Twenty Twenty Vision

60 Comments

The Twenty20 World Cup is about to get underway.

And as India sends in a team comprising of virtual unknowns (Rohit Sharma,Yousuf Pathan), gladiators who have lost their way (Sehwag, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan), first XI hangers-on yet to establish themselves (Gambhir), a man who writes letters to God and expects a reply (Sreesanth) and the legendary Ajit Agarkar(who can single-handedly turn the game for the opposing team with a regularity that only rivals Shoaib Akthar’s being sent home at the beginning of major tournaments), Indian fans (the ones that actually care to follow the tournament) can take comfort in the fact that 24 years ago, another such inexperienced motley crew of bits-and-pieces no-hopers went to foreign shores sans any hype and expectations.

And we all know what they did.

Unfortunately that is the only positive that I can think of, as one of the weakest Indian teams fielded in recent times, is sent to an international showcase tournament. And if that isn’t enough, they do not even have a practice game to acclimatize themselves to the conditions and to each other before being made to play a game where the format, breathless and blindingly fast as it is, dictates that unless you hit the ground running with all cylinders firing at full power, you do not really have any chance. Added to it is the sobering realization that even with the over-thirties not around, India will still be one of the weakest fielding sides in the tournament (sadly even our next generation players disturbingly mis-time their dives, drop dollies and consistently miss the stumps so as not to raise any hope of a vastly improved fielding effort), a crippling disadvantage in a game where, given the duration of an innings, it is even more difficult to cover up bad fielding with batting than is possible in an ODI. Finally our lack of quality all-rounders (our last great all-round hope Ramesh Powar just became round all over and isn’t of any use in this format except as a heavy roller) and absence of “death” bowlers who can spear it into the blockhole virtually assure us a ticket home before the semi-finals begin. Or perhaps even sooner (Scotland who we play first-up is a good fielding side with players having experience Twenty20 in the English league).

Many of you of course will say “We are not interested in Twenty20—it is not cricket.” I agree. A 20-over-a-side biffing competition, where the battle between bat and ball is reduced to the obscene flaying of heavy willow and where the subtle nuances of the passage of “quiet periods” are papered over by the need for continuous “entertainment”, is nothing but a bastardization of all that is great about the game.

Replace the “20-over-a-side” with “one day cricket” and the above sentence is exactly what our fathers used to say 30 years ago about the 50-over game. And seeing how one day cricket has over the years become such an intrinsic part of cricketing culture that virtually no-one questions its existence or value any more, it is nigh conceivable that Twenty20 will become as much a part of the mainstream in the near future.

Because as things stand, the time for Twenty20s has definitely arrived. For the last few years, domestic Twenty20 games in England have generated a significant amount of buzz, especially among a demographic that was almost totally shifting its allegiance to other games like soccer. The reason is simple: in today’s age even a one-day game is too long—the “three hour movie-style” entertainment over an evening that a Twenty20 game provides is just too convenient to be ignored commercially. And as plans for a multi-million international “official” league (the “official” being the most critical factor for its success as mainstream international players will participate) on the lines of European club football (how fans used to cheering for their country will emotionally connect with newly created corporate-sponsored teams remains to be seen) come to realization, ignoring Twenty20 is like burying one’s head in the sand.

There is, I think, another reason why Twenty20 may have become unstoppable. With a monumentally boring long-drawn-out World Cup 2007 marked by one-sided mismatches, organizational bungling and the crushing dominance of one side over everyone else, one day internationals as a concept is facing possibly the biggest challenge to its existence. Twenty20, due to its shorter length, not only makes it possible to have cheaper tickets and better prime-time placement but also, in a way, levels the playing field thus making cricket more competitive —a Shahid Afridi may prove as valuable as a Ricky Ponting, a Dimitri Mascarenhas could negate a Damien Martyn, a Gavin Larsen may win more matches than a Waqar Younus. Now for some of us “purists” this represents all that is wrong with the Twenty20 format but it is undeniable that this may provide more evenly contested matches (in a practice match, Australia was bested by South Africa) and consequently more “thrills”. [It may not be a coincidence that one day cricket first captured the popular imagination at a time the West Indies dominated the world, over-rates had plummeted and tedious defensive cricket had become the order of the day]

