Darren Berry believes that restricting Twenty20 cricket to domestic competitions like the Big Bash League and the T20 World Cup could significantly help with the scheduling problems the game currently faces.
The push for radical change to the fixture has been put into the spotlight after Australian batsman David Warner openly criticised the decision to have the Australian T20 side play a three-game series against Sri Lanka starting a week before the Australian Test team start their tour of India.
The opening batsman is amongst a handful of Test players who play all three forms of the game and will not be able to take part in the final matches of the Aussie summer.
Berry agreed with Warner, and says that fans attending the second of these T20 Internationals at Simonds Stadium, the first time an international cricket match has been played in Geelong, will be left feeling short-changed.
“I hope David Warner doesn’t get wrapped over the knuckles for this because he’s probably said what 99 per cent of the public watching have said,” Berry said on SEN Summer Breakfast.
“Geelong are hosting a Twenty20 match this year. A big occasion for Geelong… The best players are not going to be there. They have been robbed in my opinion.
“I absolutely hate the fact that Australia are playing two teams at the same time.
“(Cricket Australia high performance manager) Pat Howard came out in the media weeks ago and said that it’s the way forward… If that’s the case, we’re being robbed.”
While Berry understood that the task of scheduling cricket right now was “bloody hard”, he believes that an optimum solution could be achieved if T20 Internationals outside of the T20 World Cup were scrapped completely.
“Maybe we should just keep Twenty20 for domestic cricket?” he said.
“Why do we have to play it internationally? Keep it just as the Big Bash and maybe just have, once every four years, a Twenty20 World Cup, something like that.”
Fox Sports cricket journalist Tom Morris also agrees with Warner’s comments, and says that the scheduling problems boil down to Cricket Australia cramming in as many games as possible to maximise revenue.
“I think (Warner) probably reflects the views of a lot of players and fans that at the moment, it’s just not working. I tend to agree with him,” he said.
“It screams of a money grab. It screams of looking for as many games as possible is as many days as possible regardless of the format and regardless of what players can play just to get the broadcast rights done. It’s almost like a country comes to Australia and says we want to play a T20 series here and Australia finds a way to fit that in because we can get the money for it.”
“People are just starting to wake up to it and I think that is good because the fans aren’t happy and nor should they be. There should be the best players at all times.”
However Morris stopped short of agreeing with Berry’s idea of removing T20 Internationals from the fixture, believing that the schedule can accommodate all forms of the game.
“Why would you starve the game and the fans of the best product at international level, which at the moment is T20 cricket? More people watch T20 cricket than any other format,” he said.
“It is difficult to fit in but surely if it’s got context, it has got meaning and is well organised, you can have all three formats.
“The problem at the moment is that there is no meaning, there is no context. It is bilateral, even unilateral if you take India, Australia and England with that because they do pretty much what they want as the three biggest governing bodies, and it’s disorganised.”