Monday, October 01, 2007

Building on the success

With the ICC having amassed so many critics over the years it can feel proud of having staged a highly successful and competitive tournament after a very long time. The organizers of the World Twenty 20 were smart enough to learn from the shortcomings of the previous two World cups by lessening the number of participating teams, shortening the duration of the tournament, slashing the prices of tickets to ensure bigger crowds and taking steps to increase the atmosphere inside the stadium instead of trying to curtail any festive activities.

But perhaps the most important factor in the success of this tournament was the competitiveness of the cricket. The nature of the Twenty 20 game made it possible for almost all of the matches to have very interesting and close finishes, thus removing another factor of one-sided matches that was witnessed so often in the previous two world cups.

However, this positive response to the ICC World Twenty 20 can not only be held limited to the successful staging of a tournament, it should be more broadly viewed as the arrival of a new era in cricket, one that can be expected to take the cricketing world by storm in years to come.

The ICC however still remains skeptic over the future of this new style of cricket. With 7 matches sanctioned every year, each team would practically have a maximum of 2 Twenty 20 games per tour. FICA has also appeared weary of this new format saying that Twenty 20 is not yet in a position to provide the same amount of money that 50 over cricket can rope in. All in all there is some hesitation within controlling associations to give Twenty 20 cricket their full stamp of approval and let it naturally find its feet among Test match and 50 over cricket.

Before the World Twenty 20, I was also among the many traditional cricket followers who considered the format a mockery of the sport. But after watching more and more of this new souped up version of the game have I become convinced that it is here to stay. For years the 50 over game has become more and more dull and predictable with alterations made every now and then to keep its appeal going within cricket followers. With more action filled in less time, the game can be seen as a more attractive alternative to a 50 over a side game, and like many people including Wasim Akram, I believe that Twenty 20 would absorb 50 over cricket completely in the near future.

Hence, cricketing authorities would be better off embracing Twenty 20 cricket instead of delaying the inevitable. I don’t see how Twenty 20 games cannot bring in the same amount of money as 50 over cricket does if it is given an equal opportunity to flourish by allowing teams to participate in complete series instead of one or two match contests. In fact, with the immense popularity witnessed just recently, Twenty 20 cricket has the potential to earn a lot more than what 50 over cricket does at this point in time.

At the same time, authorities should be more aware of not over scheduling the number of Twenty 20 matches which would further risk player burnout. In fact if used sensibly Twenty 20 cricket could, on the contrary, be effectively used to control player burnout as 20 over games should in theory be less physically demanding provided reasonable gaps between matches are kept and the number of matches per series does not exceed beyond agreeable limits.

With associate teams not being able to compete with Test nations at both Test and Limited overs level, the Twenty 20 format should also be able to provide a nice stepping stone for associate sides to get a feel of international cricket before diving in to the longer formats of the game and thus avoiding defeats with embarrassing margins. Even though skills required in Twenty 20 cricket can be at times drastically different from what is required in the other formats, it still can provide for experience to play against top quality players and give the opportunity to learn some of the tricks of the trade along the way.

Cricket does seem to have a bright future all of a sudden. With higher run rates at Test level and hence more enthusiastic crowds watching the 5 day game, the traditional form of cricket does seem to be secured. And with the arrival of Twenty 20 cricket, the demand for more from less also seems to have been met.

1 comment:

Evil said...

I believe t20 is not de only cause which hurt future of cricket but some icc decision play a major role in it .some recent incidents shows that politics is also involve in cricket like India decision to not play cricket in Pakistan and then icc decision on world cup. i think cricket is not too much popular game in the world and its responsibility of icc to promote and protect cricket in world and t20 specialty IPL plays a significant role in promoting cricket in the world. But to make cricket most popular game we have to take care of original cricket spirit and game intact like test cricket.