And as to the lukewarm response to Twenty20 in India, all that is needed to change it are wins by the Men in Blue—–remember that one day cricket took off in India only after 1983 and truly became a part of pop culture with the 85 Benson and Hedges Cup win. If Dhoni can do a Tunbridge Wells, if Yuvraj steps into Mohinder Amarnath’s shoes, if Sreesanth can shake his ass like the generously endowed Roger Binny, if Rohit Sharma becomes a Yashpal Sharma, if Hayden leaves an outswinger that then swings in and takes off stump, if Gilchrist top-edges a pull to midwicket, if Pathan can regain his mo-jo and Sehwag can blast the ball past his beer gut then who knows—-those who have come to scoff may very well remain to pray.

And pay.

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60 thoughts on “Twenty Twenty Vision

  1. Very Well written.Cricket is like dilli ka ladoo to us. Its a cultural heritage. What we want to see is a GOOD Indian team. I want my team to go down fighting and give a good opposition. You cant always win in sports, but you can give your 110% lose with respect.
    I wish my team All the very best and hope they remember 1985 and gain inspiration to fight on.

  2. That Twenty-20 offers a lucrative future to players and organizers and a visual treat to spectators is an argument very hard to dismiss. As you have rightly said, it makes the playing field a bit more even. Also even a T20 World Cup, isn’t going to take more than a fortnight to complete.

  3. “a man who writes letters to God and expects a reply (Sreesanth)”

    Prayer should never be answered. If it is, is ceases to be prayer, & becomes correspondence.

  4. Yes, all we need to do is to win, and get somewhere real close to a win.

    There are some guys who have been out of form for a while. And out of the Indian team too – with no chance of getting back in. For them, a good performance might offer a shot at salvation. Why not – if a Sehwag or Pathan or Harbhajan recovers their form in the heat of international matches, maybe we should give them that chance.

    That word – experimenting. If we don’t experiment with a version of the game not too many care about, what else will we do it with? And anyway, considering that our current team has no chance against teams that are half as good as an Australia, why not see if these guys do something? Perhaps we can win a few more regular one dayers with Ganguly and Sachin and Dravid – but make no mistake, they are on their last legs. Once they leave, we are in for nobody but all these people who still havent got it together. Experiment, now.

  5. This is the first that the usually optimistic cricket fan has no expectations at all..
    So the excuse given after the Wcup debacle,”burden of people’s expectations” is negated…
    So lets see what new excuse the team comes up with.

  6. When india played first time in ODI WC(Like they are playing 20-20 WC Now), the only memorable part was where Gavaskar played out a 60 over match for 35 not out. I still think their 83 tournament win was a fluke. In prudential cup, they were buoyed by the one once in a lifetime innings by kapil and carried it through. The B&H championship in 85(?) in australia wasn’t. You could see the clinical precision there. Here they out thought the opposition.

  7. The bestest thing about Twenty20 is that if India goes on to lose matches as they usually do, in the 50 over matches , the defeat will atleast be quick (and HOPEFULLY painless). Atleast we wont have to watch the opposite team score 350 runs and India struggling to even bat through their 50 overs.

    Jai Bolo Twenty20 ki !!

  8. 20-20 may become successful and popular, and it undoubtedly will. However, at the risk of being called fuddy-duddy, I believe that it dramatically reduces the distinction between quality and mediocrity. As a corollary, a mediocre player might become a 20-20 star with ease based on a few well timed bludgeons with the bat. There is simple no time for a batsman to get his eye in or to study the pitch and make adjustments accordingly. Neither is there time for a bowler to take a couple of overs to study the pitch and then decide on the optimal length to bowl. This means that batting and bowling becomes a lottery. And all that is great about cricket i.e. strategy, adjustment, defence (yes, defence! Remember that?) go for a toss.

    This is not to say that it can’t be entertaining. I am sure it will, and when I switch the TV on and of a match is going on, I will watch. But I will not call anyone a great cricketer simple because the person performed well in this “World Cup” because of the hit-or-miss nature of the game.

    That is why I am scared for some of my favourite cricketers, especially Harbhajan and Sehwag. I am afraid that their potential and ability will be judged on a format of the game that is patent unsuited to that purpose. I’m afraid that if they fail, they will have condemned themselves to being our of the Indian Test and ODI team for at least the foreseeable future. That’s the way things work in India.

