ODI World Cup is Here to Stay: Nick Hockley

The CEO of Cricket Australia, Nick Hockley dispels doubts over the ODI format and the future of the 50 Over World Cup in an exclusive interview with SportsBoom.

ODI World Cup is Here to Stay: Nick Hockley
Dillip Mohanty

Written by: Dillip Mohanty

(Sports Editor)

Last updated: 2023-11-14

2023 World Cup in India

The 13th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup is underway in India. While some matches have seen lopsided contests, there have also been thrilling upsets. Over a million fans have attended the event and there is record TV viewership – reiterating the popularity of the tournament. The Netherlands and Afghanistan have been revelations, defeating fancied teams like England and South Africa. Their grit and determination despite being tournament underdogs have won many hearts.

ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 captains.jpegBut, a World Cup where only 10 teams participate with many one-sided contests raises the question of the viability of the format as well as the future of the tournament. How far ODI cricket and the World Cup can travel alongside its glitzy and entertaining sister T20 Cricket. SportsBoom sat down with Nick Hockley, the CEO of Cricket Australia, a major stakeholder in the matter of the sport to get his perspective on the future of the sport's premier tournament.

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Cricket is unique that it's got the three formats and I think they've each got a role to play.

Nick Hockley on the uniqueness of Cricket's three formats

Each format has a role

Nick is pretty certain and hopeful that the ODI format and especially the Cricket World Cup is here to stay. Touching upon the relevance of the formats, Nick elaborated that Cricket, with its three formats, holds a unique position in the sporting world, each serving a distinct purpose. “Cricket is unique that it's got the three formats and I think they've each got a role to play,” said Nick.

According to Nick, Test cricket stands as the pinnacle, accentuated by the World Test Championship, bringing significance to bilateral series. T20, a relatively young format, fosters global participation, evident in the expanded T20 World Cup involving emerging nations like the Netherlands, Oman, and Canada. One-day cricket remains the apex of white-ball cricket, featuring a 10-team tournament with a robust qualification pathway. The three formats, Test, T20, and One-Day, coexist with defined roles, providing rich context and opportunities for diverse cricketing nations.

Nick also is a big advocate of the 10 team ODI World Cup format having a strong qualification pathway through our bilateral series. “You know, we saw the West Indies missed out on qualification. They're a very proud cricketing nation, but the Netherlands have come through and have won two games. So, T20 is the means by which all the countries can play and get involved. 50 over cricket is the pinnacle of the white ball format,” said Nick.

Netherlands Squad Practice 2023 World Cup_2.jpegCricket has a long history and legacy in traditional cricket playing countries. At the same time, the game is evolving and spreading its wings to new territories. T20 format is the vehicle. “I think the Netherlands is a great example where they've done really well in T20 cricket and then they've worked hard and through their performances, they've made it through to the 50 over World Cup. They're being really competitive in that World Cup. So it's all about having a pathway and having a pyramid,” said Nick how T20 cricket is helping non-traditional countries to make a footprint in the world stage.

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You know, we saw the West Indies missed out on qualification. They're a very proud cricketing nation, but the Netherlands have come through and have won two games. So, T20 is the means by which all the countries can play and get involved. 50 over cricket is the pinnacle of the white ball format.

Nick Hockley on the importance of T20 Cricket

50 Over World Cup is here to stay

Nick opines that the Cricket World Cup is an event with a strong and enduring presence. Ensuring its longevity requires ongoing efforts to optimize event structures and qualification pathways. “I think we need to keep working on making sure that the events are structured, that the qualification pathways are all optimized”, said Nick on how to make the World Cup more relevant.

Miss You West Indies Poster in 2023 World Cup.jpeg

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I think the main thing that we have to make sure is that there's a real clear role for every format and that we're giving real context to our world events. And that's making sure that there's really great qualification routes. I think that the 50 over World Cup's got a proud history. I think it's here to stay.

Nick Hockley on the future of 50 over World Cup

He was amazed to see the influence of T20 cricket on the 50-over World Cup. It is evident in increased boundaries, higher scores, and more aggressive play. “I think the main thing that we have to make sure is that there's a real clear role for every format and that we're giving real context to our world events. And that's making sure that there's really great qualification routes. I think that the 50 over World Cup's got a proud history. I think it's here to stay,” said Nick.

At the same time, Nick emphasized that there is no perceived threat from the widely popular T20 format to the existence of ODI cricket. According to him, both formats have distinct roles, and conversations with players in the ongoing tournament reaffirm the coexistence of both formats. Nick sees it as complementary formats. “So, I see it as an and rather than an or”, said Nick on the viability of both formats.

Cricket back in the Olympics

Cricket has been striving to be part of the Olympics for nearly two decades, and it is viewed as a fitting addition. The last time cricket was part of the Olympics was in 1900 in Paris. England and France played just one game for a gold medal. The T20 format will be used for men and women in the LA 2028 Olympics. It is highly likely to be retained for the following Games in Brisbane, Australia, in 2032, given that Cricket is the national sport of Australia. 

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Cricket is looking forward to having that global platform. And I think similarly, the Olympics to appeal to that big population based on the subcontinent. So, I think a huge foresight by the LA 2028 organising committee to see the opportunity it provides to bring people together.

Nick Hockley on Cricket back in Olympics

Cricket anticipates gaining a global platform and sees the Olympics as an opportunity to engage the vast population in the subcontinent as well as its expats in various pockets of the world especially in North America. The L.A. organizing committee took note of this potential and has added T20 cricket for the upcoming games.

Olympics Headquarters.jpegNick said “Cricket is looking forward to having that global platform. And I think similarly, the Olympics to appeal to that big population based on the subcontinent. So, I think a huge foresight by the LA 2028 organising committee to see the opportunity it provides to bring people together.”

The focus is on the T20 format, with six teams under consideration and the U.S. earning automatic entry as the host, paving the way for potential expansion in the future. Australia, with a significant interest in cricket, strongly supports this initiative, especially with Brisbane hosting the 2032 Olympic Games. While not confirmed yet, there is hope that both men's and women's cricket will feature in the 2032 Olympics.

T20 format and the Olympics will provide a robust launchpad to globalise the sport.

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Dillip Mohanty

Dillip Mohanty

Dillip has over two decades of experience in creating sports content. As the Sports Editor of SportsBoom, Dillip brings in a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. Dillip has worked with leading sports broadcasters and sports web content portals in Asia. He is an adept storyteller and has a special liking for data stories. He has a keen interest in data analysis and uncovering insights from large datasets. He loves to tell the story with rich and compelling data visualisation.

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