Ex-Oz cricketers call for ODI format overhaul to bring in the crowds

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Melbourne, Feb.9 (ANI): Former Test stars Damien Fleming (fast bowler) and Kerry O'Keeffe (leg spinner) have both called for a dramatic overhaul of the limited overs schedule, as they feel that fans are deserting this format for the fresher Twenty20 model.

Expressing alarm over the fact that just 25,000 people showed up for Sunday's Commonwealth Bank series opener between Australia and the West Indies in Melbourne while 60,000 crammed the MCG to watch Michael Clarke's Twenty20 unit topple hapless Pakistan on Friday, Fleming, a commentator for Fox Sports, said Cricket Australia needs to program best-of-three Twenty20 and 50-over series to avoid the pending five-game flops that have featured with the West Indies and Pakistan this summer.

"Why can't we have three T20s and three one-dayers as separate tournaments?" Fleming asked.

"I would prefer three and three. An even split to make things more interesting. The players would probably want more meaningful but less 50-over games. There are seven next year against England," the Daily Telegraph quoted him, as saying further.

Fleming said CA needs to treat limited overs cricket as an event, focusing on providing "an experience" while the introduction of AFL/NRL style membership packages could also help.

Former Test leg-spinner Kerry O'Keeffe claimed there was an overload of 50-over cricket and insisted officials should embark on a "less is more" policy.

He, however, added: "I think 50-over cricket provides a bridge between Test cricket and 20-over cricket and it will be dangerous if you remove that bridge." (ANI)

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