Saturday, May 24, 2008

T20 is not cricket!

Quite interesting to read comments by Jeffery Archer and purists about how Twenty-Twenty offers good entertainment but is not cricket. Every time I hear or read that, it makes me wonder, "What are these guys talking about?" You have the required personnel in form of the players and the umpires, and the necessary equipment that one uses to play cricket. 95% rules are borrowed from the 50 overs version. The players are the same. England suck at it. So how is it not cricket?

Probably these pundits grew up watching cricket in the stands of some colonial British club sipping Darjeeling tea. They swore on W G Grace when a batsman would get forward on the front foot, with head held still and eyes on the ball and tap down the ball with the softest of touches. "What an exquisite shot, eh Jeeves?W.G. Grace couldn't have played it better." The mere sight of a batsman coming down the track and whacking a medium pacer out of the stadium is bhasphemy. "Heavens to Murgatroyd Jeeves!What a brute display of violence!Savage Jeeves, this axe wielding man is a savage!" I have one question for the pundits. Didn't you guys ever play 6-a-side 5 over matches as kids?Wasn't the sport in question cricket back then?So why the resentment towards T20?

Another point raised again and again is how Test cricket needs to be protected from the onslaught of T20. How T20 will kill Test cricket is something I cannot comprehend. Both versions have their own appeal. For a dedicated cricket audience, lovers of the game, Shane Watson smashing Shoaib Akhtar over the cheerleaders' pom-poms gives the same adrenaline rush given by Sachin Tendulkar getting under a Bret Lee bouncer. In India, India's Tour of Australia in 2007-2008 was followed as religiously as the T20 world cup and the IPL. So, the idea of T20 killing Test cricket seems a tad absurd. I'll say embrace T20, keep windows for professional leagues across the globe and in the rest of the season have ODI and Test cricket. One cant complain about too much cricket!

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