    Lastly, one person I am not scared for is Ajit Agarkar. No matter how he performs, there is always a place in the Indian team for him, much to the delight of the opposition.

  9. Excellent analysis, Arnab
    However, the uncertainty quotient in a 20/20 match is far higher, that will possibly result in more dramatic & over the top finishes. I am not sure if that’s a welcome change; historically high- testosterone sports produced loud, over the top superstars. Relatively speaking, at least, the present superstars in cricket are restrained and ‘gentler’. But as you rightly pointed out, this format is custom-built for the television.

  10. actually, fielding may be less important in 20-20 than in 50-50, simply because a much higher proportion of runs will be scored in clean hits to boundaries. Consider a bad fielder who on average concedes an extra run every time the ball goes to him. In an odi, you expect the ball to go to him 30 times (50 overs, 10 fielders), and hence 30 extra runs conceded. In 20-20, he will leak 12 runs. While 30 runs constitutes 10-12% of an average odi score, 12 runs will be only 6-7% of an average 20-20 score. i.e. bad fielding matters less in 20-20 than in odi. Where India will be outclassed is in not having good power hitters.

  11. Twenty Twenty is an English creation to combat low turnouts in their first class setup which in itself is an overkill with two differant one day competitions running side by side!! It has been set up to attract the new generation who according to the administration have low attention span and need their beer and cheerleaders while watching the game. This is a faulty aim as cricket is not meant for low attention span peiople (beer guzzlers yes but you need to have a really strong bladder to keep drinking through a match). Cricket is a niche market product which may be adversely affected if it goes out to and competes in the mainstream market. And even after the shortening the time, it is a three hour game which still is high compared to a ninety minute duration of football matches. So what can one expect if 20/20 fizzles out? 10/10 matches??

    One may say that even ODIs were similarly conceptualised. But there the diferance was that it catered to the traditional cricket fan who did not mind waiting out one full day to get a result.

    Twenty Twenty is slam bang entertainment. But it is just not cricket.

  12. @ Shan

    Could not agree with you more.

    @ GreatBong

    You write that India has fielded one of the weakest team sent to an International showcase event, that too without any preparation.

    On the contrary, the core of the Indian team has just completed a very grueling season at England. The conditions at South Africa is somewhat similar to England (though England has already bid goodbye to the summers, while South Africa is just about to welcome them). The evening matches in particular will afford a lot of assistance to the swing bowlers. But reverse swing would not be a worrying factor in such a short match. Therefore, the experience at England would be very helpful to the Indians.

    Eight of the team members select themselves for the opening match – Sehwag, Uthappa, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Karthik, Chawla, Agarkar and RP Singh. Yes, I have included Agarkar in the team, despite his profligacy. If he maintains his Economy Rate of 7+ RPO at South Africa also, then he would have done his job. The all-rounders place would be a toss up between Irfan Pathan and Joginder Sharma. Sreesanth would be a back-up for either of the medium pacers. The last place in the team would really be a matter of conjecture – Whether to take an off-spinner in Bhajji or Pathan Sr; or take an extra batsman in the form of Rohit Sharma or Gambhir. On the whole, the team has a good balance. Since the matches are expected to be very close, every mis-field would be an absolute suicide. In that respect, India is fortunate enough to have not included the below average fielders we saw in England.

    The Captain may not have any big role to play in a T20 match – even the toss may not be crucial in a night-night match. Most of the teams would come out with a single objective, i.e., to go Bang, Bang, Bang from the very first ball itself. One is not sure whether the fielding captain can do much when faced with such an onslaught. The strategy to be adopted would have been formulated at the dressing room (dugout) itself. On the field, the captain can only hope that his bowlers replicate the same. Thus, Dhoni’s inexperience as a captain may not be a big handicap for the team. Still I feel that Dhoni should hand over his keeping gloves to Karthik, so that he can better concentrate on the field.

    Actually, India has as good a chance as any other team at T20 WC. But, you never know, if Shahid Afridi gets to bat through the entire quota of 20 overs, then the match would be as good as over, even before India takes its turn to bat.

    After having endured such one-sided matches at the 50-50 WC, I hope to see some really close matches at the T20 WC. And I am for one is rooting for India. CHAK DE…

    Sorry for encroaching upon precious space at your blog, but just could not stop myself from commenting upon cricket.

