Monday, September 17, 2007

The long and short of it

I don't think anything I'll say about Twenty20 will be new to those that have strong opinions about it. For what its worth, I've never fully become comfortable with one-day cricket in any form, as I tend to think of a full cricket match as involving four innings so that a little ebb and flow can take place. Without it the battle doesn't quite develop. The old 60-over format (that used in the first three World Cups) was perhaps the closest we got to an extended battle because of the need to get through the middle stages without losing too many wickets, and the importance paid to attacking early on the part of the side bowling so that wickets could be taken. But that format had the same weakness that the 50 over format had: a few early wickets, and the match could be lost very easily, turning into tedium for spectators. Test cricket has had its fair share of tedium as well (anyone who grew up in India in the 70s and 80s can testify to that). But 50-over cricket affected test cricket in many positive ways, all well documented: money, better fielding, technology for line-decisions, more aggressive batting and so on. Test cricket has seen its share of drawn matches drop sharply and thanks to the use of cameras for line-decisions (and to their influencing umpires on LBWs) we have more result-oriented games than ever before. For this positive influence upon the game, I shall remain eternally grateful. I'm not a big one for living in the past, and I'll be the first one to admit that test cricket in many respects is better than the old days (there are some crucial respects in which it is worse off, but on that, more later).

But now that Twenty20 is here, I suspect 50-over cricket is on its way out. The World Cup in the 50 over form has come a huge cropper, and I don't think I've seen a more turgid, pointless, boring exercise than the last one. Everyone loves Twenty20, no World Cup for test cricket seems likely or plausible (even this multiple-year points system is a drag) and so it seem inevitable that the World Cup might be replaced by some form of Twenty20 championship. And now with the formation of the IPL, more changes are afoot. I worry about test cricket. If the most money is in the IPL, the best players will probably go there. And who knows what will happen to the talent pool in general. And to the cricketing skills required for the longer version of the game.


Blogger John said...

The most succesful batsmen so far in the tournament have been Jayasurya, Jayawardene, Hayden, Gilchrist, Gayle, Gibbs, Younis Khan. All of them are very good Test batsmen. And just as you'd get the odd hundred from a not-so-skilled bat, the same applies to the runs that came from Morkel etc.
The physical skills required of batsmen are quite the same - just that the mental application is quite different. And just as very good batsmen were able to apply the same skills in Test cricket and ODIs, the same will happen with T20 as well. There will be the odd T20 specialist, like the odd ODI specialist, but mostly, there will be just cricketers.

1:35 AM  

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