Friday, August 04, 2006

20-20 or 50-50??

Too Slow… Meandering… Boring…. Action less…. Lacks Pace…. These were some of the comments which our ‘Unofficial’ National Game cricket got during and after the Soccer World Cup (American ‘Soccer’ sounds better than our ‘Football’.. Doesn’t it?)

In Soccer there is non stop action for 1 and a half hours – there is continuous dribbling maneuvering, attack (both on the goal and the players)… whereas in cricket it is a long drawn battle lasting 8 hours..
It’s difficult to get away those 8 hours of the busy lives and devote them purely to a cricket match. Not that people don’t do it. I myself have done it innumerous times but its tough – really.
So to make the game more interesting Cricket has been narrowed down further. It was done once earlier, when ODI was introduced in 1971 on an international level. And now with India approving to field its best team, the further narrowing has been almost complete. The new version is 20-20. The 20 over – 3 hour game is indeed a highly shortened and an exciting mode of entertainment. The basic demand of the game being to score maximum runs in the 20 overs with batsman dominating on a batsman friendly wicket and only 1 way to go – the boundary.
What will be the result of such a change?
From the spectator point of view it is Highly entertaining – flourish of Runs, lots of 4’s and 6’s and flamboyant, aggressive and arrogant batting will be on display specially from the players like Sehwag and Dhoni. Without a care in the world about losing their wicket, the red cherry is destined to be literally slaughtered. This would further invite much more audience.
But on the flip side, it has the potential to wreck havoc for One Day Internationals.
The ODI is fast becoming more into a 50-50 game. 300 runs becoming a norm, more than 400 runs scored by teams - it is very rarely we see Bowlers winning matches.
It is very necessary to score runs quickly. What I fear is that with this attitude becoming ubiquitous in world cricket, a time may come that they permanently reduce the 50 overs to 20 overs as the small game is bound to bring in more revenues, advertising and crowds. As the number of matches increase, ODI’s value will decrease.
The youngsters will be keen to become a batsman rather than a bowler. The motive will be to score runs – anyway you can rather than learning correct techniques of playing.

ODI checks temperament of a player. An ODI champ is the one who balances his skills with the character.
In a 50 over match, it happens a lot of times that one team lands up in dumps but still it has the opportunity to stand up amid that destruction. And when it does stand up, it raises a Hero along with it - the beauty being that the Hero is different each time. This game of rising, failing and again rising is what makes cricket UNPREDICTABLE. And it is due to this attribute that we love cricket. And it is this very attribute which I feel will be missing in a 20 – 20 match.
There would be no sudden changing of gears, or waiting for centuries with sopped breaths, or bowlers planning their wickets (4 overs/bowler in the match), no respect for the preciousness of your wicket, less specialized bowlers and less stress on fundamentals of cricket.

I am not at all against 20-20 version. But don’t let the spirit of a One Day International die.

Yes, it is difficult to sit and see the whole cricket match all those hours especially with offices to go to and colleges to attend to. But I have little doubt that when a cricket tournament starts (which is pretty soon) students will be crowded at the canteen TV, the IT offices’ internet networks will be jammed by thousand refreshes per second being happening on cricinfo/, the TV shops will have the ‘passing crowd’ crowded outside their windows and the whole nation will literally come to a halt if Sachin is on 99.


shubham said...

while down

shubham said...

good resecrsh