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EDITORIAL: T20 cricket gaining firm global footing

mialisafenty, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: T20 cricket gaining firm global footing

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THE VERY POPULAR ICC?World T20 cricket tournament began in Bangladesh last Sunday and already some have said that it is likely to be a mind-boggling batting exhibition over 35 matches at three venues.
Our own renowned sports columnist Tony Cozier said in the last SUNDAY SUN hat elements of this format of the game have transformed this showpiece event of limited-overs cricket into the most popular of the three formats, with a more frenzied tempo.
The format has moved the game from a form of gladiator contest among a few Test-playing teams to one of pure entertainment which has spread to Asia, so much so that Afghanistan and China will soon be major players. United States will soon follow suit.
Television rights have played a major part in this development as the shortened form of the game makes for interesting viewing, especially in large markets like India and Pakistan.
In addition, the sharp tensions of colonialism have somewhat dissipated so that the emphasis is more among teams than countries.
The Indian Premier League was the major catalyst in this regard and because of its success, a number of leagues have since sprung up in most Test-playing countries, with the latest being the Caribbean Premier League.
These T20 leagues have provided many opportunities for a larger number of players to earn a decent living in all parts of the world. As a consequence, Test cricket may be the major casualty with emphasis now on specialisation in aspects of the game.
Since its inception, the T20 format has taken the cricketing world by storm and this biennial event has become a hugely anticipated contest, which is bound to keep millions glued to their TV sets for the next 20 days.
Mostly young, athletic men will walk out to the crease wielding heavy bats with the sole aim of whacking the ball out of the grounds in front of a largely young crowd with insatiable appetites for the fast-moving format.
There will invariably be a Sunil Narine or a Saeed Ajmal, refusing to be just cannon-fodder, conning batsman with their guile and variation to prove that smart spin bowling can also coexist within the swashbuckling T20 format.
The tournament is still likely to be a mind-boggling batting exhibition with eight young teams in the first stage of the tournament locking horns in the qualifying round for two spots at the Super Ten stage with the eight Test-playing teams.
Though there are four firm favourites, this format of the game is not so predictable and on a good day any team could win. Nonetheless, it is incumbent upon us to give our West Indies team all the support it needs. May the best team win!