    Tapasvini

  13. @GB, was expecting a post on the first 20-20 WC from you. I am not sure how popular this format of the gane will be in the coming years. Your theory of extrapolating the One day match (60 overs at one time) to 20 overs may not be correct as by the same logic would a 2 over a side match be a good entertainer? I believe its a very testing period and only time will tell. Hopefully all forms of the game will exist (just like the interest in Test matches has increased).

    @Mohan / Shan, I would disagree with you guys regarding the importance of fielding. You have only considered the runs given but not the catches / run out chances.

    @Shan – Agarkar is a FUTURE prospect stupid and Ranadeb Bose is from Bengal. Bengal=No Talent. Period. NEVER EVER forget that 😉

    @ Tapasvini, totally agree with your statement that “every mis-field would be an absolute suicide” 🙂 But, I also think that the Captains role is very important in any game. I remember Sandip Patil (Captain) in Six-a-side tournament had placed himself in the boundary when he was keeping. That prevented the boundries even though the singles were easily taken. This was ages back….sometime in the 80’s I think and I dont have the link to post here.
    Something similar out-of-the-box thinking is required (remember Jayasurya and the first 15 overs in one day matches!!) to make an impression in this game.

  14. @ Mohan

    “Bad fielding matters less in 20-20 than in ODI “

    Yes, in percentage terms the number of runs conceded by poor fielding may be lesser than the 50/50 format. But you have to remember, that a 20/20 match, on an average would be much more closely contested than the 50- over game. Which means- the marginal cost of each run conceded would be higher; so it could be argued with some merit that fielding could matter even more. Another way of saying this is- teams tend to take more risks- in terms of running between wickets, hitting the ball in the air etc in the 20/20 version. So other things being equal, a fielding side may have an advantage, after all.

  15. @asterix: dropped catches matter even less than runs conceded. There are 10 wickets to lose over 20 overs, so value of a wicket in 20-20 is only 40% of that in an odi.

    @ravi: I see no reason to believe that 20/20 match would be more closely contested than an odi in percentage terms. In absolute runs and balls terms, yes. i.e. if an average odi is won by 20 runs or 4 overs (say), then an average 20/20 will probably be won by 12 runs or 1.5 overs to spare. But once you have converted the cost of bad fielding to percentage terms, I think you should be able to compare the two like I have done.

  16. I think T20 is yet to evolve. When the first One-day World Cup was played in ’75, people played it like a shorter Test Match – scores of 260 in 60 overs were considered ungettable. It was only in the ’83 World Cup that India showed that you need to have utility cricketers who have more than one skill. And it was much later that the concept of a “One-day” batsman and bowler came to the fore. I doubt if Dmitri Mascarehnas would have made the one-day squad in the early years. But, this is a start. And hate it or love it, T20 is here to stay. Make no mistake.

  17. @Arnab:

    I posted a similar comment earlier, but when I refreshed my browser my post disappeared. So I am reposting. Hopefully there won’t be two posts with similar comments appearing here. In case it does, keep this one. More cogently written. 🙂

    @Asterix:

    I said I liked Mohan’s analysis. However, I do not necessarily agree with all he concludes. 🙂 This is because…

    @Mohan:

    Statistically there is very little to fault in your analysis. However it seems disingenuous to give equal weightage to all members of a team, especially a 20-20 one. 20-20 is naturally a “hero” based game. This means that all teams will depend on some individuals (“heroes”) to get them to a big score, given the short time in which a large score has to be achieved. People like Afridi, Jayasurya, and Gilchrist come to mind.

    Now if good fielding manages to get rid of one of these “heroes”, it will have a far larger impact on the batting team than would normally happen in a good 50 over ODI team. This is because in a 50 over ODI, if the openers or the most explosive batsmen does get out early, the supporting players still have a lot of time to take stock, play safe for some overs, take singles while rotating the strike before opening out in the last 10 overs or so. This luxury is totally absent in 20-20. There is no convalescence stage and no recuperation time.

    Therefore is a brilliant piece of fielding (a great catch or a fine run out) gets a “hero” out, it can conceivable change the entire match. So it can be argued that fielding can play a very important part, 4especially if it results in a dismissal.

