T20 has remodelled the game of cricket in the last 7 years or so and this exciting format has emerged as a massive crowd-puller. People come and enjoy this mini-sized version of the game, and because it’s mostly about fours, sixes and wickets, they don’t mind paying high prices too.
T20 cricket has revolutionised the game of cricket in more than one way – bigger bats, innovative shots, more mystery in the bowling, higher level of commercialisation etc. But, the biggest revolution has been the evolution of cricket ‘leagues’ across the world. IPL, CLT20, BBL, FLT20, SLPL, BPL, CPL etc., are all based on the model of T20 cricket and most of them have done well, so far.
It would be fair to say that these leagues are slowly becoming the future of T20 cricket. After the massive success of the T20 World Cup in 2007, we all expected to see more of international T20 cricket, but the overwhelming success of IPL changed the scenario and now, we rely majorly on these domestic leagues for our dosage of ‘bang bang’ cricket.
Two questions come to my mind when I think about the future of international T20 cricket:
1) Isn’t it ironical that we get to see schedules like 2 T20s and 7 ODIs in this ‘so called’ era of T20 cricket?
2) Would it be fair to assume that domestic T20 leagues are slowly but gradually taking over international T20 cricket?
In my honest opinion, the answer to both questions is YES.
The idea of having 7 ODIs and only 2 T20Is is as bizarre as it sounds. There are arguments in favour of this scheduling and they say, “this is important to secure the future of ODI cricket”. Now, this is again a very bizarre thought. How can an overdose of something which is already losing it’s sheen help in it’s survival?
No. It can’t help. In fact, it will make it even worse.
After the arrival of T20 cricket, the ODI format has lost some of its sheen and its viewership is caught between ‘Test purists’ and ‘T20 generation’. But scheduling more ODIs and only a couple of T20 (sometimes only 1) is not the right way forward. Scheduling of the tours should be done more rationally and there shouldn’t be an overdose of one format over the loss of the other.
Now, the answer to the second question can be implied from the first one. This kind of scheduling has been going on for a long time and no measures have been taken to bring about a change. So, it would be fair to assume that, these T20 leagues are slowly taking over international T20 cricket.
International T20 is cricket is clearly being taken for granted, but who cares?
NO. ICC doesn’t care. National boards are fine with it, as long as there is more money. Players are enjoying the benefits involved in being a freelance T20 player. More and more brands are involving themselves with the game of cricket, and this is leading towards a higher level of commercialization.
This issue needs proper addressing and it should happen right now.
This artricle was first published in Sportskeeda