‘Ye sab bekaar ki baatein hai’- Rohit Sharma dismisses concerns over ODI cricket’s future

India captain Rohit Sharma maintained that all formats carry importance to him, and brushed aside the discussions of ODI cricket losing its significance in the modern-game.
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“I wish there was another format as well, because for me, playing the game is most important.”

With the ever expanding T20 leagues around the globe, and Test cricket maintaining being the pinnacle format, the ODI version seems to have taken a back seat in recent times for the players and perhaps the administrators alike.

Recently Ben Stokes, the England Test captain and the Player of the 2019 World Cup final, opted to retire from ODIs citing that playing across the three formats had become "just unsustainable” for him. 

Former cricketers too, have voiced their concerns on the 50-over game. While Ravi Shastri called for the format to be shortened, Wasim Akram feels that it should be scrapped completely.

However, India skipper Rohit Sharma dismissed the idea that the format is losing its significance, and maintained that the excitement remains high for him and the spectators in ODI cricket.

Mera naam hi One-day cricket se bana hai. Sab bekar ki baatein hai (I’ve earned my name through the ODI format. All of this is nonsense),” said Rohit, the only cricketer with three double-hundreds in the format, while addressing the media on the sidelines of a promotional event in Mumbai on Wednesday, August 17.

“People were earlier talking about Test cricket, people are not getting things to talk about. For me, cricket is important – whatever be the format. I would never say that ODI is getting finished or T20 is getting finished or Tests are nearing an end. I wish there was another format as well, because for me, playing the game is most important. 

“Since childhood, we dreamt of playing the game for India and in my mind. Whenever we play ODIs, stadiums are full, the excitement remains high. It’s an individual choice as to which format to play or not, but for me, all three formats are important.”

Rohit further added that playing international cricket remains the ultimate priority, despite the increasing number of T20 leagues. He further emphasised the value of the IPL, stating how it helps creating a solid bench strength.

“I don’t know what people are thinking about playing leagues over international cricket,” said the 35-year-old. “There will be ten more leagues, but in the coming years, we will get to know what the players prefer. But as of now, the situation of Indian cricket remains the same – we play the IPL, the international cricket. 

“The guys are getting exposure and our aim is to create bench strength, so that’s why in Zimbabwe, there are a lot of players who are touring for the first time – be it Shahbaz Ahmed, Rahul Tripathi – and it is a good exposure. They are really talented, they will grab the opportunity. It’s about getting the confidence at this stage, which I am sure they will learn. Playing for the country matters the most.”

India will play Zimbabwe in a three-match ODI series in Harare, beginning Thursday, August 16. KL Rahul will lead the side in absence of seniors Rohit, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah among others, who have been rested.