    @Asterix again:

    Agarkar rocks man! Now if only his batting and bowling averages were reversed… 😉

  18. @Mohan

    Hmm… no. By closely-contested, I meant 20/20 is likely to see more competitive parity simply because luck is likely to play a greater role in determining the result. And since luck should be same for everybody in the long-run, factors that you can control such as mis-fields/dropped catches/tighter fielding are likely to play an even greater role. They become, in some sense, marginal levers that can change the outcome drastically.

    Obviously, in a few days, we’ll know the relative importance of batting, bowling & fielding 🙂

  19. 20-20 is a new format of the game but Australia, England and South Africa have massively popular leagues already set up for a few years.

    the indian team is going to be done in again by its administrators who could not even organize a practice match for the team. [but as one said when someone complained about the lack of practice matches on the upcoming australia tour at the end of the year ‘they are professionals. they should be used to it..’]

    world cup deja vu coming up people. let us be professional and be used to it.

  20. @Madhuri: Inspiration or not its very difficult to even consider this team with a decent chance.

    @Equinox: Thanks

    @Harish: True

    @Hara Hara Bom Bom: Didnt say he prayed. Perhaps he corresponds with God. Thats fine too.

    @F1man: Hmm

    @Sumukh: I would say that we are really just not good enough.

    @Quicksilver: Beating Windies twice, England and Australia I wouldnt call it a fluke. Fortuitous perhaps but there was genuine ability in that 83 team.

    @Venkat: I have done an entire post on the BCCI-ICL spat a month or so ago.

    @Abhi: Agree.

    @Shan: “But I will not call anyone a great cricketer simple because the person performed well in this “World Cup” because of the hit-or-miss nature of the game.”

    This was exactly how our fathers looked at ODIs–right?. But I am sure you will agree that ODIs have produced great players, on its own accord, —Dean Jones, Jayasuriya, Bevan. Just like I am sure Twenty20 will produce its own. Whether it be aesthetic or not is a matter of conjecture—which is where the “mediocre” tag comes in. However “greatness” may well be defined by one’s mastery over a particular form of the sport..isnt it?

    @Ravi: Gentler? Shoaib, Afridi, the entire Australian team, Sreesanth, Nel….

    @Mohan:

    “actually, fielding may be less important in 20-20 than in 50-50, simply because a much higher proportion of runs will be scored in clean hits to boundaries.”

    Cannot disagree more. What’s a clean hit? I presume a 6. But Twenty20s, just like ODIs, have a whole lot of 4s which can be saved by good ground fielding—sometimes a 4 converted to a 3 with a dive at the boundary and sometimes into a 0 or 1 with a dive in the circle. Collingwood in one of the Natwest matches, in the space of about 5 overs, stopped 3 sure fours from Sachin and Saurav—you are saying that doesn’t count in a Twenty20?

    I think it does. And it counts even more simply because the psychological effect of a few dot balls is equivalent to maidens in a normal ODI.

    @Dhananjay: The cheerleaders for today’s WI-SA game were pathetic !

    @Tapasvini:

    “On the contrary, the core of the Indian team has just completed a very grueling season at England”

    The most potent core, the reason we won the matches we did, SRT is not here.

    “If he maintains his Economy Rate of 7 RPO at South Africa also, then he would have done his job”

    Hmmm…you see Ajit the Loin does 7 when others do 5. When others do 7 he does 11.

    “Actually, India has as good a chance as any other team at T20 WC”

    I wish. Note one thing—when the ball is kept short-of-a-length on a bouncy pitch Indian players have trouble scoring….its something thats common knowledge nowadays and this was utilized, in helpful conditions by Flintoff and Andersen in the last ODI. The length they bowled would have been meat-and-drink for the Haydens, Pontings, Gillies and Gibbses.

    @Asterix: Twenty overs is taken to be the minimum needed to constitute a game as per DL method and there is perhaps a reason for that. Twenty overs is basically the initial overs and the slog overs placed one after another with the middle overs taken out. ODIs cut out 80% of playing time and Twenty20 60% from that…..each bringing in almost same kind of impact which is why the analogy stands.

    @Aandthirtyeights: Hmm

    @WTF: Now that ICL has taken the lead on the Twenty20s thing the BCCI has realized that this isnt Hong Kong Sixes and instead might well be the future.

