On the Front Foot: Trophy tedium signals one-day overhaul is due

It is difficult to know if the event in South Africa is a celebration or a funeral. Maybe, a bit of both. As if the Champions Trophy did not have enough problems, it is now being used as a test bed for the entire future of 50-over cricket.

Make no mistake, powerful lobby groups are seeking change to the 50- over format. It is deemed that the middle-over section is too dull and that the players are involved in an unspoken conspiracy to make it so. The lack of genuine excitement so far can only concentrate minds further. Spring pitches have not helped, but there was only one century in the first four matches.

Suggestions for change will be hard to resist and will include reduction to 40 overs (a fence-sitting folly), a change to the limit on the number of overs an individual can bowl and more fielding restrictions. Anything has to be tried to keep Twenty20, which has the potency of cheap music, from conquering the world.

Five Live flying solo

Greed and apathy have combined to diminish the BBC's coverage of the Champions Trophy. They might be willing to throw legions of commentators and pundits at English cricket but this global competition, featuring the world's top eight teams, has been decreed worthy of only one reporter from Five Live.

The excellent Alison Mitchell will have her work cut out. It seems that the ICC demands for coverage rights were a bit rich for Beeb tastes (it isn't football, after all). It is possible the ICC overplayed their hand, but watch the unseemly scramble from London if England progress.

A lost pass could be murder

Crime and the fear of crime continues to dominate the news agenda in South Africa. Small wonder, given that there are around 50 murders each day. And the police are diligent in the pursuit of miscreants, as the media guide to the Champions Trophy reveals.

Any loss of a press pass represents a potential compromise to the tournament, it says. "A full police investigation will be undertaken prior to any decision to re-issue the pass."

Talk of sex leaves red faces

The 2009 Champions Trophy will be remembered for sex. When it emerged that the Indian team management were advocating sex to keep testosterone levels high, there was immediate coyness. Andrew Strauss dismissed the idea, Ricky Ponting said he was blushing and an outraged Gary Kirsten, India's coach, said it violated his moral code and the suggestion certainly did not come from him.

s.brenkley@independent.co.uk

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