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Bring on Twenty20 – But Two Innings

Am I the only one yawning during fifty over One Day Internationals these days? I don’t think so; the game is losing its appeal.

How often do we see a close finish to an ODI these days? Even with the introduction of the bonus point system, and the “power plays”, most games I’ve watched in past two or three years have been dull, un-eventful and even boring, with most results pretty much decided before the lights are even turned on.

Maybe it’s the gap between India, Australia and the rest? Or maybe cricket fans are a bit tired of this form of the game, and need something new to be injected into the sport?

Twenty/20 is gaining momentum and popularity without doubt, but I’m still not convinced that this form (alone) is the answer either.

How about this? Twenty20 – but two Innings!

There is no doubt that Twenty/20 cricket is fast and exciting, with the big hits and the electrifying atmosphere which is usually not the norm for cricket fans to soak up. But with every Twenty20 match up, comes the real risk that one team will fall over very cheaply, or that people are finding themselves walking out the gates just as they are warming up to the excitement.

So, with the introduction of another innings, we can add another dimension to the game. And if a team is not having the best of luck while trying to belt the ball into the stands, and find they are defending something fewer than one hundred, then all is not lost. They can re-group and have another crack in the second innings and get back into the game.

By including a second innings, we will still have a game short enough to attract and maintain interest from the less seasoned cricket follower, still see the ball sailing into the spectator areas frequently, but most importantly allow this version of the game something like a lifeline or an insurance policy of sorts to give it every chance of producing a close and exciting finish – with maybe an added twist or two during the process.

Some might be thinking, what about Test cricket then? five long days cricket that can often end without a result. If we’re going to scrap fifty over cricket, what hope will Test cricket have of surviving? But in my opinion, Test cricket will, and should rightly always have its place as this the ultimate test of skill, mental toughness and endurance in playing this magnificent game.

Back in 1996 former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe, invented a similar concept that he called “Cricket Max”. Cricket Max was played in New Zealand by the first class cricketers and it involved two innings of 10 overs each. So even some 12 years back, Crowe was thinking the 50 over game was starting to get stale.

In February 1996 after creating the concept of Cricket Max, Crowe was quoted as saying “I Invented and designed Cricket Max because I felt it was time to provide to our spectators and TV viewers a game of cricket that was short in duration, very colourful, kept some old traditions and highlighted the best skills in the game.”

“After 15 years of one-day cricket I could see a need for a new visual appeal in terms of the field lay-out, and the rules. This will provide great entertainment and an exciting result in 3 hours of cricket. There is far more scoring than ever before and also the potential for electric defensive work in the field. Cricket Max can be played and watched by anyone but nothing can beat seeing the best in the world display their skills in a whole match in just 3 hours.”

It seems Crowe’s vision way back then can be directly related to the era of Twenty20 cricket we are about to head into, but with one big difference. I think Crowe got it spot on with including two innings of the game.

I believe Twenty20 cricket is here to stay, and even though a Test Cricket enthusiast, I say it’s very welcome. But let’s see it being played over two innings. The game will still be over in less time than a dull 50 over format clash, plus it will give the game every chance to deliver double the excitement and a very real chance of a close finish to most fixtures.


No Thanks.

What world cricket needs is better players from different countries.

No one was complaing about 50 over cricket in the eighties. Why ? Too many entertaining players.

Just bring back a cricket contest.

Comment by Mitchell Hall | 12:00am GMT 26 March 2008

While you are not alone in being bored by ODI cricket, it is not as a result of the game losing its appeal… Rather, it is your short attention span that is the origin of your frustration. This is the motivation behind T20 cricket- to appease the many who like shiny toys.

50 is the lowest number of overs in which it is reasonable to expect one team to bowl out another team of equal international standing. 20-over cricket changes the nature of the game so much that it is hardly meaningful to call it cricket. The value of taking a wicket is minimised because it is impossible (by any reasonable standard of measure) to dismiss a side in 20 overs and hence the role of the bowler is virtually eliminated. Furthermore, to suggest the role of the bowler is merely shifted towards being as economical as possible is silly, and akin to proposing a game where the goal would be to bowl out the opposing team in the shortest time possible, where the only role of the batter would be to stop the ball from hitting the stumps, and where the runs aren\’t counted.

How can we expect to produce the struggles between batters and bowlers if the batter has almost no disincentive to get out? T20 is a game in which the wickets literally do not count, and that is rubbish. T20 is a home run derby sold to morons and anybody enjoying it is incapable of discerning between a bowler, a bowling machine and a t-ball stand.

An \”exciting finish\” is not what a real cricket fan wants… a generic sports fan likes an \”exciting finish\”… a real cricket fan enjoys the game one ball/stroke at a time, one over at a time, one match at a time, one series at a time, and one career at the time AT THE SAME TIME. The game may be momentarily short of great struggles but certainly not great players, producing great plays, one at a time. I know the great struggles have not been prevalent in recent time, but you are out-of-this-atmosphere-INSANE if you think T20 is going to produce the tight contests between batters and bowlers that you miss. You would be better off learning to love the game one ball at a time and seeing why one side dominate another can be evem more amazing than an ODI that comes down to 10 req. off the last over simply because you are watching legends play at their peak.

ODI is still cricket. T20 is not.

Comment by jb | 12:00am GMT 29 March 2008

I think 50 overs cricket is meaningless, as if you see the latest matches, all the games played so far were dull and senseless. Though the scoring pattern and the strategies are almost like that is twenty20\’s. There\’s no point wasting a whole day watching a boring and dull matches.

Why do we watch cricket ? To be entertained. For its entertainment value. That is what one can get in twenty20 cricket. I think that is the version closest to the game being played in clubs and parks by children and other people. Like in other sports, such as football or hockey or basketball, baseball, tennis, etc. all the games played by professionals representing their country are exactly similar to that played by people. But in cricket, we have a different sport played internationally and on professional circuit to that of the common practice in parks & clubs, streets.

And, finally, saying all that about entertainment factor, etc. it has been seen in recent matches in twenty20 cricket, that the bowlers have learnt the trick and they are taking regular wickets to apply pressure and brake the batsmen. Now they have learnt that taking wickets are the only way to best contain the runs posted by the opposition batting team and win matches. Thus, I think twenty20 cricket requires more skill and is practical cricket which can be watched and enjoyed by spectators in the stadiums as well as on TV.

Comment by Shaddy | 12:00am BST 5 July 2008

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