    Incidentally Rohan Gavaskar has joined the ICL and with papa heading up the BCCI’s efforts to create a league in competition to ICL, I see a “Shakti” type conflict here.

  21. Am in CA, came here few days back. And i don’t know how i can see the world cup? I have comcast at home, and i doubt if i can see it on that. how do i see it online?
    Can anyone help?

  22. gb: “Collingwood in one of the Natwest matches, in the space of about 5 overs, stopped 3 sure fours from Sachin and Saurav—you are saying that doesn’t count in a Twenty20?”

    It does. It is already covered in that saving/conceding an extra run every time ball goes to a fielder. But even when you consider those runs saved, impact of fielding is less in T20, because the ratio of number of chances a fielder gets to make an impact vis-a-vis number of runs scored where no fielder can do anything is lower in T20 compared to an odi.

    shan: What you say has merit, but then even in an odi, star batsmen (tendulkar, jayasuriya, ponting) etc are more important than the rest. So a brilliant piece of fielding which gets them out early can have an impact on the match. Even if we assume that the importance of star batsmen in T20 is higher, what is the probability of a) a brilliant piece of fielding getting one of them out (as opposed to a bowled, lbw or an easy catch) and b) the probability that they would have gone on to play a big one in that match. I would say probably 1 in 10. And it is only in those 10% cases that fielding has a bigger role in T20 compared to odi. But in more general ball-by-ball cases (saving runs) fielding has a bigger role in odi than T20 as shown. So on balance, fielding plays a smaller role in T20.

  23. Arnabda ….. slightly off the topic ….. I was at a bar yesterday and I met a bunch of lads from the neighbourhood who were talking about your blog and praising your creative writing skills …… way to go boss ….you are famous …

  24. Not just the bowling n fielding, the batting is equally weak. Though Karthik was instrumental in india winning our only 20 20 international, I feel he cant be a pinch hitter.. he does too much in the field, except for fielding.
    Dhoni hits the ball out of the park whenever the ball is bowled full and into his territory.. of late not many bowlers seem to give him that – i dont remember the last time when he scored ‘many’ sixes in one match.. Yuvi seems to be the only prospective guy..

  25. @greatbong:

    im sure in time we’ll catch up ICL or no ICL. but its just so easy to thwart india by changing the rules because of how slow we are to adapt. look at what happened in hockey.

    i dont buy this genetically inferior slight build crap. we were asia no.1 in football in the fifties and dominated hockey till the seventies. we just administrate sport too badly to be competitive. i think this twenty20 world cup will illustrate that again.

    @dhananjay mhatre:

    how dare you! i was watching just for the cheerleaders.

  26. I will not give India much of a chance in this tournament, and this would have been the case even if they had sent the same team which played the ODIs in England. The reason is simple: India is not used to this form of the game. How many International 20-20 games have we played? 1!!

  27. @Shan:
    I stand corrected…..no not on Agarakar but on your agreement / liking of Mohan’s Analysis.
    Why should Agarkars batting and bowling averages be reversed? Is he competing for his place?

    BTW, some idiots (Santa!!) sure dont buy the theory of Bengal=No Talent. Read this comment posted on Sep 12, 2007 02:20 PM
    “Good replacement…
    by Santa Singh on Sep 12, 2007 02:20 PM | Hide replies

    She should replace Ajit Agarkar…

    http://specials.rediff.com/cricket/2007/sep/12pic1.htm

  28. It WILL be entertaining…but I don’t think it will last…but then again..nobody thot one days will catch on either…as for India’s chances…well they are going to win this one too…I hope 🙂

  29. oh god, i didnt know agarkar was picked! they might as well offer the other team 5 free hits per agarkar over right in the beginning! where does the man buy his luck!?? and why dont i shop there??

  30. and hey! Shoaib Akthar is very very very gentle. he does not take drugs. or try to maim other players/coaches/officials. It was afridi/ the pcb/ musharaf/ bush/ RAW (and or insert name of choice)’s fault. It’s all a conspiracy, that’s what it is. If you ask me, it’s probably the Australians who are behind it all.

  31. and hey! Shoaib Akthar is very very very gentle. he does not take drugs. or try to maim other players/coaches/officials. It was afridi/ the pcb/ musharaf/ bush/ RAW (and or insert name of choice)’s fault. It’s all a conspiracy, that’s what it is. If you ask me, it’s probably the Australians who are behind it all.

