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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

T20 a.k.a. Cricket In The Time Of Idiots

And so the glorious T20 World Cup 2009 has come to an end, with Pakistan emerging victorious over the resilient Lankans. It was a fitting end to a spectacular tournament, with both teams playing a high level of cricket and providing the fans with some fantastic play. As the final spectators leave Lord's, I am sure they take many special memories from this World Cup that will no doubt echo through the annals of time.

Wait. I think I just threw up a little.

Let me rephrase: and so this rubbish excuse of a world cup has finally come to an end, with Pakistan leaving the field holding a massive trophy that they will no doubt cherish, seeing as they don't have any other silverware to be proud of anyway.

In case you're having trouble understanding the tone of this post, let me make this clearer: I hate T20!

When T20 first entered the international arena, I looked at it as the ICC's last ditch effort at creating the kind of revenue that other major sports worldwide were generating. It was like the all-star break in the NBA, just a show for the fans. Then some brilliant mind decided that since normal 50-over cricket was the stuff that most European and western nations were either completely ignorant about or made fun of, why not revamp the sport and throw in flashing lights, cheerleaders and explosions? After all, isn't that what makes baseball, basketball and football so popular?

And so we have T20 friendlies, and then we had T20 tournaments, and before you know it we had the inaugural T2o WORLD CUP! A few firecrackers, sixes and hours of over-enthusiastic commentary later, India (or 'Team India' as they like to be called, so as not to be confused with the country of the same name) emerge as so-called "world champions" of the super short format.

T20 has taken cricket to dizzying heights in the last year, with insane amounts of money being paid to cricketers in the Indian Premier League as well as heavy sponsorship for the upcoming Champions League T20 tournament in India this October. But as much as I love cricket, I cannot stomach this new brand that the international cricket bodies seem so desperate to shove down my throat. Sure, this may sound like the arguments put forward by many older cricket pundits, but I am not so much concerned about the 'beauty of the sport' as I am about the actual 'value' of T20.

I tried watching this years world cup, but honestly any match that didn't involve Sri Lanka was just not appealing to me. Some may say that it's more than just slogging but honestly, it isn't! Make the runs quickly or get out. And if you get out, the next person steps in and starts from there. There is no strategy, no technique, and certainly no brains! I mean, the Netherlands beat England in the opening round. The NETHERLANDS! Are you kidding me?! And then this same England squad went on to maul Pakistan (the eventual champions) by 48 runs in the very next game!

Am I just too smart for this game then? Why have we reduced what used to be a game of strategy and endurance into this one-off blink-and-you-miss-it Hollywood-ish TV spectacle? Surely we the spectators have not become so mind-numbingly stupid that we needed a shorter no-holds-barred version of the game to actually enjoy it! Can you imagine if they tried this with other sports? Surely football needs a revamp of sorts - it's been the same for decades! Why not introduce T20 Football? Make the teams line up for 20 penalties instead, seeing as the crowd only want to see goals scored anyway! Or what about T20 Tennis? Instead of weeks of competitions for Wimbeldon, why not just have a single set tie-break to decide the winner of a match? Too short? Fine, make it the first to reach 20 points with a break of two, it IS T20 Tennis after all!

It seems that in an age of microwave cooking and instant coffee, T20 cricket should fit in just fine. But honestly, once all the shine, glamour and gold have faded away from T20, perhaps you too will see it as just another gimmick that the sport really didn't need.


Chavie said...

"There is no strategy, no technique, and certainly no brains!"

Dude: Sangakkara, Dilshan and Matthews! ;)

Naal said...

hey hey hey! I like T 20.

But, I am just one of those dumbfucks who dont really get Test cricket and just like watching the world cup when India plays Pakistan!...But I do think the T 20 format did do a lot for the sake of popularity of the game specially with women!...atleast now, women can have 20 minute discussions on sweeps and pulls and silly point!...and thats the limit to MY knowledge of the game!..:D

PseudoRandom said...

