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50-overs game gone: Warne

SHANE WARNE believes the days of 50-over cricket are numbered as the Twenty20 game alters the way the sport is played and watched over the world.

The former Australia bowling star, who retired from international cricket at the start of the year, wants one-day internationals shortened to 40 overs per side _ a form of cricket that has proven successful at domestic level in England.

Warne’s views come at a time when public interest in 50-over cricket seems to be waning.

This year’s World Cup in the Caribbean was poorly attended, while crowd numbers for the Chappell-Hadlee series _ held in Adelaide, Sydney and Hobart and won on Thursday by Australia _ were down.

“Twenty20 is how minor nations, the likes of Canada and Holland, can improve and promote the game,” Warne said.

“One thing I believe is that 50-overs is gone. I believe Twenty20 should be one form of the game, keep that to a minimum and keep it special because it is so entertaining.

“Just as long as administrators don’t get greedy. But I believe 50-overs competition should now be 40 overs, so we have a 40-over competition, Twenty20 and Test cricket.

“Experiencing Pro40 in England, it’s like two Twenty20 games. The way society is, everybody wants everything fast. Pro40, there is still skill involved.

“Is it cricket? Is it entertainment? It ticks all the boxes. It also saves you about an hour and a half of the game.

“You can start Pro40 at 4pm and be finished at 10pm. That’s good. You can have a day game as well, starting at 10am and finish at 4pm, and have two games a day.”

Although Warne fears for the future of 50-over cricket, he believes Test cricket is in good health and should not be tinkered with.

“Everything is very good, don’t change it, don’t touch it. Test cricket is for tradition,” said Warne, who claimed 708 Test wickets to be second on the all-time list behind Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralidaran.

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