Friday 15 April 2016

T20- Changing Dynamics of Cricket

              Ever since the Inaugural Edition of The Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008, T20 cricket has caught the imagination of cricket fans worldwide and particularly in the Indian subcontinent, where cricket is considered to be a religion for the majority of the population. The Inaugural ICC World Cup Twenty20 was played in South Africa in 2007 with India winning and ever since the popularity of this form of the game has seen an upward graph in India.

              To begin with listing the pros of this form of the Gentleman’s game; Indian fitness coach Ramji Srinivasan declared in an interview with the Indian fitness website, that Twenty20 had "raised the bar" in terms of fitness levels for all players, demanding higher levels of strength, speed, agility and reaction time from all players regardless of their role in the team. Former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist pushed for Twenty20 to be made an Olympic Sport saying "It would be difficult to see a better, quicker or cheaper way of spreading the game throughout the world."
              Such is the adulation for the game that it creates a concert-like atmosphere providing nail-biting action and entertainment not only for those who see the matches in the Cricket Stadiums but also those who watch it at home on TV. Such is the quality of coverage that many now claim that watching the match on TV is a better experience that even watching it in a stadium. It is proving to be a huge money-spinner as a part from the revenue earned by the ticket sales for each match, the live telecast rights of the series also fetches crores of rupees.

              Cricket is no longer played for just fun and glory, but it has proved to be a big business altogether. Twenty20 premier leagues are owned by a multinational cartel of sports syndicates regulated by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The tournaments have a high-volume, high-intensity business model heavily financed by corporate sponsorships, franchises, and equity ownerships. Production costs include contracting the rights of players, technical experts, technology-based equipment, and financing salary streams. Revenue flows accrue from gate receipts, bidding proceeds, exclusive broadcast rights, and investment royalties.

              On the other hand, T20 has also attracted a fair share of criticism, the most acute of which being that it steals the lime-light from other sports in India such as ‘Hockey and Kabaddi’ which are already being heavily ignored by the masses in India.  Apart from that, even though it was supposed to boost performance of players in International ODI and tests but players seem to increasingly face burn-out as a result of increase in number of matches played, draining them of energy and undermining their performance. The huge sums of money involved made it a happy breeding ground for massive corruption in Cricket administration such as the IPL scandal involving Lalit Modi. T20 has its benefit, hence the messiah of Cricket but at a high cost.

            Thus to conclude, in the words of one the greatest cricketers of all time, Sachin Tendulkar, “T20 has changed the dynamics of cricket, the way it is played. For example, nobody thought that batsmen could play reverse sweeps off fast bowlers to short third-man stands. It has changed cricket big time.”

Aakruti Shah
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

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