I think you hit the nail on the head with your penultimate sentence: we live in an age of instant gratification, and only genuine lovers of cricket have the attention span required to appreciate the longer versions of the game. If you ask anyone who claims to understand cricket and still dislikes it, they'll most probably give "it's too long!" as their reason.

I wonder what the reception was to ODIs, when it was introduced. I mean T20 is still very young...maybe it'll evolve into a worthy version of cricket in a few years' (read: decades) time. Right now, it's just 'cricket for people with ADD'.

I think what puts me off is the glitziness. It's such a lame attempt to copy other 'fashionable' sports. It's one of the reasons I detest the IPL, but that's a whole different kettle of fish.

As for The Netherlands beating England...don't forget that Kenya beat WI in the '96 WC, Ireland beat Pakistan in the '07 WC, and Bangladesh have beaten Australia...and I'm sure there have been others. Upsets do happen.

BTW, you didn't follow Team India's matches? tsk tsk :P

Makuluwo said...

Meh, I'm not a cricket person either way.
Still think the whole thing was way overhyped though, EVERYone on my Facebook feed was like OMG WE LOST BOOHOO IM GOING TO SLIT MY WRISTS NOW.
And I was all, shut the fuck up already. -_-

Also, those girls in silly costumes look like REALLY tall 12 year olds. o_O

Cricket Tragic said...

Yes, T20 is hard to digest for a lot of ppl (seen by the fact that there were none of the bacon-and-egg tie people during the pak-sa semifinal @ Lord's), but I think it requires much more patience and skill than 50-over cricket.

I just absolutely do love test cricket (priming myself for the Ashes as well as the 2 test series to take place in SL in the coming months), but the argument that cricket requires no brains is just plain stupid and arrogant.

I mean, come on, could you possibly be able to bowl 6 yorkers in a row like Umar Gul did during the tournament? Could you possibly reverse the ball as early as the 12th over and take 5/6 in 4 overs?

Like Chavie said, do you think that normal ppl with normal skills could do what Mathews or Dilshan did during the tournament?

I've been following T20 in the IPL and in the T20WC and, yes, like PR said, the glitz and the glamour just makes it too cheap (mostly seen in the IPL, with the scantily clad women and a stupid closing ceremony), but the quality of cricket can be unbelievable if the pitch assists the bowlers a bit. Playing on turgid pitches like the ones in India are definitely bound to make T20 look like a grind with the incessant number of sixes, but this year's IPL, IMO, was much better due to the fact that all the SA pitches were extremely slow.

The early season pitches during the WC ensured that batsmen couldn't run away with the game, but there was some unbelievable bowling on display.

With regard to minnows, they are getting better, btw. I suppose you don't really read enough news on them, but, believe me, it's competitions like these that will soon see Ireland get test status as they always seem to be the runaway champions in the 4-day trophy for associates. They always thrash the other team in the final by an innings and a huge load of runs.

Perhaps if you just sat down to watch a match without having any preconceived notions about it, u wud perhaps understand why even purists (i suppose that's the term used to call ppl who don't like T20 and rave on about the destruction of Test cricket) are starting to embrace it. Frankly, Test Cricket is just becoming better due to T20 as scoring rates have notably picked up when compared to before and we are seeing lesser draws...

Perhaps I would have a chance to see you at one of the test matches against Pakistan next month? :)

St. Fallen said...

good post

N said...

I would agree with most of what Crickettragic says above. I never really got into the IPL because of the overblown glitz and I have always been a big fan of the strategy and skills shown in a thrilling test match (though I really don't give a flying fuck abut the Ashes). I was however quite taken by the T20 because this tournament was quite superlative in terms of the bowling, fielding and batting skills on show. It wasn't just mindless slogging.

Also what it seemed to do was to take out the factor of the toss deciding who won a match. I'm a bit tired of something as arbitrary as the toss and the pitch determining who wins a 50 over or a test match.

RE the minnows, this isn't the first time a minnow country has beaten a 'big gun'...and I use the term loosely in describing England as a 'big gun.'

