Mark Nicholas, the new MCC president, suggests reserving One-Day Internationals (ODIs) exclusively for World Cups, citing the dominant influence of T20 cricket. He aims to revamp MCC’s role and community engagement.
Mark Nicholas, the newly appointed president of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), has proposed a radical shift in the world of One-Day International (ODI) cricket. He advocates that 50-over cricket should be exclusively reserved for World Cups to protect it from the overwhelming popularity of Twenty20 (T20) cricket.
Nicholas, who succeeded Stephen Fry as MCC’s president, echoes the sentiments of MCC’s World Cricket Committee, which previously called for a significant reduction in ODI matches outside of World Cup years.
“We believe strongly that ODIs should be World Cups only,” Nicholas stated. He expressed concerns that ODIs struggle to attract audiences in many countries and emphasized the extraordinary rise of T20 cricket, which extends beyond ticket sales. He pointed to the widespread interest in owning franchises, hosting tournaments, and playing in T20 leagues worldwide.
Nicholas believes that the power of T20 cricket in the current market is undeniable, and scheduling 50-over matches alongside it contributes to the decline of ODI cricket. He acknowledges that these comments may not immediately influence the International Cricket Council (ICC) but suggests they could become part of a structured proposal in the future.
In light of these comments, MCC, cricket’s oldest and most prestigious members’ club, is looking to find its place in modern cricket administration and strengthen its role in shaping the sport’s future. Nicholas stated, “The problem at the moment is that the ICC see us a bit of a threat…we need to integrate better with ICC, we need to understand each other better. We need to develop thinking that comes together.”
Mark Nicholas’s tenure as MCC president coincides with a challenging period for the club. A recent Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) report criticized MCC for its elitist tendencies and lack of inclusivity. The report called for more women’s and state-school cricket at Lord’s, criticizing the hosting of traditional Eton-Harrow and Oxford-Cambridge matches.
However, Mark Nicholas, the founder of the “Chance to Shine” charity, which has introduced cricket to millions of state-school children, aims to use his presidency to engage with the community and emphasize MCC’s relevance to grassroots cricket. The MCC Foundation has received an additional £1 million to expand its community hubs from 77 to 150, underlining the club’s commitment to community development.
Despite the challenges, Nicholas is optimistic about change, including the future of the Eton-Harrow fixture at Lord’s. He anticipates that the schools themselves may decide to move the fixture away from the historic venue, acknowledging that tradition has evolved in today’s rapidly changing world. Nicholas’s ultimate goal is to maintain the balance between MCC’s heritage as a private members’ club and its role as a leading international cricket ground.
“We need our membership to be as one, united, believing in this place, and actually believing in a lot of the traditions of the club which is a togetherness and a community in the love of the game,” Nicholas emphasized.