Cricket: It's a real circus out there - NZ Herald (2024)

Home / Sport / Cricket / Black Caps

Cricket: It's a real circus out there - NZ Herald (1)


Dylan Cleaver,

Dylan Cleaver

4 mins to read

Fans have really taken to the truncated form of the game. Photo / Getty Images


There are DJs on decks, dancers and jugglers and a spot of cricket but whether Twenty20 remains cricket's version of Barnum and Bailey or is embraced, rather than tolerated, by the Establishment is open to debate.

While it is winning the hearts and minds of paying spectators, it is fair to say Twenty20 has yet to embed itself in the affections of the players. This, if you haven't noticed, is a commercial world and players' feelings might be the least of considerations when the broadcasters' cheques start rolling in.

At the moment, Twenty20's impact on the calendar is strictly International Cricket Council-controlled. Countries are permitted to host three Twenty20 internationals a year, and two only against the same opposition. However, there is an increasing feeling that the ICC's efforts to manage the growth of the sport will be as successful as Canute's attempt to halt the tide.

As a neutral observer you would have to ask: why bother? The concept has proved massively popular at international and tier-two level. The crowds flock to watch it, the game is over in three hours and there has been, to date, little of the ugly crowd behaviour that tends to escalate after seven sun-stricken and booze-fuelled hours at ODIs.

Even more fundamental is the question of whether you need two truncated forms of the game. One-day cricket perfectly filled a television-driven need for a game to have a conclusion and, more importantly, resolution in a single day.

If that can be pared down further, and the essential elements of cricket remain - that is to say, a battle between bat and ball - why retain the clunkier, less popular, format?

It is an increasingly difficult logic to argue against and Twenty20 fans were provided with even more ammunition this year when the world championships in South Africa were such a raging success while the 50-over version in the Caribbean was, by most accounts, a travesty of a tournament.

Still, this generation of players at least seems reluctant to write any obituaries for the 50-over game.

They have, in effect, become 50-over purists.

New Zealand captain Dan Vettori said while being tuned in to the commentary for the first four overs - he was one of four players 'miked up' on Tuesday - made it hard for him to view Twenty20 as proper cricket, the players were beginning to take it pretty seriously. However he wants it to complement 50-over cricket rather than supersede it.

"It's going to be a big part of cricket," he said. "I hope we can find a balance with all three forms."

He did not notice among his players any waning of interest in ODIs.

"Not me personally anyway," he said. "You guys [the media] watch a lot of one-day cricket and possibly it's you guys who are getting uninterested... but everywhere we play around the world we're still seeing good crowds."

His counterpart Ricky Ponting echoed Vettori's sentiments, saying he thought three to four games a summer was the "right balance".

The international body representing players from all but two of the test-playing nations, FICA, do not as yet have a written policy.

Off the record, however, they urge administrators to "walk before they run" with the concept.

While the caution might be sensible, there's a growing sense it is merely delaying the inevitable.

Australia have increased their Twenty20 itinerary to two games this summer, with last Tuesday's sell-out clash against New Zealand in Perth to be followed by another against India at Melbourne in February.

Cricket Australia public affairs manager Peter Young said they were comfortable with the ICC guidelines.

"Our view is that Twenty20 has to find a place that complements, but does not compromise, TEst and ODI cricket that already exists," Young said.

"We have started to move towards the view that there is a lot of potential to develop it as an interstate style of product," told Australia's Herald Sun.

Interstate cricket, rebel Indian leagues, sanctioned Indian leagues, county cricket and our own State-sponsored domestic cricket - it's all very noble using Twenty20 to try to generate interest in this long-ignored tier of the sport but here's the reality: the one-sided affair between New Zealand and Australia last Tuesday peaked at an extraordinary two million viewers for Channel Nine.

You can bet the network bosses Nine are looking at that and wondering why it has been such a smash hit while its previous baby, World Series Cricket, has been canned.

Notice also that Zee, India's largest independent broadcast, shelled out billions of rupees this year to start not a rebel one-day league, but a Twenty20 one.

But the ICC so far remains steadfast that it will not impact heavily on the international calendar.

And the tide keeps coming in.

Cricket: It's a real circus out there - NZ Herald (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rubie Ullrich

Last Updated:

Views: 5249

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rubie Ullrich

Birthday: 1998-02-02

Address: 743 Stoltenberg Center, Genovevaville, NJ 59925-3119

Phone: +2202978377583

Job: Administration Engineer

Hobby: Surfing, Sailing, Listening to music, Web surfing, Kitesurfing, Geocaching, Backpacking

Introduction: My name is Rubie Ullrich, I am a enthusiastic, perfect, tender, vivacious, talented, famous, delightful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.