Gehan said...

chavie: yes, and with all that strategy, technique and brains on one side we still lost...

naal: agreed with u there, it has definitely helped the popularity of the sport in certain circles..

PR: i was wondering abt that myself, and i spose the ODI's were met with similar scepticism.. again, perhaps i am being too harsh but its jus my opinion.. and i LOVE cricket!

mak: haha well i wasnt that enthusiastic solely cos i dnt respect the format that much, so losing the 'world cup' isnt that much of a deal to me either..

cricket tragic: first of all, let me say that i may have exaggerated certain aspects of my post.. but let me also clarify, i didnt say CRICKET requires no brains, only this shortened format of the game.. u see, my logic is that since the game is so short, the repercussions of losing a wicket are not as severe as in any other format..

i dnt see how u require more patience for this format when everythin is over in 3 hours... as for umar gul's performance, that has to be taken with a pinch of salt.. batsmen have to score of every ball in t20, so its a lot easier to get wickets, especially in the death.. if he had bowled the exact same spell in an ODI, he wouldnt have gotten those figures...

agreed abt the minnows, it was a weak point, but wat i was tryin to get across was the fact that the chances for upsets in this format are a lot higher.. anyone can win a match! which sort of reduces the respect i have for the so-called "world champions"..

long live cricket? lol.. thanks for the comment tho...

st.fallen: thanks!

N: solid point abt the toss.. agree with u there.. but i still feel the quality of cricket was not BETTER than ODI's.. lets see where t20 goes in the future :)

Cricket Tragic said...

My bad, Gehan, I meant to write T20 cricket but missed out the T20.

With regard to Umar Gul, perhaps his figures wouldn't have been the same in an ODI, but, with that type of bowling, it would have been 7/17. I mean, you should have seen the way he swung the ball..NZ are just not capable of handling reverse swing, just the conventional in and away swing. I think any team would have been blown away by such a performance.

Regd. the minnows, due to the nature of the game, the team who is on full alert at every point of the game only wins....you can't dose off like in ODIs, where you can just knock around singles between overs 20-40.

I hope you don't see me as being a nitpicker because its rare that I get to discuss cricket with someone who actually understands the game! :)

T said...

i sort of agree. i mean, i dont think T20 doesnt NOT require brains and skill, but it comes down to runs and so lacks the strategic component of the one days and tests. it has more to do with the bowlers, the fielders and their skill instead of the gameplan in itself.

I never watch cricket unless sri lanka is playing, so i cant say im the biggest fan of the sport itself, but of all the formats i prefer the one days. gives you time to sit down with a beer and watch a game instead of the flash in the pan that is the T20.

Cricket Tragic said...


Just think of a match like, say, England vs India. India had to make something like 15 runs off the last over with Yusuf Pathan (who has the strength of a caveman) and Dhoni out there. You should've seen the number of times Colly was going over to Sidebottom and talking tactics...I mean, you sure do need a helluva lot of tactics and plans in mind to stop someone like Yusuf from creaming you for a six...T20 cricket is also really challenging in that you need to think on your feet.

Generally, looking at ODIs, teams can follow a plan...rattle up a big score and bowl the other team out..however, in T20s, plans don't always work and it's the captain who thinks on his feet that often wins matches!

Are you guys at least convinced now that T20s are better than ODIs?

Test Cricket is, obviously king of the ring, but I just can't stand to hear someone say that ODIs are better than T20s...just a stupid drag, IMHO.

Sachintha said...

I'm with you bro.

I remember something a famous blogger, namely Jrod if you know him, said about T20. It's like a porn movie. You don't criticize porn, do you? You don't debate over acting, the lights and what not, you just masturbate to it and get it over with. To be honest, T20 is not much different.

What puts me off the most is, T20 defies the very uniqueness of cricket. It is said that cricket emulates life, and that's what I love most about cricket - Test cricket to be more precise. I can live with 50 over games too, but not just T20. One knock, one spell and you're done. Test cricket is not such, there are highs, lows, drawbacks, counter attacks, you see all that in Tests.

I will never really be a fan of T20.

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