Saturday, September 08, 2007

What is the hurry?

I am currently watching the final ODI between India and England, and the match seems to be heading towards one with low scores. And after the questionable Dravid dismissal and the abysmal Tendulkar decision, things looks a little less interesting.

Nonetheless, coming to the reason for this post, I saw an Ad come up for the 20-20 world cup and also another trivia that came up which said England has played the most number of 20-20 internationals, 6! I can remember India having played only one, in SA. And the total number of international 20-20 matches is just 19! The format is at such a nascent stage and we already having a world cup for it??

Its quite understandable that if cricket has to grow, the 5 day version will definitely not appeal to other countries and the 50 over ODI format also takes a little too much time. There was an attempt at playing the "6's tournament" where each team has six players. For whatever reason it wasn't successful and we now have this variant. All this being done to cut down the time taken to finish a match, and that is needed to make it more TV friendly and compete with games like Basketball, Baseball etc.

That being said, what is going to be fed via the tube to the potential followers of the game is far from the real soul of the game. There are probably many good things about 20-20 games, I say so because I have seen very few these matches. But from a relative stranger to the game, it does present a lot of imbalances. The finer points of the game will take a bigger beating with this format of the game. Its too batsman friendly and even among batsmen, its more pinch-hitter friendly. We all love watching Afridi thrash the ball and sometimes make a fool of himself, but the fun in watching a laxman leg-flick, a ponting hook or a tendulkar drive and totally different. The McGrath line, the Murali tweak or Warne's leggie is again as engrossing as any piece of batting. These things will be missing in the 20-20 games, even if the same players play in the new format. This is simply because the new format of the game doesn't allow for much time to set oneself in as a batsman or a bowler to fashion a dismissal.

Will I be watching the world cup? Most definitely... its after all cricket. But, I am not convinced that this is the best way to present the game to the rest of the world.

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