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October 8, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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Twennytwenny

I’m not sure if science has ever studied this, but there really is something quite unsettling about watching and discussing cricket during the rugby season (and vice versa, even if it has been happening for years now).

If this irksome feeling could be likened to a plot device on a sitcom, it would be the feeling a character would express via elevated eyebrows after kissing his girlfriend’s twin sister; 90 per cent of the time it would be great – bitchin’ even, to employ an awkward piece of 1990’s sitcom dialogue – but right then and there it feels… strange. Perhaps one inspired individual with a background in social research and a penchant for watching sport might feel inclined to look into this “Twin Kissing” theorem of sport.

All that mindless musing aside, it did feel a tad odd to watch the Black Caps on television last month – in a World Cup too, no less. Granted, it was only the 20/Twenty World Cup – a shameless profit-driven piece of exposition promising quick thrills, sixes aplenty and a chance to see a slice of the world’s best meander around the wickets of South Africa showing about as much enthusiasm for a competition as a Welsh rugbyite would have for the knockout stages of the rugby world cup, but surely the caps’ participation would be enough to rally some excitement, right?

Boundless apathy aside, the sport that sounds decidedly like “twennytwenny” whenever someone says it, is fast becoming the ICC’s most lucrative commodity. Imagine all the thrills and spills of one day cricket; imagine the pyjama-style outfits; imagine the towering sixes; the wickets and the catches – and now imagine them taking place in less than half the time they usually take. That’s essentially the gist of 20/Twenty cricket – it’s cricket, but without all that cricket getting in the way.

So, if it was cricket enough to take the game of cricket and cut the number of days usually needed to play cricket from five down to one, is it therefore cricket to take that version of cricket and cut the amount of cricket down even more? What’s more, is it cricket to crown a world champion of this kind of cricket when half the cricketers playing this kind of cricket haven’t actually played more than a handful of 20/Twenty cricket games before? To offset the sound of crickets chirping in the background, let me put it this way: does it even matter if the Blackcaps still, well, suck at it?

While it may feel weird frenchin’ your girlfriend’s twin, rest quite assured that all feelings of strangeness will evaporate upon hearing the news that the Black Caps drooled their way to an embarrassing 20/Twenty World Cup semifinal exit. It almost feels natural in a way, unfortunately. The leopard may be running a shorter race, but his spots don’t have any plans on changing shape.

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Kia ora, biography box, kia ora.

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