Wednesday, 13 January 2016

I'm a bit bored of T20....

There I've said it. Countless people across the world won't agree with me, but I am. Nick Hoult in today's Telegraph backed up by Michael Vaughan think Test cricket will die in a few years, citing the case of AB De Villiers. I have to disagree. For me Twenty Twenty cricket has become boring, the goose that has laid the golden egg has been over fed, fois gras style by cricket administrators and here is why Test cricket is still the ultimate game.

Vaughan...worried for the future of Test cricket
T20 has been a worldwide success, no doubt about it. It has brought aspects of the game to the Test arena and that can only be a good thing. Would Ben Stokes have gone at such a rate without having played the shorter format? Probably not. Fielding has improved, bowlers have had to become more innovative and it has attracted crowds. 80,000 attended the MCG recently for the Melbourne, erm 'derby'. Skills have improved vastly since the advent of the game. More importantly it brings in money, and this is where the problem lies.

For me though, I think T20 will have died in ten years time and not the five day game which has been with us for over one hundred and thirty years. When I see a massive six now, I just don't get that excited by them. Tightly pressed bats, boundaries brought in to ensure that the tv companies get their fair share of maximums, for me it has become overly manufactured. In snooker terms, a game of pool. Or Rugby Sevens. Decent entertainment but not real.


ABD...burn out?

Then you have the players. To see the same players trawling the world, playing for yet another franchise and hitting the ball miles has become boring too. Oh look, another six. You can't blame them, they have to earn a crust whilst they can. The likes of Gayle and Bravo didn't earn a huge amount playing for the West Indies, nor De Villiers for South Africa. Kevin Pietersen was a different matter and again you can't blame him for picking up a few rupees, Aussie or Eastern Caribbean dollars after being shunned by England. It is less taxing on the body and the money is better. However, it is just different countries, different stadia, same people, same shots, big sixes and commentators awash with hyperbole.

The idea or notion that you are supporting your local team is no longer one that is with us in the shorter format. For me, I couldn't give two hoots who wins most of the time.

Ten years ago when the game was invented it was exciting. It was new, a challenge and something different. There was something quite beautiful in the naivety of it which has disappeared now. I am more of the opinion that T20 needs to change or it will die a death. Brilliant fielding is now considered the norm, and I just don't get that excited watching a batsmen put the ball into the third tier of a stand. It's what is expected of them, right? Who won the Big Bash two years ago? Who won the IPL three years ago? I couldn't tell you.


Oh look, another six

The Big Bash is still relatively new and still attracts big crowds. Whether it will in ten years or not is a moot point. As for the IPL I can see that self imploding in dubious circumstances which legally I probably shouldn't put down in print.

Then there is Test cricket. Vaughan and Hoult saying that it was dying surprised me. Test cricket is better than it has ever been. Not one side in the world is dominant at present and that makes for some cracking cricket. There is too much of it played though I agree but the likes of AB De Villiers and McCullum were always going to retire one day. Grounds haven't been that full recently but look back at the eighties when you had a plethora of wonderful all rounders playing the game, often in front of half full stands. No one said the game was dying then. There is nothing wrong with Test cricket in its current format apart from maybe the amount of it. Leave it be. The problem lies in the fact that the likes of South Africa and the West Indies have been marginalised by the Big Three causing their best players to either suffer burn out or chase the dollar. Or both.


Test cricket...the ultimate contest

For me, we live in a culture where everything has to be bigger and better. TV companies hype things up and money is the root of the problem. They dictate that things have to grow, the Big Bash has even spoken of privatisation and therefore has to quench the thirst of the shareholders pockets. Ratings, advertising, stakeholders matter much more than the game. If stadiums aren't full to the brim then someone, somewhere has to take the blame. Bigger, better, further, faster...just let the game be.

Test cricket and T20 can live side by side if the administrators get it right. For me cricket is a skill, one to be played out over five days and to watch a batsmen build an innings. Or to see James Anderson with a new red cherry against a batsmen trying to survive is far more watchable than watching someone slap another six over cow corner. The administrators owe it to the game to leave a legacy and killing Test cricket is not one they will be proud of.

For me, T20 has become a bore. A chore. Fawning and boring. Oh look, another six.

Just think how boring it would be if we only had the one format?


6 comments:

  1. I think you have missed the point

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  2. I enjoy the odd T20 but like you say seeing the big hit isn't as awe inspiring as it used to be

    but may main problem is that I am not that impressed by the standard of the T20 comps yes the best players are there but what about all those domestic players who make up most of the lineup for the the best T20 cricket is played at the T20WC when the teams are made up of 11 international quality players.

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  3. I enjoy the odd T20 but like you say seeing the big hit isn't as awe inspiring as it used to be

    but may main problem is that I am not that impressed by the standard of the T20 comps yes the best players are there but what about all those domestic players who make up most of the lineup for the the best T20 cricket is played at the T20WC when the teams are made up of 11 international quality players.

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  4. I agree with the article.

    I watch a bit of our T20, and the England games, but the rest of it (Big Bash, Ram Slam) bores me to tears. Made up teams with made up names playing matches which all merge into one.

    Heaven help us is we have such an abomination in the UK

    ReplyDelete