  32. Yes, 20/20 is here to stay. And i also agree with your extrapolation from Test to One day.

    Only thing, it took almost 100 years for cricket to dislodge Test as the pristine form of cricket and replace it with the shorter One day form and it took just 3 decades for another new form to emerge and (potentially) replace One day game.

    Considering that a new Gen has come on its own post the 83′ glory, 20/20 will be much more acceptable to the cricket crowd than it would ever have been.

    Indian cricket should readjust and realign it’s strategy pretty soon and so should other sides including Australia if they do not want to go the WI way post the advent of One day.

    P.S : Zimbabwe beat the Kangaroos today in 20/20. Some sign this?

  33. you should take a look at the awesome pre-match comments by our new captain :D…I am quoting some of them here:

    “We will try and take all the catches that come our way. We will also try and save as many runs as possible because it would mean you need to score that many runs less while batting.” obvious aint it !!!

    “All the music, the cheerleaders or fans hardly matter. Remember it’s the World Cup,” something for the fans as well 🙂

    source http://in.rediff.com/cricket/2007/sep/13dhoni.htm

  34. @Mohan, Asterix etc.:

    Yesterday Zimbabwe beat Australian riding on a fabulous fielding performance. Stunning run outs and fantastic catches. I think the argument on the effect of fielding in 20-20 just skewed towards the ayes.

  35. As the last 2 big matches in 2020 showed, fielding is very important in 2020s. A bad fielding side will be a poor 2020 side. When a batsman is on the rampage, a half chance, that spectacular run out or that direct hit can change momentum. Take the pathetic WI fielding in day before’s match. Plus better boundary riders would mean less boundaries and more 2s and 3s. 2020 after all is not all about 6s. I had an inkling that this kind of cricket would get popular. I think it was 96 when I first saw Adam Gilchrist in a tournament in Malayasia called Super 8s where he was just hitting them like a dream. Probably only Viv Richards could have hit like that. Gilchrist had not played a single ODI or test till that point but I knew that this was once in a generation player. Then there were tournaments like Hong Kong 6s and many other matches here and there. There was a brief period when double wicket cricket was the in-thing. When we were in school, even local floodlit tournaments were a rage. But double wicket cricket faded away. 2020 is a British innovation to spice up their boring domestic games and bring in more crowds. But I hope that for the sake of cricket 2020 remains just that 2020-lighthearted and fun. Its like say you’ve gone to a bar with a few friends and are talking while watching the cricket. 3 hours. Match over. And your drinks and kabab too. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    There is hope that this will inject life back intio cricket as 5050s have become somewhat pedantic. Well guess what, this will soon follow the same route. And techniques and strategies will evolve which will make this game mundane and mechanical. Sixers wont excite you any more. A lack of a big hit will. Much of the charm of cricket lies in nuances and changes of pace of the game. It is a game to be savored like an unfolding drama, not like a gobbled lunch or a quickie in the restroom stall. But if 2020 is successful in making new cricket converts, then thumbs up to it. People who develop a liking for the nuances of the game will slowly gravitate towards the more conventional forms.

  36. shan: I have enough faith in logical reasoning to not abandon it based on the result of one match 🙂 I didn’t see the Aus-Zim match, but look at RSA-WI match. RSA is an excellent fielding side normally, but how many chances did they have to exhibit their fielding skills during the WI innings? Couple of diving saves which probably saved 2 runs, but that’s it. In a typical one-day innings, you see atleast 10 times as many saves.

  37. @Mohan:

    Logical reasoning was exactly the reason why I appreciated your analysis in the first place. But logical hypotheses don’t always take all the variables of a game into account. Ultimately experiments on the ground prove or disprove a seemingly logical hypothesis. This tournament, as it progresses, will provide the experiments.

    I wish you had watched the Australia innings and the Zim fielding. All I can say from your POV is that they fielded illogically well!!! 😉

  38. I love twenty20 .. i dont have to wait the whole day for a result.. there’s been some kick ass bowling of all things.. vettori, brett lee .. i love test cricket too but that’s like a completely different sport.. one day cricket is going to seem very boring after this.

