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ODIs under attack: Steve Waugh

The former Australia captain says Test cricket will remain the pinnacle in the wake of rising popularity for T20 but it is the 50-over format that needs to tweaked.

ABU DHABI // Steve Waugh, the former Australia captain, expects all the major cricket-playing nations to implement franchise-based Twenty20 competitions, in line with the Indian Premier League model in future. The third season of the cash-rich IPL starts this afternoon when Deccan Chargers play the Kolkata Knight Riders in Mumbai. Waugh believes the competition has already changed the way cricket is being run, even if followers outside India struggle to know who to support. "Australia is looking at the franchise model, and I think every country will have something happening shortly," said Waugh, who was in the capital for the Laureus World of Sport awards. "The crowds in Australia were huge last year for Twenty20, so it is starting to boom there as well. It is a phenomenon that is worldwide, and India has led the way.

"It is the third season of IPL already, it is big business, and hugely popular, but it is hard to get a grip on who you support. You usually follow the side that your country's players are playing for." Waugh also warned that the game's bosses need to alter the 50-over game if the format is to survive the Twenty20 boom. "Test matches will always survive as players will want to test themselves on the ultimate form of the game," he added. "There is nothing like having to bat for 10 hours, or bowl 30 overs in a day. You want to be tested in those situations, that is why you play hard and what you aspire to do. "Test matches will always be the pinnacle, but Twenty20 is where players are getting financially rewarded and it is an exciting game to play, which crowds love. "There is pressure on the 50-over game. There are a lot of people who still like that form of the game. They may have to make some changes, tweak it a bit to freshen it up. "I think there is a place for all three forms, but now 50 overs is the one that is under attack." pradley@thenational.ae

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