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Twenty20 could spark revolution

Always keen to explore ways of team improvement, Australian captain Ricky Ponting believes Twenty20 cricket could breathe fresh air into 50-over matches.

Always keen to explore ways of team improvement, Australian captain Ricky Ponting believes Twenty20 cricket could breathe fresh air into 50-over matches.

Today's slogfest between cricket's oldest rivals at the Rose Bowl could determine how well Twenty20 cricket is accepted on an international stage in terms of overtaking 50-over matches, which are waning in popularity.

That bridge is yet to be crossed, but Ponting believes the 50-over game could benefit from the explosion of popularity Twenty20 cricket is enjoying in England.

Ponting sees 50-over matches as still relevant amid suggestions the 34-year-old format has become tired.

But he thinks the innovation could help sides improve their more traditional games.

"If you look at what one-day cricket has probably done to Test cricket over the years, I think the way Test cricket's been played now, it's a more skilful game and it's a result of the amount of one-day cricket guys are playing around the world," Ponting said.

"I think this Twenty20 game could actually have an effect on the one-day game in the same way ... (with) guys knowing that they can play their shots from ball one and get away with it, and do it well.

"The bowlers obviously have to adjust a lot more and a lot quicker, and think on their feet a lot more through their bowling spells, so hopefully you'll see some of that transfer across in the 50-over game."

Sri Lanka's successful 1996 World Cup campaign was based on chasing early boundaries and the ploy revolutionised the one-day game.

It encouraged teams to bat with more risk and aggression and since then eight of the 10 highest one-day totals have been hit in the past decade.

As Ponting noted, teams thought 230 was an acceptable total 10 years ago but now look towards 320.

Teams are now taking quick scoring to the Test arena, which for years was bogged down by tedious draw after draw.

"In Test cricket now, to score 350 in a day in a day is not unusual and I think that's a result of the amount of one-day cricket that's being played," Ponting said.

The shortened game is suited to the start of tours so teams can ease into match practice while exciting crowds.

"That's the whole idea of the game - it is fun to play but I'm sure it's an exceptional game to watch as well."

Coach John Buchanan agrees and suggests Twenty20 cricket can play its part at junior clubs and encourage children to take up the sport.

In England 79 county Twenty20 matches will be played over the next seven weeks, while a handful of matches will be played in Australia next summer.

Ponting's side plays South Africa in Brisbane in January, while the six states will challenge for the first domestic Twenty20 title.

Shane Warne, who also played his part in the one-day cricket evolution by opening the game up for wrist spinners, felt Twenty20 had a future but was hopeful it was not at the expense of 50 overs.

"I just hope people don't oversell the concept and forget the other good things about the sport," Warne wrote in a column for The Times newspaper.

"It seems to be the fashion to criticise the 50-over game, but I don't see a lot wrong with it.

" I would certainly not be looking to tamper with it by making the fielding restrictions more complicated 12-a-side teams.

"To me 20 overs is a bit of fun, not the core one-day format." Salve helices pariah inure paleoserology evangelistic?
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