    @ for those arguing over the relevance of fielding:

    assuming that twenty20 is a concentrated form of cricket then the scope of everything gets amplified.. batting, bowling and fielding.. there’s no place to hide if you suck in any one department..

    anyone discounting the role of fielding should just remember how embarrassing the recent england-india one days were.. and that’s 50-50 cricket..

  39. My post seems to have been lost. GB, any idea what happened to that as I can see you edited your initial response to me?
    @Shan:
    I had stood corrected regarding your analysis of Mohan, but I will not stand corrected regarding Agarkar. Why should his batting and bowling averages were reversed when he is assured of his place in the team?

    BTW, some people dont think that Bengal=No Talent and awards Jhulan Goswami from Bengal. Some idiots (Santa!!) also think that she can bowl faster than Agarkar (posted on Sep 12, 2007 02:20 PM).

    http://specials.rediff.com/cricket/2007/sep/12pic1.htm

    “Good replacement…
    by Santa Singh on Sep 12, 2007 02:20 PM | Hide replies

    She should replace Ajit Agarkar…”

  40. GB, ironically, it seems Twenty20 could pose an existential threat not to Test cricket, but ODIs. Yes, there are parallels to the criticism one-day cricket received in its early days, but it’s not test cricket that is in need of resuscitation these days. Despite tight finishes now and then, ODIs have become largely predictable. The problem as I see it is lack of balance. There are simply too many games and many of them are one-sided and inconsequential.

    IMO, Twenty20 is being promoted purely on commerical grounds (I don’t have an opinion on whether that’s the right direction). Btw, ‘purists’ in today’s context is not the same thing as purists three decades ago. They may have a point – what is Twenty20 supposed to be about in terms of the skills involved? The fact that mediocre cricketers (at the highest level) can come out shining probably indicates this is all about promoting a certain type of cricket that is apparently aimed at people with shorter attention spans who do not care for subtleties of the game. May be this new form will eventually result in innovations and have a broader impact on all cricket – remains to be seen. Haven’t heard much from proponents on this.

  41. Ah, I’ve actually ended up paraphrasing you about the state of one-day cricket! Apologies.

    Just wanted to mention though, I don’t understand why we should be looking to ‘level the playing field’ [sounds suspiciously similar to soundbites from certain quarters :)] to ensure competitive cricket. The problem is that a lot of teams are playing poor cricket, well below potential in some cases. Not sure why I would ever enjoy watching Dimitri Mascarenhas over Damien Martyn. There is a reason why most of us who are keen followers took to cricket and that has nothing to do with what the commerical interests of the game are. Casual fans OTOH…well there’s a lot of things that might interest them.

  42. AWESOME shit this 20/20 india is in the semis, we sent the south africans home …oh wait they are home… hahahahah…. man I really think these guys can pull a win ..if they beat the Aussies…DAMN

  43. It is astonishing to see how “real” Indians just put their cricket team down. I am a South African Indian, and I support India every time they play, regardless of whether they play well or badly. My family and friends were behind India 100% from their first match. The team does not need to worry about support, because here in South Africa, they will always get the support of at least 50% of us Indians.

    And what do you say about the quality of their matches now, naysayers? Yes, please, eat your hats. And here, please eat mine too.

  44. “our last great all-round hope Ramesh Powar just became round all over and isn’t of any use in this format except as a heavy roller,”….LOL

    that was good one…and Powar also tosses those doosies up in the air reminds me of Erappalli Aananda Srinivasa Rao Prasanna (anybody remember him: ER prasanna) along with Bedi, Prasanna, and Chandrasekar…we had spinners opening matches for India.

    Now, what do you think will happen to 20/20 format with Indian/Pakistan Finals? That is what everyone wants right, it is sure to drawn in the TV crowds.

  45. Pingback: Twenty Twenty Vision Part Deux at Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind

  46. Rishi:

    “Hope your climax will cum after the finals”

    Like a champagne bottle Rishi. Like a champagne bottle. 🙂 This was really really satisfying.

  47. Attention Rishi Khujur, Hujur, Ravi, HHBB:

    “Shoaib Malik “First of all I’d like to thank people back home and the Muslims around the world. We gave our 100%,” he says. “India have a strong batting line-up. We did well to restrict them to less than 160 but our batting didn’t come through. The Indians bowled really well and we played some bad shots. That’s why we ended up on the losing side in this game.”

    Comments?

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