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Twenty20 ‘coffee cricket’


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THE STAGING of the International Cricket Council (ICC) 2010 World Twenty20 Championships was a resounding success.  As a result the West Indies Cricket Board came in for well deserved praise from ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat.   It was indeed a memorable event and must have set ideas in motion for a truly global event, involving countries from all around the world who have not previously been associated with cricket. The Twenty20 success is going to revolutionise the game. It seems to be accepted that this model is going to move cricket from a sport to a huge global and marketing business franchise.  Given the spectator support that Twenty20 cricket has engendered, it is going to be a painful viewing experience to sit through a 50-over One-Day match.  Ironically, some purists believe the five-day Test may still survive as the classic example of the gentleman’s game for a while longer, but the immediate victim is going to be the One-Day match which is not likely to pull in the crowds like the Twenty20.  A number of solutions for the One-Day survival have been proffered. One is that it should be divided into two 25-over innings to give the fans a double Twenty20 option and could see his favourite players bat and bowl twice over two innings. Cricket is becoming like coffee; finished in an instant. With the kind of money attached to the Twenty20 version of the game, there is little doubt that other countries are taking note and are planning to take up the sport.  It will no longer be limited to just the old Commonwealth members of the former British Empire nor will the ICC have the dominant role in the way cricket will be played on a global basis.  Instead, cricket will become much more competitive, tougher and much more technologically savvy to cater to a new type of fans who will want more and more variety in keeping with games like football and basketball.  The purists could scream and blow their trumpets until they are blue in their faces but the circus element will intensify and permeate the character of cricket.  It has become, after all, entertainment much like American football, which is much more about “bringing it” than technique.  More attention is attached to atmosphere and filling the stadium than the state of the pitch. With this new dimension brought about by Twenty20, there is little doubt that business interests in the United States, China and Japan will also invest in Twenty20 cricket and bring a new marketing thrust to the game. We will safely then predict that within ten years the 12 cricket playing nations will expand “with dramatic elasticity”. In this form of game, even cricket fatigue does not have time to set in.  After two months of non-stop matches viewers are not into fatigue or boredom from slow over rates.  Goodbye Test cricket!

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