the move could also help ensure the longevity of other tournaments.

'I would exercise some caution,' Shastri says about number of T20I games

Shastri, who played for Team India from 1981 to 1992, might have been away from swinging the batter or hitting more wickets these days. However, the pundit’s argument about fewer T20Is was made for a good reason. It was earlier reported that the upcoming 2023-2027 Future Tours Programme will feature more T20I games. According to multiple reports, the FTP will roll in 15 series of five T20Is.

“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.

Shastri's argument came after former England Test skipper Ben Stokes announced his retirement from ODIs earlier this week after the first game playing South Africa. The 31-year-old said he resigned due to the overwhelming workload across all three formats.

“The more cricket that is played, the better for the sport, but you want a product that is of the highest quality. You want the best players to be playing as much as you possibly can, all the time,” Stokes told BBC Radio's Test Match Special.

"It isn't just me or us, you see it all around the world now where teams are having to rest some players in a certain series so they feel like they are getting a break. We are not cars, you can't just fill us up and we'll go out there and be ready to be fuelled up again. I just feel like there is too much cricket rammed in for people to play all three formats now."

Shastri offered a solution to the situation. The 60-year-old said the Test series should have two divisions instead of fully depending on T20I games. This way, players will no longer have to worry about a packed schedule and the sport’s business side will strive to follow the supposedly equal share of games across all formats.

"I think two tiers are needed. Otherwise, Test cricket will die in ten 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,” Shastri continued.

Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.