Paul Nixon column – This was never about scoring points!

What a thriller that was on Tuesday, and one thing is for certain – nobody on the pitch was thinking that they were two points dropped, or even one gained, from the Super Series.

I do think that the points system will keep fans interested for longer but teams want to win games no matter what. The format needs time to grow, though. As it stands, a lot of supporters still believe England won the Test series, now for the one-dayers but they are all combining.

It will create more of a team ethic because the players who aren’t in the Test squad can still have an impact on the overall result of the series when they come in for the limited-overs matches.

It needs to be a worldwide format and every tour between every country has to be the same.

From the players’ point of view, it will be a secondary matter. It doesn’t matter if you’re well behind in the points system, you still want to go out there and win your next game of cricket.

The system started with the Women’s Ashes and it worked there so there is no reason why it can’t be a successful format in the men’s game – but it will need time.

There’s not a huge difference in points between winning a Test, with four points, and gaining two from the ODIs or T20Is. England took an eight point lead going into the one-day element of the tour but that won’t bother the Sri Lankans.

There is the potential for the last couple of ODIs and then the T20I between England and Sri Lanka turning into dead rubbers in terms of the points system, but Sri Lanka will want to win this half of the tour.

The T20I is the last game of the tour and both sides will want to win it. It’s a world stage for players. If you do well in that game your name is shown across the world and you could be picking up IPL or Big Bash contracts later in the year. It will never be a dead rubber in the players’ eyes.

As a player, any time you put the Three Lions on your chest, no matter what format, it’s enormous. That was my bugbear when county cricket went to two divisions.

Even if you were out of all competitions by the middle of the season, there was still personal pride to play for. It was still about maximising your ability, but some people already had their mind set on the winter.

The ‘Super Series’ is a long-term thing for the coaches and fans, and means at the end of the tour it is easier to look back on and see which country has been consistently better across all formats.

The players won’t tend to look long-term, it’s about winning the next game, no matter what is up for grabs.

In terms of the 50-over format, it is still the weakest format with ODIs only selling out in a few countries. The players would prefer to see 50-over knocked on the head but, ultimately, it’s more for the fans.

It’s a wider test of skills than T20 and is all done in a day.

If you get a close game like last Tuesday, then it’s very exciting but too many times they are one-sided encounters.

This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper, Friday June 24 2016

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