T20, the recent development in the game of cricket has been a revelation since its inception. The most abridged version of cricket was an instant hit in various cricket playing nations. And the game was taken to new heights by the cash rich IPL 20-20. But is this version, a real test of a player’s caliber? Or is it going to help the players in fine tuning their skills? The answer for both questions will be a BIG NO. Then why there is so much buzz about this version? And in particular IPL 20-20? The answer is so simple ” Printed Paper”. Hope you all would have got it.
IPL 20-20, as they say, is not the brain child of Lalit Modi. ICL, which was the brain child of Subash Chandra, the Chairman of Zee group, led to the formation of the Cash Rich IPL20-20. Famously known as rebel league ICL 20-20 is the forerunner of IPL 20-20. When you have money by your side, you can form ICL 20-20, but if you have power in addition to money by your side, then you can be the commissioner of IPL 20-20. And when the Indian Team returned Victorious from Inaugural T20 World Cup, the establishment of the World’s Richest League was only a matter of time before it had actually happened. And when the inevitable occurred i.e. the
formation of IPL 20-20, the death bells started ringing for the forerunner ICL 20-20. The ICL dint get recognition from the Cricket’s Premier body ICC. BCCI might have had a huge influence in this.
Lets don’t take political stands right now, rather we concentrate on CRICKET, which is getting affected by these leagues. Cricket earlier called as “Gentle men’s Game”, but not any more. It has turned out to be a mass entertainer similar to bollywood movies, with lots of glamor, glitz and huge sums of money involved in it. People with little or zero cricket knowledge are owning franchises, not because they are passionate about the game but they consider this league as a money-maker. Yes, i agree one doesn’t have to know the nitty – gritty of the game to become a franchise owner, but it is of prime importance to have a little knowledge about the game and the players, especially when they have a role to play in player bidding and team selection to some extent.
Anything in life has to be in balance. Be it joy and sorrow, work and personal life, even our body has to be in perfect balance for us to be in a good shape. This balance of everything makes life interesting to live. But when something goes out of balance or if one outplay another then our whole life will become a mess. Cricket is on the verge of being moving out of balance. Batsmen are gaining undue advantage over the bowlers. Cricket has become more of a batsmen game. Thanks to T20.
Cricket used to be a great game in mid 90’s. When a score of 280 was considered as a winning score. The batsmen were troubled by good bowlers, who were assisted by some sporting tracks in grounds like Sydney, Melbourne, Durban, Oval and etc. Batsmen had to earn their runs. There were no easy takings for them. Unless you are as skillful as the likes of Mark Waugh, Sachin, Lara, Desilva, Anwar, to name a few you have to toil hard to get a century in an ODI match. Bowlers were given some respite when they are in a good rhythm.
But now it has turned out to be a run making contest. Even a score of 434 was chased in 2005 by the South Africans, Thanks to an excellent innings from Herschelle Gibbs. But even then the match was an evenly contested one.
Then came the T20, where 200 runs were scored in a span of 20 overs. Batsmen were given full liberty to free their hands and score at their own will. People were ecstatic on seeing the towering sixes from the blades of Gayles, Mccullums and the Dhilshans. Boundaries were seeming to come at an ease. People started to flood the stadiums, resulting in increased revenue for the game administrators. But the batsmen’s nemesis the bowlers were no longer prove to be deadly. An economy rate of 8 in 4 overs per match is considered great. The bowlers hardly have any respite in the current scenario. Cricket has lost its balance.
Only bowlers of Kumble, Warney or Mcgrath’s caliber can try something different. Because they have the invaluable experience with them. They are legends in their own ways. But when a youngster, who has not tasted the pains and sufferings of international cricket, plays in T20 there are hardly any chances for him to hone his skills. There are chances that he might lose his strengths and become a victim of this fast paced version.
The sights of 6 sixers from Yuvi might be pleasing to the audience and to his sponsors, but the plight of the bowler who suffered in the hands of one of the cleanest striker is a big ???. One has to have a big heart to come back from these trauma. More often than not it is the bowlers who get punished because of the idea of making the game interesting.
Why not make some rules, to allow the bowler gain an upper hand on few occasions there by making the game more interesting. Why is it so biased towards the batsmen? Administrators must take a note and act upon it else, cricket will no longer be an interesting game. Now, Lets put an end to the balance of the game and lets take a look into the new generation of players and their attitude towards the so-called “Gentle men’s Game”. .
The younger crop of players are considering the Cash Rich league as a means to earn their living, but the bitter truth is that they don’t take the Ultimate Test match cricket in a serious manner.
If they can get a contract with a franchise for a year or two, can very well settle in their lives. They no longer have to wait anxiously to represent their country, for they earn more money by playing a couple of seasons in the shortest form of the game. They are jumping into the bandwagon too early in their careers, there by thrown to the limelight so early in their careers.
When you are thrown into the limelight so early in your career, you tend to feel high above the others and might lose your way in the process. Adding to these the cash they get out of these leagues might distract from, what was once their, the objective of representing their nation in the purest form of cricket, i.e. test matches.
You gotta have a determination of Dravid, the level headedness of Sachin, the humility of Laxman, the passion of Ganguly and the never say die attitude of Kumble to be a great cricketer. But when the younger generation plays in these league they might carried away by the instant success they taste. They have to be ultra cautious, if they still want to represent their country.
People must realize that the shortest version is for money launderers to exhibit their financial acumen and not for the cricketers to showcase their abilities.
And to put an end, lets take a one final look into the current mind-set of the senior players. When i mean senior players, these are the ones who have played considerable amount of test, ODI matches. Earlier players used to try to prolong their cricketing career by opting out of ODI’s. They considered that Test Match as the ultimate measure of one’s caliber. They quit the shorter version a year or two ahead of quitting from the longest version of the game.
But now the scenario is players are quitting the Test Matches to prolong their T20 careers. Players like Lee, Oram and others have quit the test matches to continue in the shorter versions of the game. This decision of theirs might be due to the injuries they have suffered in their commendable careers, but it might also because of the availability of the rich leagues that led them to take such a decision. One still feels that bowlers like Lee, all rounders like Flintoff had some good cricket left in them. These incident might turn to be deadly, if others follow these heroes footsteps. So ICC should take steps to ensure good cricketers give their best cricket in them, to the Test and ODI’s, until they don’t have any more cricket left in them.
As the Post title suggests T20 is a real killer 20 for the cricket, unless it is well controlled by the Cricketing Administrators.
-Written on March 10th 2010