Friday 8 April 2016

T20: Messiah or Massacre?

First sold as “Twice the action, half the time” the twenty 20 form of cricket, also called T20 was introduced by England and Wales Cricket Board in the year 2003. The much popular form is played with each team playing not more than 20 overs.

We see how the lifestyle of people plays a factor in the evolution of sports. When time availability became a key concern for audiences, test matches which spanned over 5 days, gave way to Limited over Cricket, which were the One Day Internationals (ODI). The ODI cricket officially started in 1971 with a 60 over per innings format. And later changed to 55 over format and then to 40 over. In the late 1980’s, 50 over per innings became the official format of the ODI. But even the ODI’s begin to lose their charm. The 50 over game lasts for some 8 hours. Then came the t20. A typical game of t20 is completed in about 3 hours. 

The main intention of bringing this format was drawing crowds. Getting people who were not die-hard cricket fans and those who neither disliked the game. T20 is an amalgamation of cricket and entertainment. The entire session is full of action. Moving at a fast pace, the situation in the game keeps changing with every ball. This makes the game unpredictable and manages to grab the audience’s attention till the end. If there is a tie, a super over decides the winner.
But this change in format demands a change in technique, skill and temperament. In a test match, where a batsman is required to bat for long hours, T20 allows a batsman to play aggressively from the beginning. The focus, here, is on scoring maximum runs. So we see the bowlers getting defensive, looking for quick wickets and not giving away too many runs. There is no free bowling.
The popularity of T20 is evitable as brands are shifting their advertising budget from tests and ODI’s to T20 matches.

 Is the future of cricket at stake? Not necessarily. All the forms of cricket can exist simultaneously. It depends upon the spectator if he wants to enjoy the classic form of Test cricket or watch the fun loving version of the game.
T20 can be seen as a promoter of cricket, instead of competing with the existing versions of the game. At a lecture at Lords, Australian wicket keeper Adam Gilchrist pushed for T20 to be made an Olympic sport. “It would” he said “be difficult to see a better, quicker or cheaper way of spreading the game throughout the world.” 

 Shagufta Ali
(PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

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