EDITORIAL: Beyond T20 glory
The shortest form of cricket, Twenty20, is currently engaging the attention of many cricket fans as the first leg of the Caribbean Twenty20 competition is in full swing in Trinidad and Tobago.
Players from competing countries are in a keen tussle to represent their island and by extension the Caribbean in the upcoming annual Champions League T20.
With the West Indies coming off a thrilling win against Sri Lanka in the ICC T20 World Cup last October, fans here are expecting equally nail-biting finishes because of the fluctuating nature of this form of cricket, especially with a number of the players who participated in the ICC?programme representing their individual territories.
T20 in the region will get another fillip with the start of a professional franchise-based Caribbean Twenty20 League in the Caribbean starting this year and providing financial benefits for participating players, the majority of whom will be West Indians.
President of the West Indies Cricket Board, Dr Julian Hunte, said at the launch of the league: “The West Indies Cricket Board is elated to announce the league, which will bring a host of benefits to players and West Indies cricket in general.”
It is the phrase “in general” that catches our attention.
In spite of the excitement generated by the short version of the game – and we believe it is here to stay – a school of thought stills persists that T20 does not provide the kind of test – pardon the pun – that traditional cricket does. We agree with that perspective and argue that this short form compromises the ability of the players to think beyond the boundary.
The hell-for-leather approach that often needs to characterize the T20 format is not the ideal nursery for the development of powers of concentration, patience and resolute staying of the course that are the sine qua nons of Test cricket success.
West Indies cricket, despite its long-standing competitiveness in the T20 format, has not matched this success in the Test arena.
The big question is: how can we expose our players to this kind of cricket and still prepare for the other “cricket in general”?
How are our cricketers to exploit all the possibilities of the shorter form of the game, yet remain competitive in the Test form?
Though we laud the West Indies for becoming T20 World Champions and soak up the glitz and glamour that come with such a title, where is West Indies cricket when “cricket in general” is discussed by knowledgeable observers? Let’s face it: our contemporary cricketers and the quality of our Test cricket hardly get a positive mention.