Wednesday, November 09, 2005

20-20 - I don't think so.

Back in the 70's, when Test Cricket was the only kind played, it wouldn't have taken a genius to come up with the one-day version. With sports getting sucked into the business and entertainment age, Cricket had to catch up sooner or later.

I still love the long version, though. Test Cricket offers the perfect balance between offense and defense, and also its called such for a reason. Only the superior talents survive the drill. Its a game of skill-both finesse and power, its a test of endurance and most of all its a mind game. Only the serious fan can get the intricacies, much like Baseball except that the endurance factor is tested within the game and not built into a long season. I digress.

The big disadvantage though, is that it is not easy to market it. To survive in a sport-business, presentation is key. That's what brings in the corporate bigwigs and the fringe fans. "You don't sell the Steak, you sell the Sizzle". The evolution of ODI's was a no-brainer.

But now, the new buzz word is 20-20. I've seen a couple of these games myself, and call me "old-school", but sorry! I'm not buying this one. The way it exists today, there is absolutely no balance. Its like someone came out of the blue and created a batsman dominated gala that is force-fitted into a 3 hour schedule to suit the go-go corporate life-style of the modern day society.

That is not sport. It is a celebrity showcase. Sure, its fun to see sixes and fours rain, but who's beating who here? The game is supposed to be batsmen vs bowlers, not batsmen vs batsmen.

I partially agree 3-4 hours might be ideal for a sport, but unless such a short version variant can offer the excitement and challenge of a perfectly balanced competition, ODI is the present and future of popular Cricket.

One dimensional sports can get quite boring. You don't watch 3 hours of high jump, do ya?, or would you be enjoying a tennis match where 80% of the serves are aces? or for that matter, Texans vs Niners. All right, I think I made my point.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Vikram said...

Hmmmm, why not? So what if 20-20 is batsman dominated. Maybe it could use with some rule changes to support the fielding side. Maybe, two strikes out for being beaten off consectuive deliveries. That will make the batsman more watchful after he swings and misses one. Alternatively, we could come up with a cricket ball that is more inclined to swing.
I think there is a chance to reinvent the game here. Maybe there could be three simulatenous versions of the game played. Having seen the level of excitement this caused in England last year, I think it needs to be given a shot. Try for a couple of years. Include a few 20-20 games in every international series.

In India, we could start with city teams playing each other. Let's start with the metros. It might make an interesting alternative to Oliyum Oliyum on Friday evenings.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Sriram said...

If a 3hr game is a requirement to promote the sport and keep it business friendly, I'd be open to making some rule changes to make it faster and exciting. But 20 overs and 10 wickets.. probably not a good idea.

Also, the co-existence of the 3 variations can have serious side-effects. Will be interesting to see which one dies first..

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Vikram said...

On a related topic, wonder if the rotation policy of the Indian team will be used in tests. Tests are a lot more unforgiving and a poor experiment will severely cripple a team as sustained performance is required. If a Sreesanth does not perform in 1-day, 10-0-50-0 is no big deal. In a test, one bowler short puts you that much closer to defeat...
It might be smart to keep a more standard 11 for the tests. In my opinion, tests do not reward surprise factors as much as 1-days or worse yet, 20-20. Sustained brilliance is key. All the more reason why it shouldn't die out.

7:12 AM  
Blogger dinesh said...

I don't buy this too..atleast not yet, but I want to remain open to this idea. The essence of the game is destroyed when such drastic changes come into place. People talk about americanization, but do they realize that very little changes have happened to the american sports themselves since the games started. It's only us that make these stupid changes that change the whole structure...

"That is not sport. It is a celebrity showcase. Sure, its fun to see sixes and fours rain, but who's beating who here? The game is supposed to be batsmen vs bowlers, not batsmen vs batsmen"

Nice point !

10:19 AM  
Blogger Sriram said...

Dinesh,

I don't know about the Americanization bit da.. I don't think the world is trying to mimic America by going 20-20. I think its just that the next generation is probably finding it hard to catch on to a day-long version, thats all.

And it will not affect India and the subcontinent anyway. In Europe & Australia Cricket competes with other sports and activities. On the contrary, its a slam dunk in India. We have no other choice but Cricket. Any version will fly.

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Heavy D said...

Cricket is for gays, any version, 20-20, Oliyum Oliyum, whatever. Another thing, why can't you freaking cricket players find your own park somewheres? You freaking foreigners come to some City park and just take it over from the frisbee players and the radio controlled airplanes. That is one reason that White Americans will never relate to this gay ass sport. All they see is some brown terrorist looking gays walking out in their white ass shirts, thigh length socks and brown dress shoes, and they leave for fear of their lives. What the hell is a "Bowler" and "Batsman" GAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!

3:19 PM  
Blogger Sriram said...

"Not that there's anything wrong with that!!!"

Dumbass! Freaking americans do nothing original.. Its the Cricket that has been reinvented as Baseball. Rugby is what you call Football. Basketball is gay anyway. And Hockey is Canadian. Why don't you go and play your world series of kite flying and bass fishing?

7:35 AM  

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